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  • Writer's pictureAlex Rathbun

Femininity is a leadership advantage

Just last week, a friend of mine was told she is not a good leader because she is a woman. She was told she is too emotional to be a fair leader in her job and her emotions get in the way of work. Yes, those words were directly and explicitly spoken to her.

Which got me thinking, how do we even define good leadership? Of course many people would define it differently, but I think in general, our society praises people who finish tasks. The leader who gets their stuff done usually wins, regardless of if finishing a task means hurting people in the meantime, bypassing others' ideas, and cheating to get what they want. If this leader achieves a task, they are usually praised and seen as successful.

Which leads me to last week's post: there are traits of strength that are uniquely feminine, and I think this translates to leadership.

Even if you believe women are more emotional than men, I think that alone is a leadership advantage. In some cases, a leader just needs to get *shiz* done. But in most cases, a good leader is someone who seeks out others' ideas, because they know that the best idea might not be their own, and great ideas don't always come from the loudest voice. A good leader cares for those under them and cultivates an environment of growth. A good leader is sensitive to human struggles and setbacks, giving empathy when it's due. A good leader welcomes feedback and becomes better from it.

So if you'd like to say that men are better at finishing tasks, fine. I'm not saying that's true, but I can see how some could see it that way. But if you think that women are weaker leaders because of how that may or may not be inherently wired, I think you need to evaluate how you define the success of a leader.

As a continuation of my ode to women, here are some photos of my friend Joanna*, who is a teacher and leader in her job. She is a beautiful example of the goodness of femininity - empathetic and strong and collaborative and caring and creative:

*for clarity, Joanna is not who the beginning story is about.

Find more of this Joanna on her instagram.

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1 Comment

Hannah Lynn Miller
Hannah Lynn Miller
Sep 30, 2020

Hi Alex, these images are beautiful! I love this topic. I was thinking the same thing after the debates last night. I also used to think I was too emotional to be a leader in my place of work. I was in undergrad when I told a guy friend of mine that that’s what I thought. He said that that’s a lie and that people miss out when women aren’t in places of leadership. I don’t even know where I got that lie. Also the more I learn about emotions the more I know for a fact that we are all emotional. It’s just some of us don’t know how to express the emotion. The only way our brain is…

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