Leading Beyond Stereotypes. Embracing Authenticity in Women’s Leadership

April 13, 2024
1 min read
Leading Beyond Stereotypes. Embracing Authenticity in Women's Leadership
Leading Beyond Stereotypes. Embracing Authenticity in Women's Leadership

As I was on one of my many walks through the beautiful woods, my mind, like the winding paths beneath my feet, meandered through the complexities of women in leadership. In the serene solitude, I grappled with the enduring stigma that still clings to successful women.

It’s a curious paradox that confronts women in leadership roles. On one hand, we are labeled as cold, calculating, and unapproachable if we exhibit assertiveness and decisiveness. Conversely, we are deemed too emotional or empathetic if we dare to lead with compassion and understanding. It’s as if society still struggles to reconcile the multifaceted nature of women’s leadership, pigeonholing us into rigid categories that fail to capture the breadth of our capabilities.

As the co-founder of Readyher Self-Defense, a company dedicated to empowering women through awareness and self-defense seminars, I am acutely aware of the importance of challenging these stereotypes. The journey through the woods served as a poignant reminder of the need to redefine what it means to be a leader, not just for myself but for women everywhere.

Reflecting on the kind of leader I aspire to be, I realized it’s not about conforming to predetermined archetypes but embracing the authenticity of who I am. Do I want to be tough? Strong? Fun? Empathetic? Creative? A stickler for process and rules? The truth is, I don’t have to choose one over the other. I can be all these things and more, weaving together the diverse threads of my personality to create a leadership style that is uniquely mine.

But perhaps more importantly, I want to lead with compassion and intelligence, with a heart that beats for the empowerment of others and a mind that is driven by a vision of equality and justice. I want to challenge the status quo, break down barriers, and pave the way for future generations of women leaders to thrive.

I know that I’m not alone in this journey. Countless women grapple with the same questions, striving to find their place in a world that often confines them to predefined roles. But the time for conformity is over. It’s time for us to embrace our authenticity, to lead with the compassion in our hearts and the intelligence that has propelled us to success.

So, let us cast off the shackles of stereotypes and chart our own course, unapologetically bold and unabashedly true to ourselves. Let us lead with conviction, courage, and unwavering determination, knowing that our strength lies not in conforming to expectations but in challenging them at every turn. Together, let us redefine what it means to be women leaders and pave the way for a future where authenticity reigns supreme.

Pascale Buckingham
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