Guest Judge Comments:

“This essay has truly impressed me, and I am delighted to extend a 100% scholarship offer to the author. The essay’s strength particularly shines through in its opening, addressing the issue of gender stereotypes. This theme deeply resonates with our work at Female Founders, where we frequently observe disparities in the questions asked of female founders compared to their male counterparts during fundraising discussions.

 

Furthermore, the essay’s reference to the Harvard Business Review article on effective leadership is noteworthy. Often, organizational structures tend to favor the embodiment of “masculine” leadership traits, neglecting the fact that leadership excellence transcends gender and involves the cultivation of diverse leadership qualities. This insightful observation underscores the need for a more inclusive and balanced approach to leadership qualities.”

 

Amelia Suda-Gosch has over 10 years of marketing tech experience within the US and in Europe. She moved to Vienna in 2018 and has worked for multiple startups managing marketing teams. She has always been passionate about personal development and workplace inclusion. In 2021, she was able to blend her passions and expertise into her career at Female Founders. She currently serves as Co-CEO at Female Founders.

Can you tell us about your essay-writing process?

“I have noticed that there are still stereotypes about femininity in today’s society. Although unable to single-handedly alter the present state of affairs, as a student, I aspire to contribute to the advancement of female empowerment and gender equality.

Immerse provided detailed writing guidance, and as a first-time entrant, I have read the requirements which are very clearly provided and have been able to… appreciate and immerse myself in… previous winning essays. At the time, I struggled with the citation format as it was my first encounter with it, but the detailed guidance provided enabled my successful completion of the essay.”

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The Winning Essay:
How Important Is it to Have Strong Female Leadership?

Why is it that when people think of leaders more people have images of men in their minds? When we talk about workplace dilemmas, patriarchal societies seem to be very good at and accustomed to using a kind of occupational gender segregation to stereotype men and women. This has led to the perception that many ‘high-paying occupations’ are out of reach for women solely because of their biological gender identity. With the continuous emergence of women breaking through stereotypical thinking there are more and more female leaders with significant social impact. As Alice Eagly and Linda Carli argued1, the idea that women are effective leaders jumped from the authors of feminist management business books into mainstream media and popular culture. The importance of elite female leadership has gradually become a major social focus. This paper states that female leaders play a crucial role in providing emotional value to subordinates and balancing the gender structure of the company.


What makes a good leader? It’s not just about having strict rules and regulations to manage employees and make profits but also about having enough vision; open active minds and empathy. In other words good leaders need to be rational and sensible and these two traits can coexist. Therefore empathy awareness and other stereotypical feminine traits are good qualities for leaders and can better highlight the advantages of flexible management. McKinsey & Company concluded based on a survey that measures managers’ supportive actions by manager’s gender that ‘women are doing the lion’s share of the emotional labor at work’2 from the perspective of the relationship between superiors and subordinates in the company. The humanistic experience generally created by female leaders can better provide emotional value to colleagues and subordinates and stabilize a company structure. Everything in the world is not black or white and having an emotional side does not mean that you cannot have a rational management ability. In fact according to the Harvard Business Review article ‘Are Women Better Leaders than Men’3, out of 16 core leadership skills women outperform men in 12 aspects including taking initiative and building partnerships which are two skills that have been stereotyped as leadership qualities for men only.


At the same time female leaders can balance the gender imbalance in the company. The fact that women experience workplace difficulties as female leaders of sexual minorities led them to be aware of the potential bias derived from patriarchal society or the hegemonic masculinity of male leaders. Also females do better adopting the ‘transformational leadership’4 style with a supportive attitude to find more female employees’ potential and provide guidance that helps them better develop their careers and reduce gender imbalance.5 To be clear this does not place too much of a focus on female empowerment or excessive female privilege but rather demonstrates that a successful individual can be a leader regardless of their gender.


Last but not least it can be seen that in the future it is very important to focus on and support the recognition and growth of female leadership in a world that increasingly emphasizes inclusion and elimination of binary opposition. Therefore women with strong and flexible management abilities will inevitably occupy an important position in the future of open caring, efficient and flexible work mode.


Footnotes:

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