Does the thought of women in leadership make you giddy with excitement or cringe full of dread?
If you’re like me, chances are your answer is along the lines of – it depends.
It depends on your encounters with women.
Nurturing and encouraging, thorny and abrasive, or something in between, your everyday experience with women in general will inform your view of them in a leadership capacity. After all, leadership only serves to amplify who they already are on a regular basis.
It depends on your encounters with men.
Being a woman in leadership means that you’re likely leading not just fellow women but men as well. There are those who consider women leading men as either a hopeless attempt at equality or an abomination of the modern times. There are those who contend for women leading men with mutual respect and honour between the two. Whichever side of the divide you lie on, probably has something to do with how you’ve seen manhood modeled in relationship to womanhood.
It depends on your beliefs about leadership.
When people feel betrayed by an authority figure –whether male or female – they tend to disregard and/or lash out at every other authority figure that comes their way. It’s astounding how many people have a problem with authority and don’t even know it. But their actions speak loudly concerning the broken state of their hearts. Their contention with leadership is so vast that gender hardly even gets a chance to feature in the equation.
It depends on your experience as a female leader.
If you’ve ever held a leadership position, however big or small, informal or formal, your experience as a female leader will either spur you on, tear you down or give you a sordid mix of the two. Either way, what you choose to carry with you from that encounter will determine how you relate with other women in leadership whether as a fellow leader or as a follower.
It depends on your first encounter with female authority.
If your first introduction to female authority in the home through your mother or a mother-figure was a pleasant one, then you’re likely more inclined to give female authority a shot. However, if your experience left a lot to be desired, then your subconscious default setting towards female authority may be dismissive.
It depends on your subsequent encounters with female authority.
A good foundation needs great walls to go with it. If things started off well at home but hit a snag in school, church or even the workplace, it can dim the light that previously shone bright. One significantly bad encounter can shake even the sturdiest of foundations.
It depends on your encounters with male authority.
Whether they diminished or downplayed the role of a woman or amplified and encouraged it, they framed female leadership for you through their eyes. By virtue of their position of authority, they have an influence over your beliefs whether they know it or not.
It depends on what your idea of woman is.
Society, culture and even churches have gone out of their way to prescribe who woman should be and put women in their place. Woman does have an identity and she does have her place. But if these are defined through tainted eyes rather than the all-knowing eyes of Christ, then something will be amiss. And a lot has been amiss.
It depends on what your reality of God is.
If you believe God to be a domineering power out to subjugate women for the benefit of men, then there’s no place for women in leadership in your world. If you believe God made women with intent and purpose and can use them in leadership in the present day as He did time and again throughout Biblical times, then women in leadership are astounding to behold not an anomaly to be curtailed.
I don’t know what your idea of woman and women in leadership is. Even as a woman, my revelation and understanding has evolved over the years.
For the better.
I’ve come to embrace woman and women in leadership not as something to be cowered from out of fear or stifled out as a threat, but as a challenge worth accepting and a celebration worth having.
Rose gold crowns.
It’s what I think women in leadership are.
It’s what I’ll be talking about at the end of every month.