Why the World needs more Women Who Lead – Mel MacIntyre
How can we make the world a better place?
A question that so many of us grapple with.
I know it’s certainly a driving question behind my own career and some of the life and career changing choices I’ve made. It was, in fact, the driving force behind me leaving my corporate career as a senior leader and setting up my own coaching and mentoring business.
In deciding who I wanted to work with and the change I wanted to facilitate in the world through my business, I turned to my own experiences and challenges as a woman who wanted to be successful in what is still very much a man’s world.
Even though we are over two decades into the 21st Century, the world is still running on outdated societal norms and desperately out of balance. We see it in our political systems, in our media and the emphasis on what gets covered and how and in the outdated alpha culture that still dominates most organisations. As women (and men) we have a crucial role to help redress this balance, but how do we do it?
Where do we start?
The good news is this opinion I’ve shared has a wealth of data, evidence and information to confirm the truth of it. We need no longer shrink back in some weird kind of shame being labelled ‘feminists’ as if that’s a dirty word that somehow has an edge of hysteria attached to it (thanks mainstream media for that demonization).
In their book The Athena Doctrine – How Women (And The Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule The Future, John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio surveyed 64,000 people across thirteen nations and found that over two thirds of them believed the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. The data clearly showed how qualities and feminine values associated with women were rising. In fact, they argue “femininity is the operating system of 21st century prosperity”.
Feminine Leadership Qualities
Leadership qualities such as empathy, patience, intuition, collaboration and flexibility were seen as important qualities that are needed now more than ever. They were also qualities attributed to feminine leadership through the research which surveyed over 32,000 people. In a backdrop of increased mistrust, financial mismanagement and ongoing wars led by our global leaders who also happen to be predominantly men, it is no surprise that people are ready for change.
Closer to home, Women’s Enterprise Scotland have just released their Manifesto for Change. Their extensive research highlights many ongoing challenges that we can easily assume to be no longer true.
I was shocked to learn women-led businesses in Scotland have decreased from 20.6% in 2017 to 14% in 2019. Access to finance is a huge challenge, made even more difficult for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women in enterprise with only 0.02% of total venture capital invested over the last 10 years going to BME women entrepreneurs.
The report not only paints a picture of the current opportunities women have access to as woefully inadequate, it also provides us with clear recommendations of the steps we can take at a political and policy level to rectify it.
So as a coach, what can I do?
What can we do?
Here are 5 things you can do today –
- Create a safe space for difficult and awkward conversations with your clients, peers and other leaders as we learn to explore what has been historically a delicate subject together.
- Don’t back down from a challenge when you have the evidence to back up your position – do the research, learn for yourself and share what you learn.
- Share success and celebrate women when they step up to be more visible and lead from their values – encourage the leadership behaviour we need more of that will create meaningful change.
- Role-model your own leadership by being more visible and using your voice and influence to create change and support women in capitalising on leadership opportunities.
- Incorporate gender appropriate and nuanced approaches in your work and seek to help women and men find ways to create more balance in spinning the many plates that have traditionally been women’s to spin.
The last point is one particularly close to my heart as I couldn’t have built a successful global coaching business that creates powerful meaningful change in the world without the support of my partner Charlie. Together, in the last five years, we have created two businesses, cared for my dad as he died, birthed our son, moved to a tiny, remote Hebridean island and juggled life and our baby who is now a boisterous three-year-old boy. All with no outside help or external childcare. He has supported me to realise my dreams and a lot of that has meant turning the traditional gender roles on their heads.
In my work, I help women lead with the courage, confidence and conviction and that comes from tapping into who you really are, authentically at your very core, then living your life and running your business from THIS place without the limitations that society has programmed into you to keep you playing small.
Mel MacIntyre is a coach and mentor to women who are here to change the world. Creator of the Wildly Authentic Success Framework, which helps female leaders, coaches and soul-led business owners connect with their calling and create a lucrative, successful business or career that helps to heal the world.