Reflection from "Women Take the Lead" women network organized by the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Initiative (DEDI); where a group of Danish & Egyptian ladies met to discuss hot topics between both cultures when it comes to women in leadership position. And in this article we will answer a basic question of What women in leadership struggles the most with?
First, the discussion started that as a woman leader you need to keep your genuine self & be true to your words. Don't fake it because sooner or later your true self will be revealed.
Second, the hiring or firing capabilities builds a gap between the leader & the team members which leads to ruining the friendly atmosphere within the team. As a result, this leads to leaders not sharing things about their personal lives. And this is a real struggle to keep both a personal context & a professional context between the leader & the team members without having a conflict!
So, the first suggestion was to distinguish between sharing your personal live vs sharing your private live which is irrelevant. The second suggestion was to distinguish between being friendly vs being demanding.
Third, we have discussed why people look differently to women leaders vs men leaders; for example people see men leaders as assertive but women leaders as aggressive, even if both are just assertive. And this was associated with women being feminine or young or naturally petite in nature. Which leads to women leaders thinking of toughing up as the solution! Which is really not, on the contrary companies should enforce an anti-discriminatory policy, encourage speaking up as part of the corporate culture, and balancing authority with being friendly within a professional setting.
Fourth, we have discussed sexual harassment in the workplace, which was surprisingly almost the same between Denmark & Egypt. Given that people didn't speak up except after the "Me too" campaign few years ago & that in both cultures victims are always to be blamed.