13 JUN - 2023
Cue Taylor Swift’s “Man”
In today's rapidly evolving professional landscape, women face a myriad of unique challenges when assuming leadership positions. Despite the progress made towards achieving gender equality, there remains a pressing need to confront and dismantle the persistent stereotypes, biases, and double standards that hinder women's advancement in the workplace. In a thought-provoking interview, five exceptional women who have not only excelled but thrived as leaders in their respective fields, generously share their invaluable insights on the term "bossy" and highlight the imperative for women in leadership to receive the same level of acknowledgement and acceptance as their male counterparts.
The journey towards gender parity has undoubtedly seen significant strides, but it would be remiss to overlook the obstacles that women continue to face. These challenges range from subtle biases and expectations rooted in gender roles to overt discrimination and the infamous glass ceiling. While progress has been made in increasing women's representation in leadership positions, it is crucial to recognize that true equality extends beyond mere numbers. It encompasses an inclusive and supportive environment that nurtures women's talents, amplifies their voices, and embraces their unique perspectives.
Beatrice Thorne - Co-Founder and GM of Eve Wellness & Be Pure
“Bossy is a really outdated term. The number of instances where it would be appropriate to use it is zero. Is your daughter telling her friend how she wants to play the game? Good on her for having a vision. Is your colleague making a firm decision? How great to have that decisive leadership. 'Bossy' belittles the power girls and women hold to be leaders.
I am lucky to work in a business where I am fully recognised for my contributions. However, I personally struggle to celebrate and share my achievements. I have an irrational fear that I will be seen to be boastful if I do, even though when I see another woman share her successes I am filled with nothing but support and respect for them. This may be tall poppy syndrome showing its face, but we also have a long history of women being pitted against each other, men speaking down to us and shame surrounding most things we do. This has to play a role in how comfortable we feel to be seen - even for our wins.”
Bronwyn and Jessica - Founders of Elmo’s, Hoppers and Kynn Shapewear
“Women who step into any form of leadership role can often be negatively branded as bossy, and we have experienced this double standard before. If a man takes charge, he’s a leader. When a woman does it, she’s being bossy. However, instead of focusing on this, you must remain focused, trust your instincts and guide your team to do the best work we can do.
We shouldn’t see the term bossy as an insult, we should be proud of being a leader, taking charge and being the boss.”
“I think any leader needs to fight to gain any acknowledgement and acceptance whether male or female. Competitive pressure can also come from other women, so we believe it is imperative to support other women like ourselves in the pursuit of leadership. It is important to recognize that in any healthy organization, we need both male and female contributions to get to the same goal as we all have different strengths and weaknesses.
However, I do believe women can be superhuman. History has proven this - women wear many different hats within their roles in life - balancing careers, households, and parenting and this ability to multitask creates such resilience, allowing women leaders to quickly adjust to new situations and challenges and therefore focus on finding solutions to real-life work issues.”
Satori and Gabby - Founders of Form Agency
“At FORM, we have the privilege of working with and empowering women every day. As two female founders, we have the honour of creating an environment exempt from negative stereotypes. There’s no denying that our society can create frustrating terms and boundaries and reinforce double standards. Cue Taylor Swift’s “Man”.
For girls just starting their careers or women wanting that sense of confidence, there is nothing like knowing your stuff. Holding your own power and working from a place of true empathy is unmatched. And you’re never bossy. Always a boss. We wouldn’t be a brand agency if we didn’t know the quote for the year- You’re Barbie and he’s just Ken.
We strongly support equal recognition for both genders. Additionally, we recognise that women and men possess inherent differences, and it is important to acknowledge and appreciate these gender distinctions that are evident in our daily lives. While society has increasingly encouraged women to embrace qualities traditionally associated with men in various roles, we believe that each gender brings unique attributes to different aspects of life. It would be beneficial if society could foster an environment that promotes understanding and appreciation for the distinct roles that both males and females contribute to our communities.
At FORM, again, we always want to surround ourselves with people who would say our names in a room of opportunity. And offer the same for our community.”
The journey towards gender equality in leadership positions demands a collective effort to challenge stereotypes, biases, and double standards. Women must be recognised and celebrated for their decisive leadership, vision, and achievements without being labelled as "bossy." It's time to embrace true equality by creating an inclusive environment that amplifies women's voices, nurtures their talents, and appreciates the unique perspectives we bring to the table.