Why is leadership still so heavily associated with masculinity?
We are living in a time where the rights we have as women are the highest they have ever been in recorded human history, and yet, we are not even close to gender equality.
The idea that women are not just commodities to be sampled, sold and censored is still a radical idea, and feminism is a belief that incites concern.
Only 10 countries in the world have systems in place to offer full equal rights and legal protection for women, according to the report Women, Business and the Law 2021, recently published by the World Bank. Even in these countries, it’s not as though gender incited and based violence has been eradicated, with a worldwide average of 1 in 3 women having experienced violence from the hands of a partner, the disturbing news discovered in research conducted by the U.N. Women Entity.
In cultures across the world, having a patriarch and following a patriarchal system is the norm, which means that for millions of girls and young women around the world, seeing women in positions of power is something rare, unusual, and perhaps, frowned upon. A point to keep in mind is that everyone may not have access to the same “modern” and western ideologies and information that we do, and it is imperative to remember that even if they had access, it may not be the easiest thing to debunk every ideology that has been engrained in your head from birth.
For many, men in power, may be all they’ve ever seen, and is also what they’ll teach to their children, creating an inevitable loop. As humans, we are also conditioned to listen to, fear and obey those in control and in places of leadership. When we look at the gender imbalance in leadership and power, and the rates of household abuse, it’s clear to comprehend the likelihoods of how it could impact gender and domestic violence.
Only associating leadership with men can also impair a woman’s financial and social security. A lot of married women are fastened into relationships with no power or control over their financial assets, often leaving them helpless in sticky situations.
We need to start discussing a pivotal part of societal gender norms- males being inherently seen as the leaders. How does this power imbalance add to, and further fuel masculinity and leadership being so heavily linked? What implications does that have on sex based violence and gender inequality? Is it just a vicious cycle, linked to and aided by gender roles and societal stereotypes? These are questions that are often asked, and just as often brushed off.
Masculinity should not be the semblance of power.