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Female Leaders: Encouraging Our Girls to Aim High

As the Principal of a girls’ school, I believe it is our responsibility to empower our students and prepare them to become strong, confident leaders. Our world needs female voices at the table to help solve many of the complex issues our world is facing. Approximately 50% of the world’s population is female. Hence if we are a world where diversity, equity and inclusion are valued, schools need to ensure we develop in our students not only leadership skills but also the confidence to pursue leadership.

In this blog post, we will highlight the advantages of female leaders, and explore how we can promote female leadership.

Strengths of Female Leaders

In the realm of leadership both at school and in the wider world, females bring a unique blend of skills and perspectives that can greatly benefit organisations. It is important to note that these advantages are not meant to suggest gender superiority but rather to celebrate the diversity of strengths that are often exhibited when females take on leadership roles.

Leadership in the modern world is not based on physical strength but rather on the following characteristics exhibited by many successful female leaders. Male leaders also have some of these traits, however these are often strengths for female leaders.

Measured thinking: Female leaders display strengths in strategic thinking and the ability to seek compromise while showing a commitment to fine details. These are powerful assets in developing a shared vision.

Diverse perspectives: Female leaders bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table, enhancing problem-solving and decision-making processes. The needs of women also need to be voiced and included in research, design and strategies.

Strong communication: Female leaders often have strong communication skills, such as listening skills, showing empathy and being attentive to nonverbal cues. These traits enable them to build relationships, ensure others feel heard and valued and enable them to effectively communicate outcomes and solutions.

Promoting Collaboration: Female leaders have strengths in building culture to promote a sense of community and belonging. This promotes a collaborative, inclusive environment where a team is valued over individuals to make decisions and problem-solve.

Promoting Leadership Development in Females

Young women need opportunities to develop as leaders, focussing on their values and personal identity to lead and to believe in themselves as leaders.  They need to have opportunities that offer steps towards leadership. Some of the ways we can promote leadership development of our students are through:

  • Providing leadership opportunities: Enabling students from a young age to take on formal or informal leadership roles so they develop an understanding of leadership and how they can make a difference in their community or school
  • Encouraging a change of mindset: Working to change perceptions of who we assume will lead organisations and how young people see leadership in the world. Promoting an environment where females see themselves as leaders who believe they can be successful and challenge societal stereotypes paving the way for gender equality is important. We need all men and women to see the benefits and capabilities of female leaders.
  • Implementing leadership programs: Developing structured leadership programs tailored specifically for girls, providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in leadership roles.
  • Offering empowerment workshops: Organising workshops focusing on self-esteem, confidence-building, and assertiveness. These workshops can empower our girls, helping them to become confident in their ability to lead. They need to believe in themselves and their potential for success.
  • Understanding leadership requires growth: Ensuring girls don’t feel they need to be experienced or fully accomplished in 100% of the job description before applying for leadership roles. Much will be learned along the journey.
  • Providing mentoring programs: Establishing mentorship programs connecting our girls with successful women leaders from various fields, allowing them to gain valuable insights and guidance.
  • Promoting entrepreneurship: Introducing entrepreneurship programs offering girls an opportunity to innovate, problem-solve, and possibly start their own ventures. This experience can cultivate risk-taking, resilience, management skills and self-belief, which are traits essential for future leaders.
  • Offering public speaking and debating opportunities: Public speaking and debating can greatly enhance a girl’s confidence, critical thinking, and communication skills. By organising and participating in these events, our girls can learn to articulate their thoughts and opinions confidently and effectively.
  • Encourage girls to participate in co-curricular: Activities such as clubs, and sports teams, where they can learn teamwork, communication, and decision-making skills and take on leadership roles while in the teenage years promotes confidence for future leadership roles.

By actively promoting and supporting female leadership within our school, we are dedicated to equipping girls with a comprehensive set of skills as well as fostering their self-confidence and resilience. We firmly believe in empowering our girls to aim high and providing them with leadership opportunities to shape their individual futures while contributing to the creation of a more diverse and inclusive society.

The survival of our people and our planet requires new thinking, new strategies and new models of leadership where females have equal opportunity and representation.

Together, let us inspire and empower our girls to become the visionary leaders of tomorrow, driving positive change and making a lasting impact on the world around them.

Shaping Future Leaders- Jennifer Oaten

At Santa Maria College, we believe that leadership is a journey of learning, not just a title or position. For over 80 years, our Year 12 students have been at the forefront of shaping our school’s culture through their leadership. As one cohort graduates and another takes the helm, the baton of leadership is passed, igniting the potential within each new group of young women.

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