Women In Leadership

The gender leadership crisis exists all over the world but significantly in the least developed countries including Nepal where women are dominated by stereotyped social and political construct.

Jan. 22, 2020, 9:29 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 13 No. 11 ,Jan.24-06,Feb.2020(Magh.10, 2076) Publisher: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

Leadership is a matter of exercising knowledge and experiences being wise and using conscience to enhance motivation, morale and achieving goals. A leader is a person who sets vision with strategy following actions maintaining accountability and integrity.

Leadership is not gender specific, but it is the set of qualities innate or refined with intelligence, setting vision, discipline, risk resiliency, analyzing emotional intelligence, thinking out of the box and developing coping strategy with good communication and negotiation skills. With all these virtues together, one can be an authentic leader bringing wider array of changes.

Women are powerful agents of change. We can think of number of women who have led advocacy campaign to civil rights movements bringing social and political changes. Still, there are concerns about the underrepresentation of women in leadership in all walks of life.

The gender leadership crisis exists all over the world but significantly in the least developed countries including Nepal where women are dominated by stereotyped social and political construct. Often women from the least developed countries are exposed to gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, deprived from basic facilities (health, education) and gender discrimination that have created huge gaps in the society.

Largely, women’s practical needs like food, nutrition, water, reproductive health, shelter, basic education are not addressed. As a result, women have difficulty to move towards strategic interest areas in Nepal to reduce gender disparities and violence, unequal wages, child marriages, dowry and trafficking, as well asequitably accessing resources, opportunities and achieving gender equality.

Women are gradually making their presence felt in social and political life in Nepal. There are more women leaders in local governance who have potential to take forward strategic interests for gender equality. Learning lessons from other countries, local women leaders can further enhance leadership role in the following areas to be effective in their positive influence over decisions on gender strategic interests and local development.

  • Developing Interpersonal skills and relationships: Information technology and communication areprerequisite to be a successful and vibrant leader. Both upward and downward communication need to be maintained. A leader should be good communicator and excellent listener.
  • Developing negotiation skills: To exercise leadership, negotiation is important to build relationship, manage conflict, build complementarity and make informed decisions.
  • Uphold accountability: Any leader should value accountability. For a leader being accountable means being intact which forges transparency, unity and cohesion.
  • Collaboration and Networking: To be a transformational leader, collaboration and networking is vital to act willingly together to achieve common objective.
  • Analyzing Risk Tolerance: A leader should always identify the limits, anger and tolerance level to adopt new developments.
  • Understanding bigger picture: A leader should understand a bigger picture of policy environment and international instruments while linking local to global platforms through policy advocacy using instruments like Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Regardless of above-mentioned qualities,local women leaders should develop optimism to see difficulties as temporary to overcome challenges. Women leaders should be curious, positive and develop confidence.The government should Invest in and develop policies, public services and programs that enable women to succeed as leaders.

Agya Pokharel.jpg

Aagya Pokharel

Aagya Pokharel, Master in Human and Natural Resource Studies from Kathmandu University. Can be reached through aagya.pokharel28@gmail. com

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