It is not that women are not as smart or hard-working as men. It is not even that we don’t have the opportunities to reach the top. The main reason why we do not have more women leaders in our modern world is rooted in ourselves and in our thinking. If we want to change the statistics and the figures related to the successful women leaders, we first need to change the stereotypes.

It is not impossible. In a TED Talk, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and a successful US business woman, gave women 3 tips on how to become leaders.

First of all, it is important for women to sit at the table, to take responsibility, to show that we want to be, and we are, equal to men and we can do as well, if not better than, they do. Don’t stay in the shadow of your male partners or even bosses, try to stand out and do it with style. Show that you have worked hard to reach a chief position and you are ready to go up.

Another important piece of advice for women who want to be successful leaders is to find the right correlation between your career and your family life. The statistics show that in a household where a man and a woman each work full time and have a child, the woman spends two times more than the man on household duties and three times more on raising children. In the perfectly equal world men and women will be able to divide the responsibilities so that neither makes compromises with their career. Or, if it is necessary, the men will take more household responsibilities in order to help women with pursuing their career.

When it comes to building a family, women tend to be ready to give up on their careers, sometimes way too early. Although sometimes we cannot avoid leaving work because of pregnancy or maternity, we can leave when the right time comes, and no earlier. Some women start to prepare for leaving once they start thinking about a family. This way, they again make a compromise with their jobs and lose a number of opportunities for promotions, for new activities, for better jobs, and so on. The third important piece of advice for women who want to be leaders is ‘leave when you leave.’ Give the best of yourself when you are working and then leave, thus knowing that when you are ready to come back, a good job full of career opportunities will be awaiting.

To cut a long story short, we don’t see many women leaders nowadays, because most women are not grabbing the opportunities, not believing in themselves, not giving everything to become the best. What you need to do is sit at the table, realizing that you are the reason for your own success. You also need to show your partner how to really be a partner – sharing responsibilities and duties in order for everyone to be able to pursue their career. And, last but not least, work at your fullest capacity to the very end before you leave to raise your child.  Then when you are ready to go back, you will have a challenging job worth returning. Good luck!

Phone 1300 719 665  www.soniamcdonald.com.au

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