The fourth aspect why we need women at the top: Role Models!

Post in: German

The fourth aspect why women in leadership are critically important, is the role model function of women at the top. This role modeling matters for everyone, not just for women. If people at the top reflect diversity, then the employees at lower levels of the organization can better imagine themselves expanding their possibilities and visualizing alternative futures for themselves, living into their potential. Research shows that people bring themselves fully into the mission of the organization when they see themselves reflected in the overall picture of the organization.

We motivate our next generation in two ways when women lead:

  1. Every child benefits from being able to ask, “can someone like me do THAT?” and receive an affirmative answer and a concrete example. That’s true no matter what “that” is, and whatever “like me” means. Short, tall, male, female, native-born or immigrant. Even better, when there are so many diverse role models that a child need not even ask the question, because the answer is obvious: “someone like ME can do THAT — I see it around me every day!”
  2. The children of the women and men in leadership (or any other position) also benefit directly. Children need happy and fulfilled parents. Parents who don’t experience blocks, obstacles, and frustrations when striving to live into their potential, but who are instead welcomed and encouraged to experience control and self-determination in life and in work, can be living examples for their own children of what a happy, fulfilled adult life looks like.
Further Reading

  • Gibson, Donald E. and Diana I. Cordova. (1999). Women’s and Men’s Role Models: The Importance of Exemplars. In: Mentoring Dilemmas: Developmental Relationships Within Multicultural Organizations, Edited by Audrey J. Murrell, Faye J. Crosby, and Robin J. Ely. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Publishers.

Other relevant links

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