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I recently came across an article titled, “Three Traits that Make Women Perfect Leaders in STEM.” The author, Valarie Romero, doesn’t necessarily discuss anything we don’t already know, other than perhaps, people are still shocked to hear that gender inequality still exists. Really.
Romero points to statistics that many of us have become all too familiar with, such as compensation differences between genders, or that men are 142 percent more likely to hold executive positions within companies and organizations. She also writes about how women in all STEM fields often get passed over for leadership roles. Though women earn 60 percent of master’s degrees in the U.S., leadership numbers are shockingly low. In fact, 43 percent of the 150 public companies with the largest revenue in Silicon Valley had zero female executive officers as recently as 2016.
“Yes, our society has made great progress,” she writes, “but gender inequality still very much exists.”
For that reason alone, we must keep talking, and writing, about it.
Romero shared three of the many traits she believes makes women ideally suited for leadership roles. The first trait she mentions is personalized mentorship. “Mentorship,” Romero writes, “is an important aspect of leadership. In fields where more women are needed, female role models and mentors can play a key role in nurturing future talent and preserving the confidence and self-assurance of female STEM workers. One study of 150 female engineering students showed that female mentors could act as a “social vaccine” of sorts. Although the conversations between students and male and female mentors were largely the same, women who had female mentors were more likely to succeed and become confident in their professional lives.”
Our featured woman this month, Paula Kehoe, talks about the importance mentorship has had in her life. In fact, almost all the women we have featured in Women in PHCP have talked about mentorship and role it has played not only in their success, but also in their pursuit of paying it forward.
The other two traits Romero discusses are emotional intelligence and communication. She writes that while many women have excellent technical skills, they are also more likely to be empathetic, which can be an asset in both strategic planning and management. She adds that women are naturally good at communication, which is vital to long-term business growth and success.
I happen to agree with Romero in regard to the “many traits” women have that make them ideally suited to hold positions of leadership. I’d like to add three more to the list:
To be clear, I am not suggesting these traits are reserved for women only. Certainly, there are men who possess these characteristics. But what I am saying that these are traits I recognize in most women because they are there out of necessity, especially as it relates to professional growth.
All of the women I have featured in this newsletter have possessed all of the traits named above, and then some. For those reasons, they have all been recognized as successful leaders with stories worth telling. Paula Kehoe, this month’s featured woman is no exception.
What would you add to this list? Who would you add to the list of featured women?
As always, my continued goal is to talk to leading women in the industry each month and share their stories, thoughts and insights. So, if you know a woman, or are a woman who should be featured, let me know.