The conversation on gender equality is changing now more than ever with emphasis on action rather than rhetoric. Simultaneously, we are moving away from questions of women’s capacity, to affirmations of the unique perspectives women provide to the businesses and institutions they are a part of.
Why do businesses and institutions need women in leadership roles?
Not having women involved in leadership limits and excludes the talent, and dynamic problem-solving unique to women. For instance, many women are also working mothers. As a result, they have an acute awareness of the challenges involved in maintaining dualling positions, in a way that few men can relate to. This, by extension, gives them a unique built-in perspective, which they can leverage into their roles. For example, when leadership positions are held only by males, it is less likely that talent retention involves conversations about offering childcare, flexible hours, and parental leave. By contrast, having women in leadership position increases the likelihood of these points being raised. This example shows that female voices, in roles of leadership, are beneficial by pushing innovative problem-solving and diversifying the talent pool. 
What unique challenges do girls and women face? We always talk about the challenge faced by women in being selected for leadership positions, however we do not often discuss is the women not applying for these positions. For instance, when compared to men, women are more likely to question their abilities when faced with open opportunities. Moreover, many women wonder about if they have enough experience, or are prepared for the role, in a way that most men do not. In this way, a dual reaping occurs with women not applying or going after leadership positions, and women being less often chosen. The best means of combating this appears to be organizations, programs, and initiatives that support, empower, and push women to strive for more. With the help of these organizations, programs, and initiatives more women are putting themselves up for opportunities of leadership, starting their own business, and running for political office.
What is the importance of initiatives, and organizations that support women? Support systems for women seeking to become entrepreneurs, apply for promotions, or run for office are vital to encouraging women to go big, and provide the resources to back them up. The mentoring, networking, and volunteering taking place in these programs guarantees that women are able to perform and thrive in their chosen positions. It is incredibly important for women aspiring to these positions to expand their personal networks and feel like they have an active and supportive environment that empowers them to think bigger, but also pushes them to keep going over the roadblocks. If you are a woman looking to get involved in leadership and entrepreneurship there are great resources such as
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs
Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders
Canadian Association of Women Executives & Entrepreneurs
COADY International Institute – Indigenous Women in Community Leadership Program
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