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Female leadership – Challenges and Opportunities

Written by Nguyen Minh Dang – s3410147

Strong leadership skills are something that both men and women want to achieve. However, Merrill-Sands (2008) claims that most women are skipping their power and leadership at the workplace for full-time motherhood as they prefer “sticking with the kids” rather than dealing with papers.

To explore the accuracy of the statement as well as to explore a different angle – female leadership, I decided to have a small talk with Ms. Nguyen Hong Phuong, the owner of Eurovie – a 5-year-old private spa and facial treatment centre. Throughout the conversation, I asked her about the challenges that a female leader usually encounter with and how to solve these problems.

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Figure 1. My interview with Ms Phuong. Photo by author (2013)

Starting the dialogue, Ms. Phuong said that she was quite lucky to born in a different period of time from her mother, who had a very limited job opportunities. Though, women are still facing a number of more difficult decisions between professional success and personal life at the moment.

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Figure 2. Reproduced from: Expatchild (2013)

How to motivate the women staff?

Since Ms. Phuong’s business is about taking care of the skin, the hair and the beauty of people, most of the staff are girls, too. She told me there is one challenge that she found the most difficult: How to motivate the women staff? She noticed that ladies are usually underestimate their own abilities. When she asks a male staff why is he doing so great? He will reply that because of his personal skills. However, with the same question, the female staff will attribute to external factors regarding her teammates, her luck or someone’s help.

Why this point is so important? Because nobody can get the job promotions if they do not think they deserve the success or they even do not understand their own success, Ms. Phuong explains. As a result, “Keep your faith and believe in yourself. Have you own success” is something that Ms. Phuong keep talking about.

How to choose between workload and family?

On the other hand, as a women, Ms. Phuong said that it is challenging for a female leader to balance between the workload and the personal family. Just imagine you have got married and you had a baby, what will you do if the little boy hugging your leg and begging you stay at home? Usually in a Vietnamese family, if both of the father and the mother has a full-time job, the mother has to work double burdens compared to the father, in both childcare and housework, she adds.

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Figure 3. Reproduced from: Momlogic (2013)

The situation is completely different when Ms. Phuong was single. At that time, everyone was busy and so did she. Then suddenly she thought about getting married and having a baby, which made her lean back. She lost her own motivation and did not want to expand her business anymore. Luckily, she finally realized that she should not leave the job before making any real decision.

“I must keep my hands stably on the steering wheel until the day that I really have to leave to take a break for my pregnancy, then I made the final choice”. She advises that young females should not make any decision too far in advance, especially with the one that they are not even be aware of they are making them.

The conversation demonstrates the point of Krotz (2010) that the style of leadership of male and female can be both effective, while ‘female’ regularly has their own advantages. For instance, women leaders are more likely to build than to win, they are also likely to connect people and ask other’s opinions. Finally, female leaders tend to be better than male at encouraging their staff.

At the end of the dialogue, I believe that female leaders will continue to effectively manage the challenges created by having children and developing businesses at the same time.

Word count: 652

References:

Expatchild 2013, ‘Busy woman with children housewife’, image, Expatchild, 10 June, viewed 8 January 2014,

< http://expatchild.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Busy-woman-with-children-housewife.jpg>.

Krotz, J 2010, “Women Make Better Corporate Leaders”, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. RMIT International University Vietnam, viewed 10 January 2014,

<http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&prodId=OVRC&userGroupName=vnrmit&tabID=T010&docId=EJ3010151276&type=retrieve&contentSet=GSRC&version=1.0>.

Merrill-Sands, D 2008, “Women Are Not Opting Out of the Workplace to Be Stay-at-Home Moms”, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. RMIT International University Vietnam, viewed 10 January 2014,

<http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&prodId=OVRC&userGroupName=vnrmit&tabID=T010&docId=EJ3010175253&type=retrieve&contentSet=GSRC&version=1.0>.

Momlogic 2013, ‘Are you addicted to babies, image, Momlogic, 10 July, viewed 8 January 2014,

< http://www.momlogic.com/cdn/images/are_you_addicted_to_babies_pm-thumb-270×270.jpg>.

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