How Women Leaders Catalyze Positive Change Amidst Discriminations


Leadership is a major determinant to lead a positive change in any organization. It constitutes making policies and strategies geared towards achieving the organization’s goals and objectives. Successful leaders, whether men or women are mandated to practice democratic making of decisions to include all their workers, ensure they are accessible and responsive, and recognize their role. Leadership roles are not limited to a particular gender, as men and women all have equal chances of leading.

Over the years, the rise in women becoming educated and taking up job opportunities has been significant. This is owing to decades of investing in women empowerment programs and progress monitoring by various governmental and non-governmental organizations. However, despite years of hard work to achieve much better work opportunities and increased public attention on gender equality, progress in advancing women, specifically in leadership, has stalled (Zenger & Folkman 2019). According to Haynes (2019), in research conducted to depict how girls around the world tend to view women in leadership positions, about 94% of the respondents ascertained women leaders face unwanted physical harassment. On the same note, approximately 95% believe women leaders are not treated as well as men holding leadership positions (Haynes, 2019). Effective leadership qualities are still greatly associated with the male model, thus shutting out women.

Although recently, women have record-breaking numbers in various leadership positions, they are still underrepresented in senior leadership positions as they, on rare occasions, are promoted. Women are also less exposed to advancement networks, so mentors and sponsors to champion their career advancements are rarely there. Similarly, they are subjected to the old stereotype that, for years, men have been leaders; hence, leadership traits are often masculine (Zenger & Folkman, 2019). Rampant gender-based violence, colorism, and sexual harassment have been more prevalent in women and thus not limited to women leaders.

However, despite the challenges women face while in leadership, there is evidence that they are able to lead a positive change and achieve equally as best as their male counterparts. According to Zenger and Folkman (2019), women are perceived as effective at most, if not all, hierarchical and functional levels of the departments and organizations they are leading. Zenger and Folkman (2019) assert that women leaders are excelling in taking initiatives, such as work-life balance, employee relationships, integration, kindness, or even shadow initiatives. Women leaders are also excelling in other leadership capabilities, such as practicing and acting with resilience, having a drive for a better outcome, achieving self-development and developing others, and portraying high levels of honesty and integrity.

Women leaders’ quest to catalyze positive change is brought about by their confidence in being competent for the leadership task. Therefore, this qualitative study aims to identify leadership skills that are characteristic of women and geared toward leading a positive change. The study will also explore the discrimination women face in leadership that challenges their drive to achieve organizational or departmental goals. It will provide the best practices women leaders should adopt to nurture and maximize their leadership effectiveness.

Research Approach

This qualitative study will use semi-structured interviews with women holding various leadership positions in the public health settings in Sira town. This methodology has been chosen as it allows the researcher to explore women’s individual-driven behavior and practices as leaders. The research approach is also chosen to examine the women’s personal experiences in leadership, as well as varied viewpoints on women’s leadership. The approach encompasses identifying women who have enacted significant changes in the leadership positions they were elected to represent. This research approach is believed to provide an understanding that to catalyze change, it is essential to show significant influence over the subjects being led. Therefore, research participants will be identified based on their impact and actions in their various roles. Through the data collected, women’s leadership behaviors that catalyze positive change will emerge and whether and how they have encountered and overcome discrimination while partaking in their leadership roles.

Data Collection and Analysis

The participants will be women holding various leadership positions in the public domain in Sira municipality. They will be aged between 21 and 55 years old and have held leadership responsibilities for at least one year. To successfully measure positive change per woman leader, such factors as the number of years she has been a leader and the growth made will be used. Similarly, the researcher will look into the leader’s policies amended during her reign, awards to the organization, or for her leadership to recognize her efforts or media coverage of the leader or organization. The participants will then be sent participation letters and emails to describe the nature of the study, its purpose and request their participation in the study. One-on-one interviews will then be conducted through a video call. A short questionnaire will include additional information on their duties and responsibilities as leaders and demographic information. Therefore, data collection will be by use of semi-structured interviews and will be analyzed through the use of a coding system.


Haynes, S. (2019). ‘The Arc of History is Bending Back.’ New Study Shows How Girls Around the World View Female Leaders.

Zenger, J., & Folkman, J. (2019). Women score higher than men in most leadership skills. Harvard Business Review, 1-8.