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Want to be a woman leader? Read this

So what is leadership? Leadership is something we learn, practice and earn. This is what I have learnt from Mrs. Jolyda Sou on a leadership program. Although people may have different definitions of leadership, from my perspective a leader must have these three qualities, which are transparency, empathy and being able to lead and inspire people to pursue their goals. 

Jolyda Sou, Founder of Prestige Consulting.

Exploring your own path, by just giving it a shot

Cambodia's economy is projected to experience a positive growth trajectory in 2024 with a projected rate of expansion of 6.6%, a press release by the Ministry of Economy and Finance on October 27, 2023. According to the World Bank, as of 2022, females constituted 50.5% of the Cambodian population. Recognizing the substantial demographic representation of women underlines their significant

Source: Dot Property (2020)

potential contribution to achieving these objectives. Thus,  investing in women’s essential skills, knowledge, and involvement in decision-making processes would accelerate the realization of our nation's economic goals. This is only one example that demonstrates that women should be given the chance and opportunity to be active members of society, and to be leaders in their own rights!

Source: Utah Busines (2017)

From my own observations,  I can see there are so many young women out there, who are brave to fight against the restrictive social norms, patriarchy and social expectations they experience. However, there are still some women who are afraid of going out to explore and find their own path, through internships, volunteering to get hands-on experience in their community,  connect with a network with like-minded people, and apply to learning opportunities. Fortunately, there are several  organizations in Cambodia that are ready to support women, and also encourage women to obtain higher education and skills development such as Project Inspire, Education First Cambodia, Child’s Dream, SHE-CAN program. “Take any job until you find your dream job. Pride won't buy you bread”, said the content creator Pilipinas. Come on girls, we can start from small - and even make a difference there -and ultimately if what you do is aligned to your goals and values you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll grow ! Give it a try!

Biggest constraints you may face

Education/Skills and Experience are what institutions are looking for when they review your applications, and preferable in the field you would like to explore. But don’t worry if you don’t have these yet, transferable skills are skills you can use in different contexts and across sectors. So don’t hesitate to emphasize on everything you’ve learnt so far ! For sure, finances can

also be one of the greatest constraints that

prevents us from pursuing higher education. In that case, I recommend you to list all the options and opportunities you could find to get you closer to your goals. There are free courses online you can follow to learn about the subjects that interest you like edx, coursera or udemy, UN free courses. Are there any scholarship programmes you could apply to? Any funded programmes you could join? Can you find a person that inspires you, you could spend time with and learn from?  Next is experience, you know what? “When you have a dozen requirements for a job, male candidates will look at them and say: ‘I can do half of those, so I’ll just learn the other half.” If women can’t tick every single box, they won’t apply.” said Sue Vinnicombe, a professor of women and leadership in Cranfield School of Management’s Gender, Leadership and Inclusion Center, in a study by Raconteur (2023). Keep in mind that we do internships not only to work but also to learn skills and  get the experience we need for our professional development, it is a learning experience!. So even if you don’t tick all the boxes, and  you think that you can do it, go for it! Try your luck, look at what you are good at, you have a lot to offer! 

In addition, supporters and mentors are also one of the catalysts to guide you in finding and accessing the career path that inspires you. They can also be someone to turn to, whenever you’re feeling down or facing some doubts. They will be there for you! 

Being a leader in a community, or being the leader of our own lives can bring a lot

of questions, challenges and it is only natural that sometimes, you will doubt yourself.  “There is a lot of pressure being outstanding, unique or different.” said Mrs. Sou Jolyda in the Wildcats' interview. Whoever you are, explore, try, make mistakes, try again and get better. If you keep an open mind and trust yourself, you will find the right path for you.

What if we have a lot of Women leaders?

Having diverse boards of leaders brings more chances for stronger solutions to our society’s problems because it brings fresher ideas. This helps avoid getting stuck in the same way of thinking and it fosters innovation and creativity. As a result, by putting women in leadership positions, organizations can improve both their work environment and their performance. 

McKinsey & Company discovers companies with gender-diverse executive teams are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability. Additionally, companies with more women on boards see a 42% higher return on sales and 66% higher return on invested capital. A study by Raconteur, a blog from Oxford Leadership also found that Women leaders empower the next generation of women by showing them what is possible. This inspires more women to step into leadership roles themselves. It is a reminder that their voice and contributions matter. By valuing diversity at the top, companies don't just win in the marketplace, they help create a fairer and more inclusive society for everyone.

About Author

Moun Liza

Campaign and Research Intern

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