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We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them. Continue shopping. Item s unavailable for purchase. Please review your cart. You can remove the unavailable item s now or we'll automatically remove it at Checkout. Remove FREE. Unavailable for purchase. Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping. Today, whether women are in rural areas or cities they play an important role in society. Snyder and Tadesse34 state that the post-colonial state has relegated them to the role of nurturers and narrowed their role in governances.
It is however, the unique feminine qualities that make women better leaders. Women in Africa can use the traditional values of womanhood to combat the patriarchal impositions and prejudices frequently levelled against them.
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Those who are for social justice will realise the importance of gender equality and women ability in leading organisations. Some of these are found in African traditional society. Act not like a man —women bring balance to the workplace. Have more skills than acknowledged, many skills needed for effective leadership can be found in good parenting.
Reflect and learn — people can learn a lot from their mistakes. Encourage other women. Care for people. Build networks and relationships — women should persevere cultural prejudices when trying to network. Respect others — have greater capacity for compromise when answers are not clear. Femininity in the traditional African village addresses these and these are part of the African discourse. The empowerment of women for leadership positions will be incomplete if it does not address these aspects of African feminism.
Apparently, women will be stronger when they utilise the various aspects of womanhood in leading organisations. In this African feminism theory, we see how mothering becomes a crucial factor in defining feminism. Management students will not fully understand leadership in Africa without understanding these dynamics of African feminism.
Shaped by African contexts, it will enable any scholar to understand the values that underpin leadership in African organisations. The traditional African society perceives women as decision-makers who are strong and creative thinkers and these are all qualities necessary for any organisational leadership. However, even this womanism, which embraces all black women in Africa and the diaspora, is inadequate for the concerns of women in Africa. It can be argued that African feminism is trying to achieve this.
Ebunoluwa39 captures this succinctly: Therefore an indigenous African on gender should involve a dialogue or accommodationist approach, a healthy appreciation of African cultures, a realistic and wholesome strategy devoid of unnecessary aggressiveness and the centralizing of family, marriage and motherland as positive experiences for African women based on the idea that we can diversify feminist theory to meet the specific needs of African females We should understand that although the emphasis on traditional culture illustrates how much we can learn from those cultures, there were ills that disadvantaged African women in society.
For example, women lacked access to aspects such as property. However, African feminist do not want to forsake tradition. Tradition imbues cultural memory, rich knowledge and spirituality They realise how culture can enrich society as customs and culture should do. They emphasise how different the role of mothers and fathers is in family institutions. And these roles manifest themselves in varying ways in organisations.
The values associated with motherhood have proven to be critical in organisations where women lead. Yet, the society tends to view mothering as an antithesis to leadership roles. The idea of motherhood and womanhood is seen as too soft for leading organisations. Lumby and Azaola42 contend: Parenting is more closely associated with mothers than fathers, and is assumed to prevent the long hours which indicate appropriate effort and loyalty.
Therefore, women, as actual or putative mothers, may be perceived as less of a match to the prototype of an ideal employee and particularly to that of a leader: women who wish to achieve and enact leadership roles must therefore contend with stepping outside the acceptable notion of what it is to be a women in order to match the leadership prototype. In doing so, they draw down disapproval for transgressing the boundaries of being women. However, the nurturing role of a mother in Africa can bring forth a number of lessons for women in leadership.
Even within their households, the mothers deal with several characters, not only from their children, but the children in extended family.
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The mother needs to create peaceable living among these children as well as in-laws. It is a skill to make sure that one manages these various characters. As the mothers manage their families, they inculcate the idea of sharing among members of the household. As mothers cook and feed families, they magnify the value of sharing among family members. The family and the village are also crucial in sharing motherhood duties, even when the mother is present.
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All these are crucial values in leadership today; shared leadership; participative leadership and understanding the different individuals within an organisation. The motherhood qualities can enhance leadership in organisations. All these can be understood within the realm of African feminism. Without the trap of oversimplifying the traditional society before colonisation but it is crucial to understand the role of women there. However, African feminism is an epistemology that seeks to clarify misunderstanding and fallacies that may be portrayed by Western feminist thought as well as the masculine biased theories characterising patriarchy.
Western feminist as well as patriarchal dispositions can be oppressive to African feminist thought. The idea of mothering briefly discussed above may be understood differently from the Western view of feminism. Again, these are factors and arguments that education leadership students should be aware of. Arndt43 points out that gender debates influenced by post-structuralism have given rise to an understanding of the dynamics and complexity of feminism. This author says this necessitates the society to speak of feminisms rather than feminism.
Randall44 declares that post-structural feminism underscores the contingent and discursive nature of all identities. The post-structuralist slant in African feminism is also crucial in explaining that the correct explanations come from our own interpretations and experiences.
As highlighted above, mothering qualities in leadership include caring, loving, protecting, providing and serving. Employees need managers who care for they will be understood. They need leaders who serve because they will feel respected. According to Mai Vu47 this is when the female leader: a.
Despite these disadvantages, mothering can be a boon to any organisation. It is this mothering quality gives women the ability be able to juggle a number of roles within leadership. Steady48 states that in her fieldwork in West Africa women leaders highlighted the need for female leadership. Many of these women maintained that leaders are born, not made. Meier50 points out how women leaders argue that managing children prepared them to be boss. Meier states that many women mentioned that motherhood and mothering is a training ground for leadership. The Business Journal51 also emphasises the role of mothering in leadership.
Women and leadership in West Africa : mothering the nation and humanizing the state
This publication states that mothers motivate their children to attain certain goals, missions and purposes around common values. Mothers do this every day without even being conscious that they are leading in the process. The next section focuses on how African women can use these qualities to lead effective organisations. Unfortunately, women in rural areas have less from a pool of role models. These challenges include convincing men in their community that they can be effective managers and that tribal authorities usually undermine their management, openly wishing that males should be managing the schools instead.
Lumby et al. Msila60 cites literature that shows that women tend to embrace qualities that are advantageous to transformational leadership. Msila61 cites Winkler as he writes: Winkler states that transformational leadership has four important factors and these are; charisma, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration…transformational leadership results in performance beyond expectations.
The implications here, some would argue, point to the fact that women are potentially better leaders than men in a time of change. Coleman62 also raises interesting arguments of how women principals can have positive aspects that they can use in management positions. In her study Giroux65 found that many teachers wanted a leader who is transformational and there were strong preferences for managers who had feminine traits. In the current times of constant educational changes, more people maintain that it is transformational leaders who will bring the necessary changes in schools.
The society does not perceive the change in workplace management preferences. The irony is that many women as evident in this study do not realise the need for women leadership qualities today. As pointed out above, women do not ascend easily in management positions. The workplace is seen as a terrain of the males. We usually associate effective leaders with male attributes such as independence, assertiveness and decisiveness Stereotypes, societal expectations and the patriarchal society culture are some of the aspects that ensure that women never progress to the helm of organisations.
Society needs to realise the dynamic organisation and diversity that women managers bring. The paradox in women management though, remains the point that when appointed to manage, many want to emulate their male counterparts. It appears that many are not aware that their femininity can be a boon to their organisations.
As they try to be male in their approach, they fail their schools. References 1 African women leaders N. Power and womanhood in Africa: An introductory evaluation. Journal of Pan African Studies, 3 6 : — Role of women in the growth of the traditional Igbi economy. IISTE 10 1 : 38— Women of Africa: Their role and position in society.