Social construction of leadership is strongly associated with males and masculine traits, thus leads to contradicting view of power and femininity. Though people argue that women should be empowered and should lead the world, they are reluctant to give women the opportunities to become leaders. Two reasons can be stated as the reason for this invisibility of female leaders in our communities. Firstly, gender norms and stereotypes that are the greatest barriers to overcome. Secondly, women themselves are not ready to take responsibilities in mixed sex group activities. Same sex female groups or organizations, such as girls’ college, girls’ universities, are socially friendly for female leaders. In addition, women’s leaderships are warmly welcomed when an organization or institution works for women, such as women rights organizations, domestic violence NGOs, and community organizations that focus of childcare. Therefore, though women are educated and economically empowered, their leadership roles are closely tied with gender norms activities.
Generally, young women never took a leadership role in these clubs as well as the members are not ready to give a higher position to a female member. In those community based clubs and organizations, leaders are selected in fair democratic ways, and an invisible hand plays a role in selecting male members for the highest position, such as president, and female members for vice president and secretary. As young women always know that they will not be selected for the highest position, they normally do not stand as the president candidate. This situation clearly explains the above mentioned two reasons, society’s unwillingness to select a female leader, and female members’ reluctance to take leadership roles in mixed group activities. I strongly believe this situation should be changed, and woman should become leaders not only in unisex groups, but also in community level clubs and groups.
This situation can be counter argued by pointing out Sri Lanka’s political history of having world first female Prime Minister, Mrs. Srimavo Bandaranayakka. I do accept and be proud to say that we have a strong political history of having first female prime minister and the only female president in Sri Lanka’s political history. Political analyzes indicate that Mrs. Srimavo Bandaranayakka got the position just from sympathy votes, after her husband’s murder. No one knows the truth and do not spend more on this, as people related to these incidents are no more. Similarly her daughter becomes Sri Lankan’s first female president, but people attributed her victory to her mother’s political influence. Also, even after her presidential period, she has been blamed for fueling the ethnic war, than solving it. This incident in our political history clearly illustrates that though females are selected for highest leadership roles, their talents are attributed to social circumstances or sympathy than their talents. Therefore, except women associations and organization, gender norms and stereotypes have a greater impact on shaping women leaders.