Leadership involves working with, working for and working through people. A leader will always need social acceptance. Being approved by subordinates, peers, and superiors is essential for leaders to discharge their roles effectively. Hence how others perceive a leader can impact the effectiveness of their positions, says this article on Linkedin. Gender has always played a significant role in how people view and evaluate their leaders.

Popular discussions on leadership have always debated if men are more competent leaders than women. Whether we talk of excellent or middle-level management, incompetent managers have been those that have the inadequate functional knowledge, insufficient skills and lack of proper judgment to motivate, direct and handle their team and produce results. Today’s leadership scenario across any sector calls for greater diversity as well as inclusiveness demanded by the needs of cultural transformation and this will require time and humility. The most critical requirements of leadership are well-defined, measurable and practical long-term goals.

Why are women underrepresented in the leadership domain?

For a long time in history, there exists an invisible career barricade forced by sexist stereotypes. The three descriptions applied to women in management are they are uninterested; they are not that capable, and they cannot break the glass ceiling. Such perceptions have prevented a large number of women from representing themselves for higher ranks especially in the engineering and technical sectors. People have been made to believe for so long that men are better leaders than women since we tend to mistake the act of parading confidence as a sign of competence

Andrew Raymond, Head of Redline Executive comments, “For a woman to succeed in this massively male-dominated environment speak volumes about their character and resilience. Women often have to work twice as hard to achieve half as much, and that the effort has to be applied constantly throughout their careers is an imbalance created by the male ego that I would be the first to applaud an end to.”

The rays of hope and change

The recent campaign titled ‘The 50 Women in engineering campaign’ highlighted and recognized the accomplishments of influential women in the engineering and technology sector. Such attacks aim at raising the women profiles in engineering, and they want women to enter into more senior positions in the engineering domain. These efforts also spot high achievers, and these women are made visible to the young generation of professionals. 

Women as CEOs

Though women are underrepresented as managers and CEOs, there is no scientific or social evidence to prove that women lack leadership capabilities. Today there are 22 women as presidents or prime ministers in different parts of the globe. A good number of women executives are functioning as the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. For quite some time, women have been breaking the ground in the business sector here is an overview of 5 incredibly exciting and inspiring women who are the highest paid CEOs in the world.

Irene Rosenfeld (Chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods)

Kraft Foods holds an enviable position as the second-largest food company in the world. Irene Rosenfeld has been heading the operations of this company for decades. Becoming the CEO of Kraft Foods in 2006, she has moved the company to an altogether new level by effectively replacing AIG on the Dow Jones Industrial followed by purchasing the British brand Cadbury in a transaction worth 10 billion pounds. At present, her annual compensation is $19.3 million.

Carol M. Meyrowitz (President and CEO of The TJX Companies) –

Today’s retail industry is described as a platform for economical options for shoppers to buy everything from apparels to household items. This would not have become a reality but for Carol Meyrowitz. Taking over the TJX as the CEO in the year 2007 she has steered business of TJ Maxx to make a profit of about $21 million in trading Home Goods. She is paid an annual compensation of $17.4 million. Way back, she humbly started her career as an assistant buyer at Saks and has now moved to one of the most desirable positions in the world through sheer hard work.

Indra Nooyi (Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo)

Indra Nooyi joined PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) in 1994 and gradually ascended to the position of the President by 2001. Some of her notable achievements in business include Tropicana acquisition in 1998 and acquiring Quaker Oats in 2001. Today, PepsiCo today has Gatorade, and a wide range of tasty and healthy foods line to offer the customers. She is paid an annual salary of $16.2 million, and since 2001, she could show a 72% increase in the company’s profits. In 2011, Forbes recognized her as the world’s fourth most powerful woman.

Ellen Kullman (Chairman and CEO of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company)

Ellen Kullman joined Kullman joined DuPont in 1988 as the marketing manager and eventually became the president in 2008 finally becoming the CEO in 2009. Under her able leadership, she could lead the company from just oil-based chemicals to some technology offerings like green energy and biotech. She is paid an annual compensation of $14.8 million. She also made DuPont make $1.75 billion profits besides $26 billion in revenue.

Angela Braly (Chairman, President, and CEO of WellPoint)

Angela Braly is a highly renowned name in the healthcare industry sector. WellPoint is widely recognized as BlueCross BlueShield, and a majority of Americans own a BlueCross card for managing health-related issues. Braly rose to the position of the CEO in 2007, and the company’s revenue shot up to $60 billion in 2010. She could create the best healthcare unit by turning it affordable for all.