Women, Leadership, And Power
Women are increasingly sought out and encouraged to assume leadership positions in many walks of life, from business to community organizations to politics. While some call for further changes towards greater equality, others raise cautions about erasing any gender distinctions in an attempt to “make everything the same.” This conversation is designed to draw out your own experiences with women in leadership, how you understand the idea of power, and where we go from here.
Background Information:Questions from this guide are also featured on our Let’s Talk About Women conversational buffet of questions. You can also watch a recorded conversation using that PDF resource on our LRC Live page.Additional guides you may be interested in include Women and their Bodies, Women in Society, and Women and Political Leadership.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Women, Leadership, And Power (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- What does power look like or feel like? How do you understand power in relationship to women?
- What obstacles to power have you experienced or witnessed? Was gender a factor?
- What leadership qualities and requirements do you understand to be inherent to a certain gender? Where do those ideas come from?
- What examples of female leadership did you grow up with? Who were your female role models?
- What would a society that values women in leadership and power look like? What hopes and concerns come up for you thinking about that society?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?