Understanding Gender Roles Within the Paradigms of Being A CEO

By Jason Hennessey Jason Hennessey has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 14, 2022

It’s never been an easy road for women to adopt positions in leadership. The numbers adeptly describe the stark reality of inequalities that still prevail across western societies.

As recently as 1995, there were no female CEOs in the Fortune 500. As of 2020, this number reached an “all-time high” of 7.6 percent.

Women often face the conventional pressures of dual-responsibility: the caretaking role and having successful careers. They are often undermined for not being able to perform both tasks simultaneously, and efficiently, leading to a lot of internal pressure.

A Mckinsey report on Women in the Workplace showed that a disproportionate amount of women were impacted by the pandemic and that women were more likely to leave their jobs as opposed to their counterparts.

The reversing of gender norms is a double-edged sword. On one end, young women are encouraged to pursue careers in demanding fields ranging from medicine to business. However, in the process of playing catch up, women are expected to do much more to earn their place at the top. The scarcity factor can lead to competitive strifes between women in the workplace.

It’s more pertinent than ever for leaders, both male and female, to understand the paradigms within their own organizations. There is no clear-cut differentiation between how the genders perform in leadership roles. Instead, it’s about accepting that people are marginalized all the time, whether be actively or subconsciously, under the heavy structural barriers that have been engrained for centuries on end. 

Slowly, we begin to unravel these inequalities. However, a greater shift requires real change in the minds and hearts of everyday leaders.

Eliminating Barriers for More Workplace Equality

It’s a leader’s responsibility to cultivate a safe culture. One way of achieving this is by eliminating barriers that might inhibit people from meeting their full potential. For example, making the workplace diverse, inclusive, and collaborative, reduces the internal competition between team members which can create a toxic work environment and added stress.

photo credit: Lezly D’limi, with permission

No one deserves to feel marginalized because of their race, gender, or other personal choices. As someone who has created her own path despite early tribulations in life, Lezly D’limi, the CEO and founder of Talentko, asserts that “opportunities should not be discredited based on a person’s background.” She has firsthand experience of what it is like to be marginalized because of her gender and choices. With that, she seeks to abolish these constraints for her team at Talentko.

Developing Acute Awareness Within a Leader

How a leader shapes their communities, begins with having a keen awareness of their own beliefs. As it pertains to gender roles, we all have different experiences that shape our perceptions. Leaders should be mindful of treating their hires with fairness and not giving someone extra privilege or responsibility based on their gender but instead, reward based on performance.

To cultivate a safe workspace, leaders can form practices around ensuring that minority groups in the workplace are being heard and not feeling disadvantaged in any way. This requires leaders to remain open and curious about ways to improve conditions for people that feel marginalized.

Creating New Norms as a Female Leader

As a female business leader, you are bound to face adversity beyond the average entrepreneur. It’s important you’re able to distinguish your own voice as a leader, and not let anyone’s opinion of you hinder your trajectory. Part of this is addressing your own fears and self-doubt on your ability to lead.

In an interview with the CEO of Talentko, Lezly D’limi revealed the precise anxieties she experienced in boardroom meetings dominated by men. Instead of befalling into the same traps of self-doubt, she pivoted her attention to working on herself through neurolinguistic programming— identifying how her brain was wired to react to certain situations. Since then, she was able to reconcile the emotive part of her brain when interacting with controlling personalities.

By curtailing the people who use dismissive or commanding language towards you, you can enforce an environment that upholds democracy and equality around the table.

Leading with Empathy

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Women often feel the need to repress their natural tendencies and try to instead, mimic masculine traits. This is because they feel like it helps in their leadership to be more aggressive. 

Leading with empathy should not be the antonym for high standards and expectations; in fact, it can facilitate a positive and safe space for creativity and achievement to flourish. 

Talentko aims to be an inclusive and diverse workspace, where people’s input and mental health are valued.

As someone who deeply understands the value of healing and how it can facilitate better leadership, Lezly says, “we thought what tools and programs can we bring into the business to be able to support them, to change for the better— so ripples of change is what Talentko’s mission is”.


Disseminating the beliefs we have about gender roles in the workspace begins with developing greater self-awareness. Understanding the messaging, events, or circumstances that might have influenced our decision-making, or how we interact with others at work. Leaders that want to build a more inclusive workspace need to ensure they’re providing the right tools. These tools should help reduce some of the barriers that marginalized groups may face.

By Jason Hennessey Jason Hennessey has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Jason Hennessey is an entrepreneur, internationally-recognized SEO expert, author, speaker, podcast host, and business coach. Since 2001, Jason has been reverse-engineering the Google algorithm as a self-taught student and practitioner of SEO and search marketing.

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