Why female leaders are a key to equality and mental health

In order to be successful, you have to perform. Here, we have one of the cornerstones upon which our modern Western society has been built. However, despite its importance to get things done, the constant urge to succeed hides a harsh truth.

Burnout. Depression. Cut-throat mentality. Health and mental problems are recurring side effects of success stories. They might not make the headlines as often, but they exist nonetheless. Particularly for men, this is perhaps not that obvious at a first glance. Following the long-standing traditions of a patriarchal society, they are expected to perform. Constantly. The pressure on men can be immense, and there is no outlet to let off steam. To admit feelings or allow moments of so-called "weakness". In short, emotions are considered as something which needs to be avoided to be successful. This attitude is highly toxic and needs to be changed.

I don't want to make such issues about men only. We know all too well that women suffer equally (and oftentimes even more) from terrible situations in their workplace and elsewhere. Mockery and lack of equality are a global problem that affects various groups and genders. If unchecked, it can lead to mobbing or harassment - or even worse problems. A quick glimpse at social media trends and viral hashtags of the past few years should tell you enough about the topic.

Gender roles are still based on very old and often rigid ideas. Thankfully, we have begun to address these traditions and to point out their questionable parts. In a business context in particular, problems such as wage inequality or micro-discriminations are rampant.

Female leadership figures can help to change these issues. Using the term "feminism" to voice misgivings in our society is still met with dismissal or even hate. However, feminism is not anti-men but pro-human. It is the idea of changing humanity for the better, excluding nobody. Challenging established ideas and outdated models creates innovation. New perspectives can open up fresh possibilities. Everyone, regardless of gender - or any other trait - can profit from such change. And likewise, everyone (especially people in privileged positions) should see what they can do to achieve this communal goal and help others. Working together. In the long run, gender should not be one of the criteria that defines a good leader. Capability, professionalism, and truthfulness are more important - no matter who you are.

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