Luton Lights Essay Writing Competition - Winning Essays

**Women of the Future Free Ticket Award Winner**

Wurood Camp // MEng Chemical Engineering student at the University of Sheffield

Loughborough, UK //22 years Old

The lack of female leaders in industry has been apparent for decades. With the various ‘Female Leadership’ initiatives that have increased in popularity over recent decades – progression for women to leadership roles is still slow and there is still considerable room for improvement. I feel that particular efforts should be made to promote female leaders in the STEM sector as we are not only lacking a gender diverse leadership panel, but we are also lacking a true representation of the diverse gender roles that play a part in the progress of STEM globally.

I believe there is an endless list of reasons why our world needs more female leaders, and in the following paragraphs I will be explaining my reasons.

Firstly, allowing more females leaders in the workplace promotes corporate diversity; and in particular gender diversity. This offers an oasis of knowledge in the workplace; as it allows for innovation, different perspectives and creativity. The ability to have different perspectives in a team has been proven to work to improve problem solving skills and overall team performance. So in turn, allowing for corporate gender diversity will also increase team productivity and career satisfaction.

In addition to this, more female leaders not only allows for a better representation of the workforce – but it also allows for female leaders to act as role models and a form of inspiration to the younger female generation. Representation is vital to the success and progression of women in industry. Without representation, younger women starting out in their careers may lack confidence and experience ‘imposter syndrome’; giving them the inability to believe that their success has been genuinely achieved as a result of their own skills, knowledge and experiences.

The importance of representation in industry cannot be stressed enough. From first-hand experience, being a coloured female in the STEM industry, I wholly understand the impact that representation of female leaders in industry has had on me. To this present day – we not only lack female leaders in industry, but we also lack a diverse ethnic representation of female leaders. So the ability to move forward and promote more female leaders allows for progress towards this gender and ethnic diversity goal.

By improving the statistical figure of females in industry, we are able to allow females to overcome barriers and unlock their true potential. Women should feel that there are no limits when it comes to achievements, and by allowing women to gain leadership roles they not only have the ability to gain a seat at the ‘metaphorical’ roundtable – but they can quite literally be the one to lead that ‘roundtable’.

Furthermore, by promoting female leadership – we are demonstrating to the younger generation that they can also be independent and strive to be the best version of themselves. It allows younger females to see the possibilities of what they can achieve and allows them to gain mentors and role models. It also helps to tackle cultural norms about the societal fit of girls – and prove to them that they can go out and become the best versions of themselves with no boundaries.

Overall, I feel that the list of reasons why I think there should be more female leaders is endless. It is truly a topic that I enjoy discussing; and that I enjoy being able to see progress in. The female role models and female mentors I have had in previous years, have had a huge impact on my passion for STEM and my desire to improve the leadership skills of younger females. I believe it all starts with representation; once we are wholly able to allow for a gender diverse leadership panel – we are able to combat societal norms and make way for more female leaders!

**iPad Prize Winner**

Olajumoke Owoyemi // Student at Bosworth Independent College

Northampton, UK // 15 Years Old

Women are strongly underrepresented in prominent leadership roles. This causes a lot of segregation, inequality and discrimination because of the lack of strong-willed females leaders in the society. The number of female leaders occupying leadership roles has grown drastically over the past five years. However, there is still a long way to go.

There should be more female leaders for the need for variety and diversity.  For example, having more female candidates running for political offices provides the Mass with a larger choice and reason to exercise their right, and to vote for candidates of their choice. This could help to increase political participation in the world. Business-wise, having females in leadership roles in an organisation could serve as a factor of motivation for female subordinate workers. It could give them more confidence and joy at the workplace, which makes them more hard-working and increases chances of promotion. 

Secondly, there should be more female leaders because it would defy the odds. Only 23% out of the prominent world leaders are women. In Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first female head of state ever elected democratically. From 2006-2018, she worked tirelessly to promote peace and reconciliation in Liberia. Due to her admirable effort, Sirleaf and two other women aptly named Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women, and women’s rights to full participation in peacebuilding work.” (from the Nobel peace prize 2011 press release). Sirleaf and these two other women serve as a great example of female leaders who have disregarded the odds and served as a huge impact in Liberia and Yemen while promoting world peace.

Furthermore, I believe that women tend to be more emotionally intelligent, which polishes their leadership skills nicely. They collaborate with other people; learning their views and feelings about particular situations and proffering solutions. Because women are more emotionally intelligent, they tend to understand the opinions of others better, which would help them to be more considerate and proffer solutions to the benefit of a greater multitude.

Also, having more female leaders bring sexism at the workplace and in politics to a minimal level. It would possibly help in changing the mentality of people who think women do not portray the appropriate and necessary qualities of great leaders. It would also prevent discrimination and promote equality among sexes in the workplace, politics and the community at large.

In conclusion, women are powerful, intelligent and knowledgeable. There are a lot of women like Sirleaf who can do even more for the world which is why more females should be given the benefit of the doubt, and be provided with space and opportunity to help. I strongly believe that there would be more avoidable mishaps with female leaders, which is why it should be strongly considered to have more of these incredibly knowledgeable women as world leaders.

Dunola Oladapo