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Women leaders
09 Feb, 2023

Women Leaders

Equity. Diversity. Inclusivity.

Today, many companies are seeing the advantages of diversity in teams by providing more attention and opportunities to people from different cultural backgrounds and increasing the number of women leaders.

A diverse team brings different perspectives, opinions, and a wide range of skills resulting in more new and creative ideas. Diversity and inclusivity attract highly skilled workers from different backgrounds and employees feel happier and more productive when collaborated with.

Apple Inc.

'The most innovative company must also be the most diverse. We take a holistic view of diversity… that includes the varied perspectives of our employees….because we know new ideas come from diverse ways of seeing things'


Here are statistics that prove that diversity and inclusivity are good for business.

diversity in business infographic


Improving gender equality and advancing women to leadership roles have been discussed endlessly, and gradual improvements have been made.

More women are being elected to legislatures around the world with women holding over 20% of ministerial positions. The emergence of more female leaders has led to better economic and societal changes.

According to the Global Gender gap report (2020) by the World Economic Forum, in countries such as France and Norway, more than 40% of their board of directors have female representation. In Australia, almost 30% of the board of directors have women.

However, advancement in equality is still too slow due to barriers such as gender bias and inflexible workplace practices. According to the National Tribune, it will take another 286 years to close the gender gap.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency reports that women comprise of only:

  • 19.4% of CEOs
  • 32.5% of management positions
  • 33% of board members and
  • 18% of board chairs.


Although the numbers may not look encouraging, there are in fact many successful and inspiring women leaders.

Melanie Perkins (CEO and Co-Founder of Canva), Amy Hood (CFO of Microsoft), Mary Barra (CEO of General Motors), and Christine Largarde (president of the European Central Bank) just to name a few.

Women business leaders encourage other women that change is possible and that leadership roles are no longer out of reach.

Julia Boorstin, author of the book When Women Lead, interviewed over 100 women leaders and learned 4 main traits that make them successful:

1. Empathy

To see things from another person’s perspective is vital. Good leaders understand the situations their customers and employees face and are truthful and authentic. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, people needed leaders who were empathetic and compassionate not just rational.

Jessica Kahl believes a key skill in leaders is compassion. She says “without care of the people you employ and work with, nothing will ever really get done. When you put people first, your purpose and profit will follow through”.

2. Vulnerable

Successful leaders acknowledge that they do not know everything, nor can they do everything. They ask questions, invite input from others, and delegate.

3. Look for an additional purpose

Besides reaching financial targets, good leaders pursue other goals such as social justice or environmental causes.

4. Lead in a communal way

Good leaders bring in perspectives from across their organisation and do not make decisions in isolation. They foster collaboration and promote open communication.

Laurie McGraw, Senior VP of Health Solutions in the US, stated in her TEDx talk, that there are 3 things women need to move up the leadership ladder.

1. More confidence

You need to develop an ability to take more risks, be more decisive, and have greater self-esteem.

Anja Christoffersen, an award-winning disability advocate and founder of Champion Health Agency and KBS graduate says, “we need to be confident in ourselves, and we need to realise when we need to call out”.

2. To ask for what you want

Instead of wishing or hoping, ask for what you need for career development with the person who can provide it.

3. More mentors

Successful women must empower other women to produce change. Your mentor is someone you can build trust with and have vulnerable but important conversations with.


Do you want to be a leader and mentor who wants to change working environments to be diverse and inclusive? Do you want to inspire women and minorities of the next generation that they can achieve success?

Sonia Di Mezza is currently studying our MBA with a specialisation in Women in Leadership. Sonia is currently the CEO of Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services and has been a human rights lawyer for over 25 years. She has managed human rights projects in Pakistan and Sudan, worked for the UN in Lebanon, advocated for child rights in India, and worked as a refugee lawyer representing asylum seekers in Australia.

Sonia is passionate about building up culturally diverse women’s capacity to lead as well as work to uphold the human rights of women to lead lives of equality and non-discrimination.

Sonia Di Mezza

'My studies at KBS have greatly helped me to appreciate the women who have gone before me in history to fight for women's rights, so that I am able to enjoy my current role as CEO.

Studying the Women in Leadership specialisation has reinforced the importance of supporting younger women and women who may struggle to enjoy their human rights, to be able to pursue career and study choices, as well as to fulfil their life goals.

I have acquired greater knowledge and capability as a leader, to become a CEO with strong leadership skills, who can bring other women along on the journey.'

Our MBA with a specialisation in Women in Leadership is for those who recognise that organisations characterised by diversity have proven to be far more successful than organisations defined by uniformity. You will learn how to shift an organisation’s culture into one that values fairness and equity.

Find out more about our MBA at Kaplan Business School.

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