Posted by: ginalazenby | February 28, 2014

The power of female political role models

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I loved this photo when I spotted it on the front page  … three outstanding women leaders who have smashed three glass ceilings …. Christine Lagarde is the first female Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Quentin Bryce is the first female Governor General of Australia, and Dr Janet Yellen is the very recently appointed first female head of the US Federal Reserve, the world’s most influential financial institution.

The historic photograph was made even more pertinent to me as I am staying in an apartment round the corner. I probably saw and heard their helicopter fly in and land! Pity there was no opportunity for me to grab a selfie with one of them!

Just after seeing the photo in the Sydney Morning Herald and the article about Ms Lagarde’s outstanding performance here,   I read about some research which said that looking at photos of female role models actually had a positive effect on the confidence and performance of women. Swiss students making persuasive speeches, some with a photo of leaders like Hillary Clinton within sight, some without. The girls with the role model in view were scored higher, rated themselves higher and spoke for significantly longer (as long as the males). There was no difference for the male students, with or without a photo.

Great! Well feast your eyes on these three amazing women – wonderful examples of female accomplishment, grace and leadership.

Simply looking at images of successful women leaders improves our confidence and leadership abilities. This goes beyond the notion of “what you cannot see, you cannot strive for” .. as it seems to give a boost to performance.

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