Oxford Saïd's new online women’s development programme will give women the confidence and capability to progress their leadership ambitions
The Oxford Women’s Leadership Development Programme has been developed using insights from a study of women CEOs by Oxford Saïd academics (Athanasopoulou, Moss-Cowan, Smets, & Morris, 2018). Joining our advanced on-campus Women Transforming Leadership Programme in the open programmes portfolio, this programme addresses the challenge posted by research which suggests an essential first step for aspiring women leaders is the self-acceptance of their leadership ambitions and potential from the outset.
Subsequent research by the team has found that almost half of female leaders interviewed do not immediately see themselves as leaders and only accept their leadership potential when prompted by an external trigger – such as other people saying they have leadership capability.
‘Women are rarely invited to go on leadership journeys. Some also suffer from what is known as "impostor syndrome" which means they don’t believe that they deserve success. That’s why it’s critical for them to take active ownership of their career, ideally early on,’ says Andromachi Athanasopoulou, Associate Fellow at Oxford Saïd and Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Queen Mary University of London. ‘Women need firstly to self-accept that they have leadership potential, which means believing in their imagined future as a leader.’
The study of female CEOs highlighted many of the barriers that women must overcome in order to pursue their leadership ambitions. It suggests that in order to be successful, women need to accept the work-life compromises that they will have to make and improve their resilience to overcome both personal and work barriers.