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Women in Leadership in Wales

Zuzanna Komosinska
Zuzanna Komosinska

In our developed society, we no longer frown upon women being CEOs, fixing cars or leading a country. Women have equal rights to men, equal education and equal representation in politics. However, do we agree that the challenges women face while in leadership positions are unequal to men? Bierema, in her journal Women’s Leadership: Troubling Notions of the “Ideal” (Male) Leader, admits that challenges multiply for women who aspire to lead. 

The biggest obstacle for women to secure leadership positions will definitely be gender bias. The challenges that women may face in leadership positions, including unconscious bias and the glass ceiling. In politics, we can see that women try to fit in with the populistic “white men in suits” environment while playing tough, “iron” or unchallenged leaders and trying to distance themself from a female perspective. Female leaders in the government set a powerful example by placing a strong emphasis on economic and financial concerns. Thus, women try to show to the public they are as capable of doing “male” jobs as men but lose the group’s orientated agenda they came from. Advocating for vital female issues such as public safety, abortion rights, and LGBTQ+ equality is fading away in their campaigning.

The problem is women, while entering a leading role, need to please many and are expected to fit in previously dominated male fields.

As we know, since gender quotas came into life, most public institutes need to hire an equal amount of representatives of different social groups. But, there needs to be more guidelines about leadership positions within an organisation.  

Since Mark Drakeford, the First Minister, announced that he is stepping back, many wondered who will take his leadership position. Welsh Labour has never had a female leader. Out of 4 parties in Senedd, only Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats had an official female leader since 1999.

In the past 24 years in Senedd, out of 19 leaders of the current four parties, only 3 women were appointed leaders.

Over the 24 years Senedd has only seen three women in leadership out of the total of 19 leadership positions available. Moreover, there has never been a female First Minister in Wales. 

Is it because female Senedd Members lack in popularity or opportunities? 

Eluned Morgan, the Minister for Health and Social Services, represents areas that are tough to lead, especially during the world Covid-19 pandemic and the NHS Wales waiting time increase. However, as opposed to economics, this field is of female interest, which shows Minister is not districting herself from a female perspective. Unfortunately, bad press over the years nearly destroyed her chances of becoming Labour Leader and, therefore, the First Minister. The Welsh Labour has other female Ministers who could step in and compete for this position, but it seems unlikely they will. 

There is, however, a chance for Senedd to have more female leaders in the future, looking at the current parties members, and I wish them all the good luck in the field which refused us entry for so long. 

Hopefully future Senedd elections will give a chance for more female leaders and I wish them all a good luck in the field which refused us entry for so long.


For a bird's eye view.
Am olwg oddi uchod.

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