Inspiration for Women Overcoming Stigma to Become Leaders

Inspiration for Women Overcoming Stigma to Become Leaders 2100 945 Maxima


Inspiration for Women Overcoming Stigma to Become Leaders

21 April 2024 | by Maxima

The Struggle of Women in Overcoming Stigma and Becoming Leaders, Inspired by R.A. Kartini. To this day, women face various obstacles such as gender bias and unequal power dynamics. R.A. Kartini has become a symbol of emancipation, advocating for education and gender equality. Through education and skills programs, women are encouraged to overcome these barriers.

To this day, women in the workforce continue to battle the stigma associated with their roles, particularly when aspiring to become leaders. This stigma includes assumptions that women are less suited for leadership roles and are better off in supportive positions. This situation is often referred to as the glass ceiling, an invisible barrier that hinders women’s career advancement.

On the path to career success, women frequently encounter complex challenges, from gender bias to unequal power dynamics. Issues such as menstrual leave, pregnancy, and maternity leave are often viewed through a prejudiced lens, unfairly affecting recruitment and promotion processes. Additionally, there is stigma surrounding women’s approaches to conflict resolution in the workplace, often deemed irrational. These factors collectively create a challenging environment for women to ascend to managerial levels, limiting their ability to fully realize their career potential.

Another significant challenge women face is finding the right balance between professional and family commitments. The reality of dual roles forces women to constantly navigate often conflicting expectations at work and home, demanding careful time management and prioritization strategies. Moreover, the limited resources compared to the need for a solid support system often add complexity to achieving a healthy balance between professional and personal life. Recognizing these barriers is a crucial first step in creating a more inclusive work environment that supports women’s advancement in leadership.

To address this issue, let’s explore how Raden Ayu Adipati Kartini Djojoadhiningrat, commonly known as R.A. Kartini, managed to combat stigma and create impactful transformations that we can benefit from today.

R.A. Kartini: A Symbol of Emancipation and Transformative Impact in Indonesia

In the narrative of women’s struggle in Indonesia, R.A. Kartini played a crucial role as a figure who not only broke down barriers but also created transformative changes through women’s emancipation. Her life story, filled with aspirations for education and gender equality, continues to inspire today.

A Brief Profile of R.A. Kartini

Born in Jepara, Central Java, on April 21, 1879, R.A. Kartini grew up in a conservative Javanese cultural environment where women were expected to follow strict traditions and customs. However, Kartini showed a strong interest and passion for education from a young age. Although she received formal education only until the age of 12 at the Europese Lagere School (ELS) to learn Dutch, she continued her self-study by reading various books and corresponding with friends in Europe to study the condition of women in different countries. This opened a new chapter that broadened Kartini’s view on women’s emancipation and the importance of education in striving for equality.

Kartini’s Transformative Steps Against Stigma

Inspired by her European friends’ way of thinking, Kartini was motivated to support indigenous women in rising from their low status. She understood that creating meaningful social change required broader access to education for women. Despite the limitations she faced, she gradually realized her concerns.

Kartini’s transformative steps began with small changes, such as not using feudal traditions within her family, allowing her younger siblings not to speak in high Javanese (krama inggil) to her. This change created a new perspective among the nobility. Her other transformative steps eventually led Kartini to establish the Kartini Schools as a support system.

Kartini’s Impact on Women and Education

Kartini established schools for girls in Jepara, teaching them skills and knowledge to help them achieve independence and dignity. The schools she founded became symbols of resistance and the beginning of social change. For Kartini, women’s education played a significant role in society, paving the way for broader positive changes in organizations and communities.

Through her letters, later published in the book “Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang” (Out of Darkness Comes Light), she expressed her aspirations and hopes for Indonesian women. This book not only inspired generations of women to demand their rights in education and social equality but also influenced the thinking of leaders and policymakers in Indonesia.

R.A. Kartini’s Messages

One of R.A. Kartini’s strongest messages was her belief in the power of education as a means of emancipation.

“I want to ‘go out’, I want to work, I want to stand beside my husband; I want to free myself from the chains that hold my steps,”

Kartini wrote in one of her letters. This message resonates through time, reminding us that the struggle for equality and justice continues. R.A. Kartini taught that starting from concerns about her surroundings, expanding references through learning and connections, and having the courage to dream and fight for those dreams are central to social change.

Overcoming Stigma: Becoming Women Leaders Who Create Change

Today, diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) are essential. Research by McKinsey shows that companies with good gender diversity in leadership positions have above-average profit opportunities. Thus, women’s leadership roles are not only symbolic but also a strategic need that defines the nation’s future. From R.A. Kartini’s struggle, we see how women leaders not only achieve personal success but also drive significant changes that benefit organizations and society.

R.A. Kartini’s inspiring story serves as a strong foundation to address the stigma faced by women. To play the role of a female leader in organizations or communities, it is important to be equipped with various skills necessary for leadership in professional and other fields.

Purpose-Driven Leadership

Purpose-driven leadership is one of the approaches Maxima uses to cultivate leadership qualities, where a leader understands and lives their unique purpose and makes positive impacts through their decisions. This concept emphasizes the exploration of a leader’s strong “why,” providing clear direction when navigating complex situations.

Assertive Communication: The Foundation of a Strong and Inclusive Team

Assertive communication is a key element for leaders in building strong and inclusive teams. Honest, firm, and open self-expression without judgment creates a conducive environment for constructive problem-solving. This allows teams to work more efficiently and innovatively, strengthening the sense of belonging among team members.

Creating a Support System

Initiating change is not effective if done alone. Collaboration with various parties is essential to ease the realization of change. Involving and gaining support from partners, household members, and building connections with female role models and peer women’s groups bring us a step closer to achieving success as female leaders.

By promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion, female leaders not only break down barriers but also pave the way for innovation, growth, and sustainable development. Maxima believes that every initiative, big or small, contributes to greater change. Together, we ensure that every woman has the opportunity to contribute, grow, and lead. Want to create an inclusive work environment? Find the solution with Maxima Impact Consulting.