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The highs and lows of being a female CEO

One would be hard pressed to find a female CEO in Pakistan, in a country where most of the time working women are seen as an anomaly the occasional CEO is seen as an even bigger aberration. The occasional woman who does end up on the top of a very male dominated food chain is subject to many types of difficulties. It’s however not all that bad! While there are some downsides to being a female CEO there are some great upsides as well.

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The Lows
•You are labelled as too aggressive and to be PMS-ing if you are hard on someone or too soft because you’re a women if you decide to be nice. Whatever the reason maybe and whatever you do the reason for anything you do starts and ends with your gender. The worst part about this is that even female employees tend to have the same attitude towards female CEO’s. An aunt who was a General Manager at a telecom company once told me about how she had overheard some female employees gossiping about how she was probably at ‘that time of the month’ after she had put down some shoddy work given to her by them.

•Men often schedule meetings just to ‘get to know’ you. A woman in any position will most definitely be subject to such attention, but female CEO’s often end up losing a lot of time because of unproductive meetings which are unintentionally set up with such clients.

•Similarly hiring employees can get tricky as well, if you want to lure some prospective talent from another firm you might be subject to some unsavoury advances as they suggest ‘alternate ways’ for you to get them on you personnel list.

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The Highs
•Men are often more prone to helping you out if you are a female CEO. Sometimes there are fellow female CEO’s who want to help out other women get their businesses up and running. Similarly it’s easier to get investment as well. In Pakistan there are NGO’s and special funds which are allocated to help women shape business ideas into reality.

•Fundraising is much easier for women; people are more willing to help women involved in such initiatives.

•Female CEO’s end up creating more opportunities for women, it’s easier for women to connect with women so you recognize the right person for your job easily. You just might be the one to give someone really talented an upward push in their career.

Like anything and everything else being a female CEO is all about the attitude. Think about being on top in positive terms and you will surely make a positive difference. But keep thinking about being on top as a difficulty; because of all the unwanted attention and you’ll create trouble. In Pakistan a lot of women are afraid of taking the lead because of the problems that being in power brings, however it is your attitude that determines what kind of impact you’ll have on others and the job will have on you. Think positive and surely everything will push you towards greatness. Don’t let the fear hold you back.

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