A leader is a person whose capacity to manage develops, therefore, expanding his or her influence, and making him or her role model to others; this places him or her in the best position to unleash the potential of others as they conquer their own challenges (Trimm, 2015). With his or her ability to lead, he or she steps up to oversee and decide on what actions to take. According to Kase (2017), “great leaders are great decision makers”; they understand and manage their emotions by being reasonable and objective in making decisions that positively impact themselves, and everyone around them. Additionally, Maxwell (2018) expressed that “leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” Empowering people is more powerful than commanding them to move towards a common goal. With these statements, a leader can simply be defined as a person who is rational in making decision, and is capable of implementing these decisions in such a way that would empower other to people to reach a common goal. As human beings gifted with reason and will, everyone, regardless of race and sex, have the capacity to think, to decide, and to act accordingly. Also, humans are social beings who belong to interpersonal relationships, and can communicate, relate, and empower others. While some abilities are innate in everyone, some have insufficiencies with these abilities. While there are people considered as ‘born to be a leader’ and are naturally gifted with the aforementioned skills, others have ‘disabilities’ or stereotyped as incapable of taking leadership positions. They are ‘inferior’ in the avenue of leadership; however, they can be leaders, too, by improving their leadership skills. Bradley (n.d.) once said, “leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better” (as cited in Trimm, 2015). While some leaders are born, some leaders are made. This was supported in an article which says:
History is full of people who, while having no previous leadership experience, have stepped to the fore in crisis situations and persuaded others to follow their suggested course of action. They possessed traits and qualities that helped them to step into roles of leadership (Ward, 2018).
Therefore, everyone is capable of being leaders. When the need arises, anyone, with his or her capacity to think and express, can step up and be a leader because “life complications strengthen [one’s] character, bolster [his or her] credibility, and build [his or her] capacity” (Trimm, 2015).
Although everyone is capable of being leaders, sexism still paved its way to leadership. Setlhodi (2018) defined sexism as “a belief in the superiority of one sex over another, prejudicing, and/or discriminating against them and leading to attitudes that foster social role stereotypes based on sex.” Stereotypes that produced socially expected gender roles are considered to be a major cause of sexism (Setlhodi, 2018). In the past, these stereotypes resulted to a traditional belief that a leader must possess “typical masculine characteristics” such as competitiveness, aggressiveness, toughness, and successfulness (Kirchler, 1992). Furthermore, it was enumerated that male managers are “intelligent, knowledgeable, experienced, outstanding instructors, unselfish opinion-leaders with an enviable entrepreneurial spirit”. Leadership, therefore, was considered to be an avenue only for men, while women don’t occupy such positions. In 1974 and 1980, women were described as “adorable, likeable superior” (Kirchler, 1992), without mentioning anything about their competence and skills. Setlhodi (2018) explained that “such labeling borders on discriminatory perceptions and leads to unequal treatment of women and men whereby women are subjected to sexist discriminatory attitudes.” The oversimplified understanding about men and women and their capabilities resulted to an unequal and biased positioning of men and women in the society, corporations, and even in politics. In Korea, the existence of women was only based on their ability to reproduce, and thus contributing to social ‘self-perpetuation’; wherefore, they had no social responsibility, punishments, and benefits (Jiyoung Suh, 2013). These women have no socio-political responsibilities and were deprived of their rights to vote, and an opportunity to occupy a leading position. Furthermore, in the Philippine context, presidents who led the country are consecutively males. Even though there are two female presidents who led the country, Philippines was led dominantly by men. The disparity is made even more even more evident in religion, specifically in the Roman Catholic. The pope, together with the other bishops, leads the whole Church, while the sisters are in convents or in their mission areas, doing the ‘feminine’ roles. These instances reflect the inferiority of women in the context of leadership and management.