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Women and Leadership: Defining 21st Century Progress

Women and Leadership: Defining 21st Century Progress

In these unprecedented times, men and women alike are in need of developing the necessary skills to navigate the complexities of the 21st century. The Athena Doctrine, written by John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio conducted research of 64,000 people in 13 countries identified the traits that people thought were most important for leadership, success, happiness and morality.

“We live in a world that’s increasingly social, interdependent and transparent …. Women—and the men who can think like them—are creating a future we’ll all want to inhabit.” — excerpt from The Athena Doctrine

With respect to research, there is a strong consensus that interpersonal skills more commonly associated with women, such as high levels of emotional intelligence, are key to transformational leadership. These traits include empathy, expressiveness, the ability to plan for future outcomes, as well as being flexible and collaborative. The research also demonstrates that these traits are the underpinning of organizational change management, career mobility, and personal fulfillment.

Today, the Athena Doctrine’s findings continue to echo in our public discourse. Over the past year, you may have seen the revival t-shirts and graffiti announcing “The Future is Female.” In the wake of the divisive U.S. presidential election, male coworkers at the education and staffing company General Assembly donned t-shirts with the slogan to show support for women leaders and colleagues. Shortly after the historic Women’s March, surprise speaker Hillary Clinton, kicked off the MAKERS conference by video with the slogan and conference attendees erupted in cheers.

Photo: Monica Singh, November 15, 2016, via Facebook.


Vista Leadership Academy’s 6-month program is designed to develop many of the same traits identified in The Athena Doctrine research. Regardless of gender, the Academy brings together socially minded leaders to align their personal values, purpose, and career. Our online classes explore topics of empathy, collaboration, and design thinking. Each participant leaves the Academy with an individual action plan that harnesses these tenets of 21st century progress.

Are you looking to build your capacity to make a difference in your work and personal life? Apply to Vista Leadership Academy and start your journey to creating a future we all want to share.

Feature Photo: “The Future is Female” graffiti in Copenhagen, Denmark, via Imgur.

This article originally appeared in the Vista Leadership Academy blog.

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