What great news to hear that Nicola Sturgeon is to become the leader of the Scottish National Party. When she is formally announced as leader of the party on the 14th November, she will simultaneously become the first female First Minister of Scotland.
Scotland has an interesting time ahead following its decision to remain part of the UK, which is why having women in top leadership positions such as this can only be a positive move. All eyes will be on Sturgeon and others over the coming months and her ability to be seen as a credible thought leader will be thoroughly put to the test.
Thought Leaders, or people who are known amongst others for their innovative ways of thinking and their individual ways of promoting those thoughts, are more important today than ever, but it is usually a role taken up by men. In this day in age, where women are open to equal opportunities to men, I am becoming increasingly aware that there is a gender balance happening, which is evident in the growing number of women coming into politics. But there is still some way to go.
In my experience, being remembered is the key to being a successful thought leader and it just so happens that men tend to be better at promoting themselves - but so are bold, opinionated women. So for things like who gets remembered, and who stands out and appears to be unique it doesn't matter if they are male or female. That said, there are very few women that spring to mind when considering true thought leaders. We still live in a very male dominated society even though there are plenty of women with real skills and determination to make it to the top.
So, why the gap between women being given equal opportunities and real life examples of women leading the way? It has a lot to do with cultural factors. Women are brought up not to boast about themselves and to play down their strengths. This does not serve them well when competing in a business environment, especially with outspoken men who, at times, play up their strengths.
Women are supposedly such good communicators, so perhaps this is why women tend to publish their ideas in the form of a book. Women business leaders certainly know as much and have as much knowledge and wisdom as their male counterparts; they just don't always take that next step and share it widely.
Men will begin to face fiercer competition, as women like Sturgeon begin to fight their way to the top. Women will still have their work cut out though, as they've got a lot of ground to cover to get up to the same representation as men and they'll have to work twice as hard to prove they are up to the jobs. But it certainly won't be easy for those men currently holding the top positions! Watch out David Cameron!