What Women Leaders "Shouldn't" Want [Infographics]

What Christian Women Leaders "Shouldn't" Want [Infographics]

Boston area Christian women leaders report that access to supportive networks — spaces for life-giving connection — is vital for healthy life balance. Our data reveal that there is a support gap for many of these leaders.

But more troubling is the discovery of a cultural validation gap, where women leaders know what support they need, but their culture is telling them that strong leaders “shouldn’t” need that kind of support.

The infographics below capture these support and cultural validation gaps.

The first infographic captures the negative lens, answering: What kinds of support are these women perceiving their culture saying healthy leaders “shouldn’t” need?

 

What Leaders “Shouldn't” Need

Boston-area Christian women leaders were asked what cultural messages they heard that hinder their healthy life balance. The above represents what women reported hearing that strong leaders should not need or want. Word size represents frequency of mention, ranging from 1 to 6 mentions. Data taken from the 2016 Woven Consultation on Christian Women in Leadership, 104 respondents.

The second graphic captures the positive lens — this is the ask from Christian women leaders: What kind of support would help women leaders toward healthy life balance? Notice the substantial overlap between the disregarded/forbidden kinds of support in the first graphic and the desired kinds of life-giving connection in the second.

 

What Christian Women Leaders Want More of

Boston-area Christian women leaders were asked what would help them move towards healthy life balance. The above represents what life-giving interactions they reported wanting or needing more of. Word size corresponds to number of mentions, ranging from 1 to 11 mentions. Data from 2016 Woven Consultation on Christian Women in Leadership, 104 respondents.

The final graph tallies these same requests for life-giving connections by category, which may suggest a relative weight of urgency or felt need. 

Boston-area Christian women leaders were asked what would help them move towards healthy life balance. The above represents categories of life-giving interactions in their responses. Bar length represents number of mentions in that category, ranging from 1 to 39 mentions. Data from 2016 Woven Consultation on Christian Women in Leadership, 104 respondents.

By far the most requested kinds of support fell into the category of “grace spaces” — opportunities to be transparent, accepted and not judged. Christian women leaders would value more opportunities to be open about their weaknesses, their doubts, and their failures without concern for undermining their effectiveness as a leader. 

The second most requested kind of support included encouragement and strategies related to gender-based challenges.

Perhaps in connection to both of the top two concerns, women also craved the opportunity to share stories with other Christian women leaders — including stories of failure and redemption. 

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