Pursuit for leadership among the female population in Arab countries has not been an easy task since time immemorial. Despite the many advantages that are attached to female leadership, many Arabian countries are still reluctant to appreciate female candidates in political positions and KSA is not an exception. For obvious religious reasons, Muslims are divided in their interpretation of the legitimacy of having a female leader; some believe that female leadership is highly bound by religion (Al-lamky, 2007). Religion is, however, only one of the hurdles that women have to jump in their triumph over leadership positions. On the other side of the coin, women have been linked to several advantages when in leadership positions but this is not realized without social change amongst a society.
KSA has for a long time entrusted key positions to the male generation and maybe that is why it seems difficult for majority its citizens to appreciate women leaders easily. Another identifiable problem that can be attributed to this finding is that many women among the Arab community continue to suffer under leadership of their men counterparts; most of them prefer to keep the problems they have to themselves since it is at times embarrassing to them to raise issues like rape in court given that courts do not acknowledge their issues as exceptional.
According to Northouse & Northouse (2008), people who still think that women cannot lead are still living in the past. Women have increased in numbers in both political and corporate positions and effective women leaders are quite a good number. Women have been proven to be successful in business and this is one of the key fields that a president needs to be competent since the economy behind the president is fairly a business aspect. In this regard, women are less vulnerable to use of might to drive business premises or the country at large; this advantage enables women to manage business using mind power which is the most important approach in business.
Eagly (2003) says that another advantage of women is that women win more public trust than their men counterparts; in Arabian communities, women are better accepted as judges compared to their men counterparts. In an era whereby issues of injustice, corruption and character are very important to the public, women would be better leaders or managers of big institutions or a country’s economy. Furthermore, KSA women would be freer with a woman president when searching for justice since she is in a better position to understand their suffering as opposed to a man president. Female issues are special and if the fight against gender discrimination is to succeed in KSA, a woman judge would be a great deal as opposed to electing a male president who will hardly change the current situation.
Another reason as to why a woman would be a better president in KSA is that women unlike men would hardly base politics on illicit political connections that their male counterparts always use. When it comes to political backup and political financing, a female president may have an obvious disadvantage that may in turn woo genuine support from members of the public (Foschi, 2000).
It has been proven that women are more committed to political positions as compared to their male counterparts. Though in developed societies female and male leadership seldom shows a significant difference, in societies where the behavior is regulated by social roles, there are significant differences. For example, women leadership is said to be more autonomous or participative compared to men leadership.
However, there is an assortment of setbacks of having a woman as a president of KSA. Firstly, the woman is not likely to get the due respect that should be given to a president due to religious reasons and this might have significant effects on her impact in the public domain. According to Levy & Mudhol (2008), women are more likely to be devalued compared to their male counterparts. Since KSA is a society whose opinions are men-dominated, a woman president can have obvious disadvantages since she is more likely to be belittled by men working with her both in parliament and in various presidential offices.
Closely related to the aforementioned advantage is discrimination and chauvinism usually directed to female leaders. Rather than some people looking at her performance and character, they might engage themselves into unjust evaluations of the job she is undertaking. Not many citizens believe that a member of a certain stereotyped group can possess abilities or characteristics that are different from other members of her group. These facts will undoubtedly have a negative impact on national building in one way or the other and hence will be detrimental to KSA’s economy.
Women are also linked to emotional manipulations of various laws and political decisions; a woman president would therefore have to face the challenge of proving that she is any different from past examples of women in political positions (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002). Members of the public would want to entrust KSA on somebody who makes paramount decisions based on values and not emotions. Lastly, women may not be able to make tough decisions. According to Wessinger (1993) women are considered to be soft leaders and this may be disadvantageous given that the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces.
KSA is a society where women are highly restricted to a specified line of social and religious roles. However, this hardly has anything to do with the stereotypes that women are not capable of being good political leaders. Though there are many allegations citing the weakness of a female president, nothing would be better for KSA than a president who is professional, trustworthy, just and committed which is the true reflection of women candidates.