Golda Meir Quote-based Shabbat Elective

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Posted by Emily M

    Program HostChapter
    Host Region and ChapterSouth Jersey
    Ohev BBG
    Program TypeMind / Body / Attitude (MBA)
    Women's Issues
    Time RequiredAny length
    Target Population(s)Girls (BBG)
    People Participating30-60

    Program Summary:

    Well-known for her strength as a female AND Jewish leader, Golda Meir can relate to any one of these programs and discussions.

    Full Description:

    “I never did anything alone. Whatever was accomplished in this country was accomplished collectively.” -Golda Meir

    Focus on team work. Have the girls break up into groups based on chapters. Each can decorate a puzzle piece about them, with their leadership qualities, someone they admire, something they stand up for, etc. Put all of the pieces together to see a bigger picture: the potential that they have if they all work together. From a BBYO perspective, no chapter is run by one person, if you are not the only person at your events, someone else cares. You may need to encourage them, but your resources are there, it is up to you to act as a catalyst and together you can make a dramatic difference, not only in BBYO, but in the world around you.

    “To be successful, a woman has to be much better at her job than a man.” -Golda Meir

    “Whether women are better than men I cannot say - but I can say they are certainly no worse.” -Golda Meir

    People have many different opinions on the differences between male and female leadership work ethic. Have the girls split into 5 groups as they chose, and have those groups create bullet points enforcing the topic that their group will present.

    The first group could be “No Difference (between male and female leaders).” In some instances, there may be no perceived differences at all in leadership styles between men and women. In other cases, people may perceive men and women to act differently based on their own socially constructed conceptions of gender. This group should discuss differences having more to do with personality aptitudes and gender stereotypes than with actual differences in leadership due to gender.

    The second group could be “Differences Solely Based on Work Setting” In some settings, men and women may be equally effective leaders, but there are also settings in which males or females clearly seem to outperform each other. They do so in their own gender dominated settings. Often, women are seen as leaders in industries that represent women's interests, such as health and education. They are not as likely as men to be recognized for their leadership talents in math or science related fields. In settings that are female-dominated, women succeed and take on more of a mentoring role with employees. Males are viewed as stronger leaders in roles that require more "command and control," such as the military or criminal justice.

    The third group could be “Positive Reinforcement.” Typically, female bosses reward good job performance more frequently than their male counterparts. Contrary to the male bosses who are viewed as more critical in nature, female leaders take on a nurturing role, coaching their employees and increasing their self-esteem. Women are more likely to spark creativity and promote personal and professional development among their employees.

    The fourth group could be “Democracy.” Generally, women are perceived as more democratic leaders. Their styles involve a sharing of information and promotion of cooperative learning. Women also share the power with their employees, enabling them to see and believe that their opinions matter. They have strong interpersonal and relational skills that make them seem empathic and effective to their staffs. They are expected to smile and be considerate as well as open to negotiation.

    Lastly, we could have a “competition” group. Male leaders represent the notion of rugged individuality and conform to the ideals of masculinity in the workplace. They are autocratic, focused on directing performance and finding solutions by considering wins and losses. Their competitive nature can make them appear less hands-on and approachable, though they often epitomize a calm, cool demeanor. Males are seen as formal authorities and are often on the top of the corporate ladder in industries dominated by highly educated women. How do women compare?

    Allow for an open-discussion, having each group speak specifically on their area of leadership. The overall point should be that these are all factors for women in leadership positions, and these factors apply to men as well. Though there are differences in male and female leadership qualities, we can not let comparisons to males effect of hinder our own potential.

    “To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don't be.” -Golda Meir

    You can’t accomplish anything until you decide what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Favorite quote from an Avett Brothers song- “Decide what to be and go be it.” Simply, defining your goals is the first step in reaching them. Have the girls imagine their Life ceremony. What do they want to be able to say they have accomplished in BBYO? Through self-reflection, have them prioritize the steps they want to take to accomplish their goals. (“Steps” not referring to board positions, but rather “increasing the quality of programming in my chapter” or “creating a strong sense of sisterhood” etc.)

    “Not being beautiful was the true blessing. Not being beautiful forced me to develop my inner resources. The pretty girl has a handicap to overcome.” -Golda Meir

    Inner beauty is most important in becoming a strong leader. Strong leaders boost other’s self esteem. Any MBA program can relate to this, if you need one let me know! Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a great resource for anything MBA.

    Discussion Topics

    The Stereotypes of Female Leaders
    Most men seem to feel more comfortable around women with a more traditionally female-style: a woman who smiles and mediates discord, a woman who will back off and never come off too strong in an argument, even if her point remains vague, or a woman who will show her sensitivity and seem to empathize with everyone’s feelings in spite of not getting the job done. (Possibly incorporate Hillary Clinton contrasting these qualities, or Obama seeming to fit these qualities- or personally, how you and Jeremy compare to these stereotypes).

    The Role of Women in Leadership Positions
    Golda Meir became known as a female leader in a different time (early-mid 1900’s). Discuss how the role of women in general has changed since that time period, the ways in which it is now easier or more difficult to be recognized as a female leader.

    Goal Defining
    Have the girls go around and say their goal for the current term, and the first step they will take in making it happen.

    Current Female Role Models/Leaders
    Female leaders do not necessarily have to have a title, a leader could be anyone sitting in the room who sticks up for what they believe in. Have the girls talk about someone they admire for their ambitions to make a change.

    How to be a Female Leader
    (Speak from personal experiences). A strong woman in power will maximize her position, asserting herself in the key issues, addressing them at the core and yet, she will be aware and connected with her audience, listening to their stories, empathizing with their challenges, and proposing the commitment to help them out in every possible way. After all, for all of us looking up to them, all we want is someone who will take care of business, focusing their time in resolving issues rather than in trying to destroy their opponent, someone who knows both because of thorough knowledge and experience and someone who cares. Great leaders, both male and female, will connect in this way to get things done.

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