Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

It's easy for an alpha female to bear the negative label of "intimidating." The line between being respected as someone who stands up for her beliefs and being called a bitch is so fine you can't even walk it in a stiletto. However, women have natural advantages when it comes to leadership, and in many ways, outperform men.

In 2012, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman looked at over 7,000 360-degree performance reviews, which revealed female leaders outranked male leaders in nearly every one of 16 leadership competencies.Yet men are more likely to occupy C-suite positions. A study conducted by the University at Buffalo School of Management found that women still struggle to be placed in leadership positions. "We found showing sensitivity and concern for others — stereotypically feminine traits — made someone less likely to be seen as a leader," Emily Grijalva, who was on the research team, said. "However, it's those same characteristics that make leaders effective. Thus, because of this unconscious bias against communal traits, organizations may unintentionally select the wrong people for leadership roles, choosing individuals who are loud and confident but lack the ability to support their followers' development and success."

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When Aimee Allison was 14, her mother took her to see civil rights leader Jesse Jackson speak — and something changed in her.

Growing up black and biracial in a predominantly white community, Allison regularly experienced incidents of racism. And while she worked hard in school and wanted to someday attend college, it was hard to imagine herself as a leader. After all, she hadn't seen anyone in government who looked like her.

But listening to Jackson changed her whole idea of what her future could entail.

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12-year-old Julianne Speyer was attending a Fourth of July parade in Chesterland, Ohio, when something caught her ear.

Speyer heard a parade announcer introduce the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in very different — and sexist — ways. The young resident of nearby Russell Township then described the experience in a letter published on July 19 in the Geauga County Maple Leaf newspaper.

"My name is Julianne Speyer," her letter began. "I am 12 years old and I would like to inform you of how offended and disappointed I am by the announcer of the Chesterland 4th of July parade's comment about the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts."

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A South L.A. school is paving the way for more green spaces in underserved communities.

This L.A. school garden isn't just growing fresh fruits and veggies — they're also growing the leaders of tomorrow.

In South Los Angeles, there is a 1.5-acre lot filled with bountiful garden beds growing everything from collard greens to kumquats.

On a crisp day in sunny L.A., students from all walks of life are tending to the fresh fruits and colorful veggies. Some are watering newly planted seedlings, while others are gathering jalapeños and kale for the freshest taco ever.

All images via GAP, used with permission.

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