What unique difficulties do female group leaders face? How may they overcome these difficulties?
Many factors can have an impact on making the leadership role a challenge for women. The biggest obstacle to overcome is that of not being perceived as deserving of the position. The stigma has been perpetrated by our culture, through media, that women get leadership roles through unethical means and that they truly are not qualified or deserving of the position. Women also face the challenge of group members respecting their leadership. Much of this will depend on the make-up of the group. A group of all women may not see a woman leader as a problem but they may also feel like, "Why not me?" A woman leading a group with men as members may face similar issues in that men may not respond to a women leader and wonder "What makes her deserve to be leader?"
All of these factors could be potential problems for any minority leader. Whether women, young people, or other races the best way to overcome the challenges is to go out and prove you deserve the position of leader. Working hard, respecting group members, and not taking the issues personally will all contribute to developing an understanding in the group that you deserve to be the leader.
I have working in many situations in which I worked for a women leader and have never had issue with it because of them being women. The only time I have had any issue with a woman leader is when they are obviously not qualified and leading poorly.