45 Female Leadership Panel Discussion Questions

I recently wrote a blog with 45 potential leadership panel questions and was subsequently challenged to write about female leadership panel discussion questions! So, without being redundant to my previous blog posting, I’ll share my top 45 potential leadership panel questions specifically directed toward the female leadership experience. I suggest you look at both lists to provide some inspiration as you develop your own list of female leadership panel discussion questions.

Female Leadership Panel Discussion Questions
Generally speaking, I like to follow this flow to sequence the questions from strategic to tactical:

Strategic Female Leadership Panel Questions:

  1. Describe your leadership style and how you “lead” others. Is it different from your male counterparts?
  2. Who inspired you to be a leader and why?
  3. When you began your career many years ago, did you ever imagine that you would have a leadership role in this profession/organization?
  4. What motivated you to step up and become a leader in the organization?
  5. What factors impact a woman’s ability to lead others?
  6. Is it better to create leadership initiatives for both men and women to help raise awareness of the issue?


  1. What are the benefits to having women in leadership?
  2. What benefits have you received from your leadership experiences?
  3. How can we calculate the positive impacts of having women in the organization?
  4. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
  5. What has been the most significant barrier in your career?
  6. Why aren’t there more female leaders?
  7. Have you been in a leadership position where you were treated differently than your colleagues? Better or worse?
  8. What’s the most dangerous behavior/trait that you have seen derail female leaders’ careers?

Female Leadership Panel Questions that Beg for Specifics:

  1. Do you experience resistance when you are leading men?  How do you deal with it?
  2. How can women “work across the divides” of opinions?
  3. How can I be powerful without alienating people or upsetting them? What if people are unhappy?
  4. How can women navigate power structures?
  5. How did you navigate power structures EARLY in your career versus LATER in your career when you had a more formal leadership role?
  6. How do you push for systemic change around ideas that are new or not that popular?
  7. Have you ever felt the imposter syndrome, and if so how did you navigate your way through it?
  8. Have you ever been afraid on the job?
  9. Do women in your profession have a hard time getting promoted?
  10. What is the best way to negotiate salary and scope of work?
  11. Have you ever been so discouraged you wanted to quit?
  12. How do you encourage women to not give up?
  13. How have you built confidence and/or resiliency over the course of your career?
  14. How do you balance career, personal life and passions? Is there such a thing as balance?
  15. What are the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself?
  16. How can we include women leaders that are moms and balance their time?
  17. How can women develop their leadership skills?
  18. How important is it to have a mentor to grow as a leader?
  19. What are some steps to build that type of relationship?
  20. Who was/is your role model and/or leadership mentor?
  21. How do I go about getting a mentor?
  22. How can women support other women in their organizations?
  23. What strategies can work well to promote inclusion in the workplace?
  24. As a leader, how do you stay mindful of who’s at the table and who’s missing?
  25. How can we stop gender bias?
  26. What can be done if the issue doesn’t come from managers, but instead the issue isn’t even recognized or there is bias from the top – such as the CEO?
  27. Do different business sectors have greater gender diversity/women in leadership and why do you think that is so?

Questions about Application to the Audience:

  1. What advice do you have for women looking to grow either their own business or within the company they work for?
  2. What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
  3. What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
  4. What advice would you give to young women entering this profession/organization?

A big thank you to Dave SloanStratx-Exl, and Chance for inspiration in building this list of great questions for any kind of leadership panel discussion!

By Erin Wheeler
Erin Wheeler Career Consultant