Gender Differences in Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Gender, Gender role Pages: 5 (1807 words) Published: December 3, 2012
Gender Differences in Leadership
Gender stereotypes are very resistant to change. They demonstrate stereotypic beliefs about the attributes of men and women. “The stereotype of men is more similar to stereotype of leaders,” (Eagly, 2007). Because of that women are not seen as “tough enough” or having “what it takes” to perform at the top level. Men’s stereotype characteristics are confidence, assertiveness, independence, rationalization, and decisiveness, whereas women’s are concern for others, sensitivity, nurturance, helpfulness and warmth (Deaux & Kate, 1993; Heilman, 2001). It is evident from research that people think “male” when they think “leader”, they always see assertive, dominant behavior as typical amongst leaders, and find it atypical and unattractive in women. Studies of female and male leaders (Eagly, Makhijani, Klonsky, 1992) revealed that when women demonstrate competent leadership within a clearly masculine arena—they are disliked, disparaged and devalued. Women state that they do not feel listened to, or when they speak in meetings their comments and suggestions are ignored or belittled, and that the same suggestions from men have more impact. I don’t have a traditionally female way of speaking…I’m quite assertive. If I didn’t speak the way I do, I wouldn’t have been seen as a leader. But my way of speaking may have grated on people who were not used to hearing it from a woman. It was the right way for a leader to speak but it wasn’t the right way for a woman to speak. It goes against type. Kim Campbell (prime minister of Canada)1993 Many studies have been undertaken to find out why women are still in a distinct minority when it comes to the top jobs. The important factors is that majority of women see themselves more as followers than as leaders, and consider themselves as less innovative and strategic. Women are less likely than man to promote themselves for leadership positions (Bowels & McGinn, 2005). Women pay more attention to people-related issues and quality performance, whereas men more concerned about effective control of emotions and an extraverted attitude toward their environment. When women act as leaders, using typically men’s characteristics, they are perceived as being tough, because they act against the female icon profile that has been developed by society. If they act like women in their leadership style, they are perceived as being inefficient and passive leaders, since typically male personality traits are perceived as more effective leadership characteristics. One gender difference that favors men in leadership, is that men are more likely than women to ask for what they want (Babcock & Laschever, 2003). Negotiation and self-promotion are considered being two of the important factors for reaching the elite level positions and to break through the glass ceiling. The Glass Ceiling

“The Glass Ceiling” refers to an invisible barrier which prevents women or any other minority suitable for the position to reach the next level within the hierarchy of an organization. Number of women in the lower-level and middle-level management and administrative positions significantly increased in the past 40 years, but in the corporate C-sector level there is only 15-16%, and according to research this number has not changed since 2002. About 17% percent of women serve in Senate, 16.8% holding seats in the House. It looks like not many women can find a way to break through the “glass ceiling” into higher leadership positions, or there are many obstacles on the way that we need to overcome. Hillary Clinton recently put “18 million cracks” in the presidential glass ceiling and Nancy Pelosi made history becoming the first female speaker of the House (center for American Women and Politics, 2009). There is recent evidence on increasing involvement of men in the childcare and housework (Eagly & Carli, 2007). Many organizations beginning to change the view on women leaders and it makes easier for them...
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