Gender Differences in Leadership

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Topics: Leadership
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



References: Covey, S. R. (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, NY: Free Press. Quinn, R. E. (1996). Deep Change: Discovering the leader within. San Francisco, CA: A Wiley Imprint Bowles & McGinn, 2005. Why the best man for the job is a woman. New York: HarperCollins Heilman, M.E (2001). Description and prescription: How gender stereotypes prevent women’s ascent up the organizational ladder Babcock, L., & Laschever, S. (2003). Women don’t ask: Negotiation and the gender divide Eagly, A.H., & Carli, L.L.(2007). Through the labyrinth: The truth about how women become leaders: Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Hewlett, S. A.(2002). Creating a life: Professional women and a quest for children. New York: Talk Miramax Nieva, V.E., & Gutek, B.A(1981) Women and work: A psychological perspective.

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