Gender, Hierarchy and Leadership

Powerful Essays
Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 57, No. 4, 2001, pp. 629–636

Gender, Hierarchy, and Leadership: An Introduction
Linda L. Carli*
Wellesley College

Alice H. Eagly
Northwestern University

Although women’s status has improved remarkably in the 20th century in many societies, women continue to lack access to power and leadership compared with men. This issue reviews research and theory concerning women’s leadership. The articles included in the issue provide evidence of bias in the evaluation of women, discuss effects of gender stereotypes on women’s influence and leadership behaviors, and evaluate strategies for change. This introductory article provides a brief summary of changes in women’s status and power in employment and education and the absence of change at the upper echelons of power in organizations. Also included is an outline of the contributions of the other articles in the issue.
It is an exciting period for scholars who study how gender affects leadership:
The presence of greater numbers of women in positions of power has produced new opportunities to observe female leaders along with male leaders. There has been an increase in the numbers of women in positions of public leadership, including highly visible positions. Of course, focusing on women who occupy such leadership positions should not cause us to forget that women have always exercised leadership, particularly in families and throughout communities. However, until recently, women were extremely rare in major positions of public leadership. Now women are in a small minority in such roles, but present. Political leadership illustrates this trend: In history only 42 women have ever served as presidents or prime ministers, and 25 of those have come to office in the 1990s (Adler, 1999). Almost all of the women who have attained top positions in corporations around the world have done so in the 1990s.
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Linda



References: Adler, N. J. (1999). Global leaders: Women of influence. In G. Powell (Ed.), Handbook of gender & work (pp Catalyst. (2000). Census of women corporate officers and top earners. New York: Catalyst. Center for the American Woman and Politics. (2001). Fact sheet [On-line]. New Brunswick, NJ: Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University Dobbs, M. (1999, May 2). Becoming Madeline Albright. Washington Post Magazine, p. W11. Gallup, G., Jr. (1995). The Gallup poll. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources. Morgan, F. B. (2001). Degrees and other awards conferred by Title IV participating, degree-granting institutions: 1997–98 [On-line] A practical judicial eye; O’Connor deserves one more first—Ms. Chief Justice. (2000, June 12). The Arizona Republic, p Ragins, B. R., Townsend, B., & Mattis, M. (1998). Gender gap in the executive suite: CEOs and female executives report on breaking the glass ceiling Rhode, D. (2001). The unfinished agenda: Women and the legal profession. Chicago: American Bar Association, Commission on Women in the Profession. U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2000). Current population reports: Educational attainment in the United States: March 2000 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (1982). Labor force statistics derived from the current population survey: A databook (Vol. 1). Bulletin 2096. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2001a). Annual average tables from the January 2001 issue of Employment and Earnings U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2001). Digest of educational statistics [On-line]

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