Monday, March 3, 2008

When Women Lead Like, Well, Women...

Last week I put a page out to women's leadership researchers. And my friend Laura Sabbatini over at Catalyst helpfully responded, reminding that their July 2007 report, Double Bind: Damned If You Do, Doomed If You Don't, covers many of these issues. Writes Laura, "Think about the think-leader-think-male stereotype and how men are perceived as 'natural' leaders by default. Because men don't have to prove that they can lead, any 'communal'/feminine behavior is considered positively (that is, as an add on) when performed by a man, or definitely more positively than when it is performed by a woman." The report is available online.

Laura also sent along a few research articles that have "some good supporting evidence in terms of the same behavior being perceived as different when performed by a man or a woman." For those seeking to dig deeper, check out:

-"Role Congruity Theory of Prejudice Toward Female Leaders" by Alice H. Eagly and Steven J. Karau
-"Same Behavior, Different Consequences: Reactions to Men’s and Women’s Altruistic Citizenship Behavior" by Madeline E. Heilman and Julie J. Chen

J.K. Gayle sent along the following, to add to a discussion in which "feminized," when applied to Obama, becomes coded racially--and, suggests Dr. Helen, perhaps to mean socialism:

-Over at Rachel's Tavern - "Serious Question…for Everyone About Racial Double Standards"
-And at Dr. Helen - " Is Obama Feminized?"

I'd add that Patricia Williams has done some great writing on these topics in her column at The Nation. Def worth checking out.

(Thank you, as always, L and J.K.!)

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