Posted by: brittanybishop11 | January 17, 2013

Leadership is both a difficult topic and an easy topic to discuss. We are constantly exposed to various forms of leadership in our everyday lives which makes it simultaneously highly complex and very accessible. On the day to day level women are very integrated into leadership and gender becomes an obsolete identity piece in determining the effectiveness of individual leaders. Other traits such as integrity and productivity seem to be more important to our perception of everyday leaders such as teachers or small business owners. However, in the world of high-stakes leadership such as politics or large businesses, gender becomes way more visible when women occupy the leadership roles. It is simply not as common for a woman to be a CEO or a senator or many other high-level leadership roles. In order for gender to become more invisible in evaluation or recognition of higher-level leaders, it first must become a topic of frequent discussion. Clearly in the everyday lower-level positions of leadership, gender doesn’t have any factor in how effective a leader is determined to be so what changes at the higher levels? Is it because of social and family roles that women are facing? Is it a matter of expectation? Are women just not as qualified or ambitious? Only once the facts behind why women do not as often occupy high level positions of leadership are discussed can steps be made to bring women and men onto more even footing and make gender obsolete in leadership on all levels.

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Responses

  1. I completely agree,. Women are making tremendous strides in the many lower-level fields of leadership. The Ted Talk video last class, however, illustrates what the real problem is. This is a problem of visibility. Even though woman are expanding in those fields, it is invisible to the cultural psyche of America. We need more woman in CEO positions, Congressional, Representational, and Presidential Offices, and directorial posts. Unfortunately, the numbers, focusing on CEO’s, has stagnated. This needs to change if woman want to burst onto the scene. They can fill up every lower-level position if they want, it does not matter. The public only focuses collectively on leaders who have a chair on the “big stage”. To make culture-transforming changes, woman need to get more seats on that stage, to make themselves more known nationally and internationally.

  2. Those are awesome questions. I think the missing link in your answer is the media, whether it is social paparrazi or political media. The people at the top of the ladder get more attention, whether they want it or not. Americans seem fascinated with those who have achieved what the majority has not, so the public encourages the media to expose the lifestyle, leadership style and identity of the CEOs and politicians.
    Based on that missing link, I think it is important to ask, are individual women willing to allow that exposure? I personally am not. It’s scary thinking about all that attention focusing on me; I would have anxiety attacks at ridiculous numbers. So, can women, who are aware of that invasion of privacy, be truly willing to allow it?


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