Posted by: anniesheahulcher | January 29, 2015

Are we increasing the gap?

In this article a few quotes that really stood out to me were:

“New research shows that mentioning the gender bias can actually increase discrimination against women.”

“Perhaps we are worrying about the metric that’s hard to change, when there’s a more powerful metric that is also much easier to change.”

“Grant has shown that generous people are often more successful. But it’s worth being really deliberate.”

This article was incredibly interesting to me because it took a turn that I wasn’t expecting. While discussing women and leadership and how women aren’t in leadership roles, etc., it began discussing the generosity of women and the important role this plays within their leadership – a facet I hadn’t even thought about previously. The example was brought up that if women are generous, they will suggest other women to be leaders and the wealth will then spread.

I also thought it was really quite interesting of the idea that discussing the gender gap makes it worse. While we have been in class discussing all of these ideas and everything related to women and leadership, it’s hard to become incredibly self conscious about how I behave in leadership positions, and find myself trying to compensate for what I am supposedly “lacking”. I am really quite interested in the idea of women leading women and how that generosity spreads.

With our guest speaker last class, I had to wonder what the difference is between leading men and women. We talk so much about leaders, but not so much about the followers. He discussed how leading women is different from leading men, but what about women leading women. As an active member and leader of my sorority, I sometimes find myself appealing to different aspects of that group differently than if I was speaking to a co-ed group. I’m more bubbly and definitely more “girly”, and it’s funny because those two things are never things I considered myself.

But, as a woman leader, I do find that generosity from other women is often really well received on my end, even in the smallest things. Receiving from another women connects us on an emotional basis and also initiates a common understanding and respect – aspects I’m sure men feel, but of course I can’t speak on behalf of men.


  1. I thought this was all quite interesting as well and I have never thought of the generosity of leaders and that applying to women being leaders. This class has been so gendered so far that as I read the article, I kept thinking of how certain statements seemed to play into stereotypes. Before I got to the end of the article, I was wondering if tying generosity to women leaders was only because women are usually seen as a warmer and more nurturing presence, stereo-typically. In class we talked about women being communal and I wonder if the generosity piece would go hand in hand with this aspect that women are thought to obtain. It is a neat idea that if women are the most generous, then that will draw in more women to support them and become leaders as well and then this can start a cycle of women in leadership. As we saw in one of the videos in class of the 20 women Senators, the women seemed to stick together even though they were from different political parties and had some differing opinions. This may be a start of a cycle to appeal to the country as well as to other women. As I have been talking, I still feel as though I am keeping this heavily focused on women, which makes me think back to the article about how talking about the subject may just “lead to more discrimination.” I do not have answers for this actually does lead to more discrimination, but I wish it was something that could be figured out. I feel that it may just be too confusing to make a solid claim, and I do not know how men feel about the subject and it they would see any of this any differently.

  2. I can identify with what you are saying about leading differently in a co-ed group than in an all-female group. I find myself being more polite and less demanding when I am leading a co-ed group but when I am leading a female group I am more assertive and confident. (Which I think is backwards from what you said but nonetheless we still change our leadership styles depending on the genders we are leading.)
    A quote I found interesting from the article is: “So maybe we should think not about how many women on are speaking, but about which women are speaking” (Scott 2015). I agree with this statement, and I feel like the concept of quota for women in the market place/politics is not always the most benefitial. The article also suggests that those types of women that are leading should be generous so that they will hopefully inspire and connect with other women. Instead of focusing on more numbers for women, we need to focus on inspiring and teaching women to be the best version of themselves. If that leads to high leadership positions, then so be it, if it does not, then that is acceptable as well.

  3. I think it is interesting that they speak about the fact that talking about gender stereotypes would increase the likelihood of them being implemented or giving them credibility. I don’t believe that talking about stereotypes increases the likelihood of them happening. speaking about stereotypes makes people aware. I have noticed so many stereotypes in so many different areas of my life. I have noticed them in commercials, movies, and my own interactions. This hasn’t made me scared of them, this has made me deisre to push against them. Secondly, I think that it would be interesting to start thinking of generosity as a strength in leadership. It is too often synonymous with being weak or not being able to make a concise decision. If this idea were to be shifted, this would also change the stereotype that men must be firm and unfeeling.

  4. I really thought the point was interesting about how discussing the gender gap might actually make it worse. I believe heavily in the power of suggestion. Call me naive, but I didn’t really see a whole lot of gender bias until I started to take this course and began to be on the lookout for it. Now I find myself expecting to encounter some sort of gender bias throughout my day. Not sure if this is good or bad.
    Is there actually not as big of a gap as we make it out to be? Sometimes it seems as though the more I talk about how others don’t think that I as a woman will be successful, the more that idea is ingrained in my head and the more energy I give to the possibility that my gender will define me as a leader. Similarly, I am not insecure about something until someone suggests that insecurity is a possibility.

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