Posted by: rachelchung14cnu | October 20, 2016

Family Culture and Leadership

The family has been the core to our society since the beginning of time. This is where I have found that the most direct influence comes from in regards to how each individual function in society. The family is the direct influence on society because this is where the individual is shaped by how they are raised. Specifically in the role between mother and father the responsibilities held by both parents can trickle into how we view men and women in leadership.

According to Psychology Today “Even the way a dad holds his baby – more commonly facing out than when mom does, hints at feeling his job might be different than hers; more of a ‘let’s see what the world has for us today’ than ‘I’ve got you safe and secure right here over my heart.” This research shows how the role of the mother and father are different. But the issues with taking advantage of these differences mothers tend to become stuck within the double bind especially as leaders when they are placed with more responsibilities in raising the children while also maintaining a flawless career. I believe the roles are different in parenting but that does not mean there should be more responsibility placed on one parent more than the other. Therefore the lack of shared responsibilities between the mother and father creates an unequal advantage for both parties.

In chapter 9 of Eagly and Carli “A study of Chicago lawyers showed that women were no less likely than men to begin their careers at large firms but more likely to leave these firms to for positions in the public sector or as counsels for corporations.” The culture of which our society has created has been based on putting all of the family pressure on the mother and child rearing. Because women are seen as more communal, the role of the mother is then pressured to fulfill the double bind. I believe there needs to be an equal sharing of responsibilities and the amount of time both fathers and mothers spend with their children. By placing equal responsibilities on both the father and mother the family dynamics will start to change. Then I believe there could be a huge societal change that permeates into the workforce. Through the recognition of equal distribution of responsibilities in parenting respect and flexibility can positively affect the way we as a society view women in leadership.

In regards to tempered radicalism this should be started in the dynamics of the family culture. Once the traditional norms are replaced with new norms that establish a sense of shared responsibilities and collaboration there will be no reason to discriminate or disrespect a women in leadership roles who for example have to take time off to take care of her newborn child. Because with more responsibilities being shared rather than being wholly placed on the woman there will be more flexibility in the work field and respect for women in high positions of authority who also take care of the family. This process of change through collaboration between mothers and fathers will be done by evolutionary terms and by working from within outward.


Psychology Today:

Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. L. (2007). Through the labyrinth: The truth about how women become leaders. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.


  1. Parenting styles and household responsible set a precedent for children that THIS is how families operate. The majority of the time, we repeat the actions of our families of origin since it is what we are comfortable with. Based on their observances, children will assume that men, women, or both sexes are leaders. My mother has consistently made her career a priority over homemaking. She took some maternity leave initially but staying home after the birth of her child for years was never on her radar. In our family, careers are very important and provide identity. Her continuing to work was our normal and both my parents were busy with their jobs. I respect her choices and would likely copy that decision if I ever have children. I feel empowered to pursue a career I love because my parents did the same.

  2. My mom made the decision to stay home with her kids, because she and my dad did not want another individuals raising their children. My mom struggled at first to adjust but after experiencing several life events with her children…i.e. us learning how to say our first word “no” she knew it was where she wanted to be. Sometime people asked what my mom did for a living and she would flat out say I’m a full time mom, taxi driver, and nurse. Women who choose not have careers are often underestimated, being a mom is hard and sometimes I wish other people realized just how hard it is. My mom believes that being a mom is a career, its different sure, but when your child is alive after 18,21, years, and you start to see their individual successes play out, its the most rewarding thing you can see

  3. Sometimes, I feel like truly understanding and taking a stance on the roles that men and women play in parenting can be very difficult. On the one hand I believe that responsibility should be split down the middle, in all aspects of child care and raising. But I also feel that men and women have separate roles in raising children, they may not always be gender specific, just personality specific. Sometimes the father is the comforter and the mother is responsible for discipline. Sometimes the mother encourages playing sports while the father may encourage domestic skills. But one thing I do know is that it’s not all black and white- in fact its usually not. I think its healthy and normal for both parents to play different roles interchangeably. Sharing responsibility directly down the middle is not always practical or possible because one parent may work more than the other or have a more strenuous schedule. And often, it is the mother who takes on more responsibility. But I would never consider this a bad thing- after all the mother is truly the first one to bond with the child, through prenatal growth and then through breastfeeding. Trying to claim this as a gendered or unfair concept I think is unreasonable. It’s biological. So the fact that the mother takes on this heavily weighted role in the child’s development automatically seems to place more responsibility on her. I’m not sure where I was going with this, but yeah. That’s all

  4. Yes, I agree with everything you on all of this. I love how you emphasized the importance of balance in mother/father relationships with kids. I personally do believe there are some fundamental differences between how men & women do certain things & I think that these differences are valuable. I think that a mother can give certain things to a child that a father cannot and I think that a father can give certain things to a child that a mother cannot. I find it sad that people often assume fathers are helpless and clueless in regard to their own children. This is entirely untrue & I believe that the father and child relationship is equally as important as the mother and child relationship. I think equality in these relationships will give children a more healthy view of gender & this will impact how they will lead in the future (showing how men & women both have valuable ideas & characteristics to offer and how their equality in leading results in the best outcome).

  5. Family dynamics are very interesting to me, and I think everything you said is so true. Coming from a very traditionally family, I become very curious and interested in families with different dynamics, such as single parents, children with two parents of the same gender, families where a parent is deployed or whatever the situation may be. My little in my sorority was adopted as a baby and her mother has never been married. It fascinates me how her mom has chosen to take on both parental roles of a mother and a father in raising a baby and having a career that requires she travel around the world.

  6. I agree that family values are very influential on the upbringing of children and that parenting responsibilities should not be placed on one person and not the other. I grew up in a single parent household and my mom literally tackled all of the responsibilities on her own. However, seeing how strong she was/is taking care of these major tasks has influenced my life in many ways. I think you did a great job emphasizing balance between both parents and how it impacts the children. Children gravitate to what they are exposed to and if there is no shared responsibilities then that child may get the wrong idea of the parents roles.

  7. From someone who was raised by a single parent, I have not seen much of the mother and father roles. I know my experience is different which has shaped how I have seen parenting roles. Both my parents love me equally and both my parents cry at everything, but my mom has been a do it all kinda women. I remember the days of her going of business trips while I was in school and her working until dinner time. Those times were unique. Though they did not last long, I was so young it left an impression on me. The cultural norm is still for the mom to do all the raising and the father to do all the working. I still don’t see it that way, and when I mention that when I have kids I will go back to work, I get stares. I feel like more open-minded people like myself might change the family roles. But even more so if men wanted to change their views on family roles, the stereotype will disappear much faster.

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