In many areas of this course so far, the people behind the leadership roles have been categorized into males and females. It was mentioned in another blog post that women take care and men take charge. Boiled down to its essence, it means that men should be in charge in the workplace while women are only working to take care of their families. I find this perception offensive and demeaning not only to women but men as well.
Our textbook speaks of emotional intelligence and five main factors of leadership (Northouse, 2016). In this reading, while gender is mentioned in passing, it is not the focus of the actual definitions. In fact, the factors are extremely genderless and broad. It is us who associate particular traits, such as assertiveness with men and compassion with women, to a gender.
Are we as a society telling men that they are bad leaders because they care for the people they work for? Are we telling women they are bad leaders because they take a job where they are away from their families for lengthy periods of time?
Society is coming around more with the institution of laws and policies where either gender can take leave under the FMLA, although you will still find an exponentially larger proportion of women taking this leave over men. A 2000 study by the Department of Labor found that 42.6 % of men “did not take leave because of a concern their job advancement may be hurt.” Another 31% “feared they would lose their jobs.” (Rossiter, 2009)
We as a society need to break the stereotypical thinking in the workplace. Each individual brings their own uniqueness, skills, and insight to the table. While I am speaking of gender in this post, the same things apply to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation/presentation and religion. We as a society need to stop living with the mindset of fixed gender roles and embrace what each individual has to contribute to society.
Northouse, P. (2016) “Leadership: Theory and Practice.” Washington DC: Sage Publications. pp. 58-59.
Rossiter, M. (Dec 2009) “FMLA: Is It Equally Beneficial to Today’s Dads?” Retrieved from https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/fmla-is-it-equally-beneficial-for-todays-dads