My last few posts I referenced House of Cards, specifically Claire Underwood and the public’s perception of her being president. This got me to thinking… why are all females in leadership positions treated differently than males? Why are they often perceived as b__? Why are we our own worst enemy?
I am guilty myself of feeling this way about women in power positions. In my previous legal internship, I had a supervisor who was a female. My main boss was a male, very nice, helpful, and seemed relatable. The female for some reason or another never tried to offer me advice, help or put me to use. She was very oppressive,and quite frankly just acted like she didn’t want to be bothered. Our lesson commentary outlines managerial traits as being masculine, which in turn makes people perceive females as negative or too authoritative.
The commentary goes on to set guidelines that (Hughes, Ginnett, & Murphy, 2012) feels women should stay within to be successful leaders. They state that women should not act like men, but not act too much like women either. (Hughes, Ginnett, & Murphy, 2012): Women are to
“Take risks, but not be consistently outstanding
Be tough, but not macho
Be ambitious, but know they will not receive equal treatment
Take responsibility, but follow others’ advice”
The part that bothers me is the “not be consistently outstanding” aspect. Why must we continue to dim our lights so that men feel superior? I plan to go to law school after this, I have been exposed to many court cases where I’ve sat on the side of the judge. He never treated me less than; he encouraged me to be outspoken. I suppose most firms are “boys clubs” which lead me to believe that women have to try and work harder to succeed.
Another aspect regarding women and leadership that I’ve observed is that men tend to give me more opportunities . This is partially due to the way I look,and my outgoing and friendly nature. This seems to work against me (as I mentioned above) when it comes to women. I’ve never felt confined to the above guidelines because I’ve honestly never been discriminated against for being a woman (by men). Women prevent women from breaking through; that’s why there are few leadership positions for us.
Take Hillary Clinton running for President. All the polls showed that she scored lower than her opponents with women. They had a million reasons why they didn’t like her. Some felt she should be home with her grandkids; others didn’t like her outfits, rhetoric, or whatever else. It seemed as if her views were last on the list. The same can be said for women in the workplace. There are women who feel some of their coworkers should be home taking care of their kids than competing for the promotion against them. I recognize that men require a balance from us as leaders. But why do we never talk about the balance we must keep with other women?
Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., &Murphy, G. J. (2012). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies.
Lesson 13: Leadership and Diversity,Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved February 6, 2019, from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1975088/modules/items/25786927