Gender and Leadership

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Women in leadership are perhaps more welcome in today's culture than they were a decade ago. Yet, the situation is not as good as one might think, as women continue to be underrepresented in senior leadership roles in both the business and political worlds (Northouse, 2016). According to Cook and Glass (2013), this is an example of the numerous impediments that women experience in the workplace, which contribute to the "glass ceiling effect." The fact that this phenomenon affects all industries attests to its relevance. Scholars are well aware of the issues and have been researching them for decades. However, Glass and Cook (2016) argue that we do not understand the factors However, Glass and Cook (2016) argue that we do not understand the factors that define the success of women who break the glass ceiling.

In her talk, Sheryl Sandberg discusses three aspects that are key to women succeeding in the workplace and achieving top leadership positions: “Sit at the Table; Make your Partner a Real Partner; and Don’t leave before you leave.” The three are illustrative of the leadership labyrinth. The first point, sitting at the table, points to the gender differences and prejudice against female leaders. The internal attribution and negotiation associated with the male gender are key to climbing up the ladder in an organization. The fact that people view men as better leaders also plays a major role in how society promotes leadership among women. It is sad that even women seem to carry the prejudice. The expectations that society has for each of the genders has implications on the women going for leadership positions. By restricting oneself to the defined gender roles, a lady will tend to shy away from pushing for top leadership positions. This is despite the fact that they may be qualified for the post. A paradigm shift is imperative if the plight of women in senior leadership is to change.


Cook, A., & Glass, C. (2013). Women and Top Leadership Positions: Towards an Institutional Analysis. Gender, Work & Organization, 21(1), 91-103.

Glass, C., & Cook, A. (2016). Leading at the Top: Understanding Women’s Challenges Above the Glass Ceiling. The Leadership Quarterly, 27(1), 51-63.

Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. 7th ed. SAGE Publications, Inc.

May 02, 2023
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Woman Leadership Workplace

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