The Labyrinth Path to Female Leadership
by xmorand on October 5, 2017 - 5:14pm
It is a well-known fact that females are much underrepresented in leadership roles. In fact, in 2016, only 19% of the Congress was composed of females. In this article, Alice Eagly, Lori Beaman and Christopher Karpowitz discuss this issue.
First, Eagly states that it is often hard for women to achieve such leadership roles because women are seen as communal and friendly people, which makes it hard for them to prove their toughness and to prove they can handle such a role. On top of that, when women demonstrate that they too can be tough, people see them as being too tough, since it goes against the female stereotype. That being said, more and more women are achieving such positions and overcoming this inequality does not impossible anymore, it is comparable to a maze, where “finding the right path is a challenge but persistence and careful thought pay off” (Eagly).
Second, Karpowitz also brings up an interesting point; as a matter of fact, he points out how when women are outnumbered by men during a debate or discussion of the sort, they are less likely to speak up than if they are surrounded by other empowered females, which is a considerable issue. Madeline Albright, the first women to become Secretary of State, mentioned that she had been in that situation and had not spoken up, but when a male figure later said the exact same idea as she had in mind, other males thought it was brilliant.
Finally, Beaman mentions a potential solution to this gender inequality issue: election quotas. She states that in India, a certain amendment states that a third of the roles need to be reserved for women. Although this could have a great short-term impact, she discovered, through a personal experiment, that villages that had had a female leader for the past years were less likely to be influenced by the prejudices about women.
Personally, I believe that governments should make an effort in the promotion of women I such leadership roles because they are equally a part of society and should have the chance to speak up. I also think that, in 2017, the general population should also start being open-minded towards such a change which should have occurred long ago. As for solutions to this issue, what do you guys believe would help women overcome this inequality? Do you agree with the solution proposed by Ms. Beaman?