Study Shows Why Women Leaders Experience Gender Prejudice

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Study Shows Why Women Leaders Experience Gender Prejudice

Society made us believed that women are weak and fragile / Photo by Fizkes via Shutterstock


For many decades, society has made us believe that men are superior to women. This can be seen in a lot of aspects. For instance, men are more accepted or hired in the workplace, husbands should be the head of the house while women should just support them. Even in politics, people tend to vote and elect men in any position locally or nationally. 

These gender stereotypes and prejudices have been happening for a very long time now. Women have suffered from a lot of discriminations because the society made us believe that being feminine is all about weakness and fragility. In politics, prejudice against women in power is greater than we actually think. 

Women in Political Leadership

Through the course of time, society's principle of gender equality is slowly changing. A lot of people are breaking gender norms and proving that one shouldn't be discriminated regardless of their gender. People are also beginning to elect women in presidential, senatorial, and congressional seats. This might be far from the usual gender dynamics where women should only stay at home, take care of the kids, can't be allowed to drive a car or even vote. In fact, statistics showed that only 12% of leadership roles are given to women last 2015. 

According to an article by the TBD.Community, about 76% of people in a global online research study conducted by Harvard University which included over 200,000 participants believed that men are better suited for careers while women as homemakers. This kind of mentality is normal considering that our society is dominated by males. Janet Crawford, the one who initiated "The Surprising Neuroscience of Gender Inequity Workshop" explained: "Business culture favors the masculine perspective, not because of an intention to marginalize women, but because men designed it. As a result, we recognize and reward masculine leadership, but the contributions of feminine leadership often remain invisible."

Additionally, a recent analysis by the Pew Research Center showed that four in ten people believe that the reasons why women shouldn't be in top leadership roles in business and politics are their lack of readiness, family responsibilities, not being too tough, and inexperience. These contributed to their assumptions that females are less significant in those kinds of fields. 

Gender Prejudice against Women Leaders

The numbers and information mentioned are just a few reasons why women experience prejudice in politics. This directly indicated that men should be in power more than women simply because that's what the society dictates. A research further explains this and reveal a deeper mentality of people towards the female. 

According to a study conducted by Adrian Hoffmann and Jochen Musch entitled "Prejudice against Women Leaders: Insights from an Indirect Questioning Approach," people are more prejudiced against women leaders than the statistics and information might indicate. For the longest time, gender stereotypes and prejudices based on gender are a serious threat to women's careers. The researchers found out that men leaders are more likely to be accepted because of gender roles and the way how masculinity leads as a leader. 

Some people believed those kinds of beliefs because they believe that breaking stereotypes means violating social norms. To further research about this, Hoffmann and Musch conducted a survey and dig deeper into what people actually thought about women in political leadership. The researchers used the Crosswise Model in which they gathered 1529 responses from students with either a conventional direct question or an indirect question in the format. In this way, participants would have more freedom to provide their insights. 

The results clearly showed how people are more prejudiced on women leaders. According to the Science Daily, 45% of men and 28 of women considered women as less qualified in political power than men. "This pattern suggests that women are much more reluctant than men to express their prejudice against women leaders. Perhaps because women feel obligated to solidarize with members of their in-group," Hoff man explained.

Unfortunately, with a lot of efforts from women organizations, feminists and advocates, this just showed that the effort in breaking gender norms and stereotypes is still not effective until now. People are still closed to the idea that women should be in a political leadership. 


Lack of readiness, family responsibilities, not being too tough and inexperience were the reasons why women shouldn't be in top leadership roles / Photo by Getty Images


Strong Areas that Women Score Over Men

Still, it doesn't diminish the fact that women could do better in politics. According to the Entrepreneur, there are several reasons how women are greater than men in some areas. For instance, females are naturally more sensitive that's why they can relate to people's needs much better than men. They can weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a certain issue or problem more effectively. 

One of the strongest assets of women is that they are more organized considering the work they have to manage in a home and at work. Most importantly, women have their own individual strengths. It just has to be nourished and recognized. 




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