Women, in today’s society are facing dilemmas in different occupations as they become more suitable for leadership positions. “Traditional definitions of leadership are challenged by the changing demographic of society in the United States, increasing numbers of women in leadership roles in the counseling profession, and shifting expectations in the workplace” (Levitt 66). Although, women status has improved over the past century, they are still lacking access to power and leadership compared to men (Carli & Eagly 629). Furthermore, according to many researchers, women are still underrepresented in the workforce; facing barriers against stereotypes, gender differences and inequality with men.
WOMEN AND STEREOTYPES
Gender stereotypes are strongly accepted as societal norms, women who do not act in accordance with feminine stereotypes are seen negatively (Willemsen 386). “In general, gender stereotypes promote the idea that women are more emotional, intuitive, and socially oriented, whereas men are more dominant, rational, and instrumentally or task-oriented” (Willemsen386). Women who are in male-dominated occupations are faced with stereotypes by their co-workers, managers, and other men in other businesses. Studies have shown that in many countries, feminine qualities are commonly not the qualities that come to mind when people think of successful leaders (Schein 682). Most women who are in leadership positions in the workforce are seen to men as not having the ability to carry a business with enough capability. In addition to descriptive stereotypes of the qualities that women and men possess, psychologists have observed that societies also have prescriptive stereotypes— beliefs about the roles that women and men should play. “McIntosh refers to woman less leadership as an exclusive phase, where lack of common knowledge of the history of women and cultural expectations of them made women invisible as leaders” (Turock 115). In this case, how can we acknowledge women leadership, if we as society are gradually learning about women’s history and lacking the knowledge of their leadership positions?
Focusing on women and their occupancy of leadership should not cause us to forget that women have always exercised leadership in their families and communities (Carli & Eagly 629). There have been political leaderships involving women, “in history only 42 women have ever served as presidents or prime ministers, and 25 of those have come to office in the 1990s” (Carli & Eagly 629). Women’s representation in leadership positions have declined in recent years. “In 2010, 58.6 percent of all women 16 years and over were in the labor force, compared to 71.2 percent of all men” (Statistical Overview of Women in the Workplace 2). Based on some statistical data, you can see that women are lacking leadership ability more so now than generations before because fewer women are in male-dominated occupations. Catalyst, a non-profit organization working to advance...