The question that
the author wanted to answer was “Why is there a gender gap in top leadership
positions”.  The author fist looked at
the traits, styles, and effectiveness on gender in leadership, second how
private and public views of society work impacts women and men leadership
roles, and lastly how stereotype-based prejudice and discrimination affects
women in leadership roles.  The reason
the author found this topic interesting is because social psychology has done a
great deal of research on understanding leadership, but not necessarily gender
in leadership (Hoyt, 2010).    

The researcher
first examined the effectiveness between men and women on attributes relevant
to leadership.   Most people believe
being an effective leader involves mostly masculine traits that are associated
with men such as aggressiveness and dominance.  Research has shown to be an effective leader
you must have a combination feminine and masculine trait.  These traits include intelligence/emotional
intelligence, empathy, trustworthiness, and inspire others (Hoyt, 2010).  Hoyt also talks about the difference men have
that appears to give them an advantage in leadership.  Research shows men are more likely to promote
themselves for leadership position than women because they are at negotiating
for desired opportunities then women (Hoyt, 2010).    Last
semester, I saw a Ted Talk by Sheryl Sandberg and she said women should “Sit at
the table”, meaning women should not be intimated or shy away from
opportunities just because it is a male dominated position/opportunity. 

In private
settings, women assume more domestic responsibility in the household even when
they are full time workers.  When women
have children, they are more likely to work less hours, take a leave of
absence, more sick days, and even leave the work force altogether (Hoyt, 2010).  The opposite is shown in men, they are more
likely to work more hours once they have children.  Because of these reasons women have less work
experience and advancement than men which helps contribute to the gender leadership
gap.  In public, such as the work place
women are given less responsibilities for the same job and less likely to be
encouraged or receive proper training for the job (Hoyt, 2010).   

Women are often
stigmatized in leadership roles due to the fact women have characteristics that
indicate low status and power which cause males to devalue them as
leaders.  Gender bias in leadership
starts with the gender roles and gender stereotypes society places on
individuals (Hoyt, 2010).  The stereotype that women take care of
home and men take charge is what drives people to stigmatize and discriminate
against women in leadership roles.  Women
are more likely to be at a disadvantage in groups with people who beliefs are
traditional in gender rather than a group whose beliefs are more progressive and
contemporary concerning gender roles (Hoyt, 2010).

believe this article is relevant to this course because it talks about a
specific social group, women in leadership positions and how they are
discriminated and stereotyped by an outside group, men in leadership
positions.  This article touches on many
topics discussed in class such as, right Wing Authoritarianism, social role
theory, social learning theory, and social identity theory. Why I was
interested in this article, was because I plan on having a leadership position
later in my future as a woman I feel I need to be aware of the various forms of
discrimination and prejudice women face in leadership positions.


Hoyt, C. L. (2010). Women, men, and
leadership: Exploring the gender gap at the top. Social And Personality
Psychology Compass, 4(7), 484-498.