WHY A LEADERSHIP PROGRAM?
As we compete in an increasingly global environment, it is important
that we develop the talent and capabilities of all our nation’s people. To
fulfill the nation’s need for scientists, business leaders, engineers, and
doctors we must encourage women’s leadership and involvement in every field.
American universities have always played a vital role in the development of our
nation’s economic, political and social leadership. Public universities can
provide both a social climate and an intellectual environment that supports
Despite the women’s movement, the Civil Rights Act, and Title IX, women are still underrepresented in Congress, the corporate boardrooms, the legal and medical professions. Even with the talent and education they need, too few women become leaders in their chosen fields. Having women as leaders matters, because:
Without women as leaders, girls growing up today will be less inspired to develop their talents and pursue their dreams; Without women as leaders, we deny our society the talent and insights of half the population; Without women as leaders, our society will be less democratic and diverse than it might be; Without women as leaders our world is less humane and caring.
What is the Problem?
It is fourfold:
organization and practices of institutions are implicitly male.
2. Women’s work strategies are caught in a sameness/difference dilemma.
Non-work obligations conflict with women’s (but often not men’s) public
4. Implicit gender bias continues to impact women’s opportunities.
More specifically, our institutions favor men in that:
The “ideal worker” is someone unburdened by care obligations.
· Recognized forms of leadership tend to favor male styles of hierarchy and authority.
· Work related social networks tend to favor men.
· Social identity assumptions about men contribute to positive evaluations of work competence and performance.
There remains a sameness/difference dilemma for women. If a woman is
seen as acting like a man at work then she is thought to be too bossy and
unfeminine. If a woman is seen as acting feminine or maternal at work, then it
undermines assessments of her competence and commitment. There is also a
conflict for women between their work and non-work roles. Work structures
disadvantage caregivers generally. Research shows that there is discrimination
against mothers and in favor of fathers at work. In addition, men’s social
networks tend to be work based.
This is not true for women.
Finally, research shows that implicit gender bias leads organizational leaders to discount women’s contributions and qualifications. Over time, this bias results in accumulated disadvantage, so that women by mid-career often show a marked pattern of having received fewer opportunities and rewards as similarly productive and accomplished male colleagues.