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Anything Men Can Do, Women Do Better
Even as a recent study shows women have higher scores in leadership competencies, beliefs regarding gender and leadership still hinder women’s opportunities for career advancement.
When Roya Ayman, director and professor of industrial organizational psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, moved to Chicago with a new degree and job 30 years ago, she was deferred from a mortgage loan for being high risk.When she inquired as to why, the mortgage broker said, “You’re a woman, and you’re single,” to which she replied, “I’m a woman, and I’m single, and I have a Ph.D. How worse could my life get? If I get married, I’ll marry a husband with a job. Our income will only increase. Whereas a man in my exact position may marry a woman who’s not working, so that household’s total income can decline.”
While the broker seemed to agree, he told her rules were rules. The mortgage broker is not alone in stigmatizing women’s abilities. When a group of more than 300 kindergarten through eighth grade public school students was asked to draw their perception of which gender would make a better leader, the young boys picked more male than female figures — 89 percent drew males — whereas 43 percent of young girls’ drawings also included male leaders. Those findings come from a study by Ayman and Saba Ayman-Nolley, a developmental psychology professor and chairman of psychology at Northeastern University, and published in Implicit Leadership Theories: Essays And Explorations by Birgit Schyns and James R. Meindl.
Yet such outdated perceptions — most often made by men — are wrong and damaging organizations’ potential to acquire and identify top talent, according to Jack Zenger, CEO of leadership development consultancy Zenger Folkman.“HR leaders today talk a lot about having a talent shortage,” Zenger said. “But they have a wonderful talent pool inside their organizations they’re not fully utilizing. Before you poach outside your organizations, look at your women. If you promote them into leadership positions, they do well, and they’re perceived positively by their co-workers. The problem is they’re rarely given a chance.”Earlier this month Zenger Folkman released an analysis of more than 7,200 male and female leaders from a wide variety of industries around the globe. The analysis reinforced some seemingly eternal truths about male and female leaders in the workplace.
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
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