After shedding light in our previous blog post "Women in Leadership: What Do We Know?" on two factors that have facilitated women's entry to the political realm, we have ensured that, regardless, these females were able to powerfully shone. With that being the case, what is thwarting other women from becoming political leaders then?
“There is no rational reason to oppose a woman for president simply because she is a woman", stated Genovese & Steckenrider (2013. That is especially true if one considers that the findings of their studies revealed that the overall experience of many women political leaders who governed in good or bad times was either as good or slightly better than some male leaders!
But that does not mean that gender in leadership does not matter! However, “gender is not an impenetrable barrier to effective governing”. According to the same study, the context or the condition under which the leader is governing is what matters most.
For example, if the country is facing an economic crisis, context should matter more than the leader’s skills to determine the options and outcomes.
“Still we must ask: why does the United States lag so far behind the rest of the world in allowing women access to leadership positions in politics?’
Although many barriers that hinder a woman from becoming a leader have fallen, “there are still forces that inhibit women from […] climbing to the top of the greasy pole.” One example is America’s “feeding system” which underrepresents women in politics or running for office. So if a female aim at succeeding in her political life, she has to build her own credibility “by developing a record of performance”.
Genovese, M. A., & Steckenrider, J. S. (2013). Women as Political Leaders: Studies in Gender and Governing. London: Routledge. Retrieved from www.routledge.com
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