Studies Show Women Leaders Perceived As Bitchy, Cold and Conniving


The Washington Post ran a nice little column about various studies conducted on perceptions of women leaders. The usual suspects included Maggie Thatcher ("Attilla the Hen"), Golda Meir ("the only man in the cabinet"), Indira Ghandi ("the old witch"), and Angela Merkel ("the iron frau"). Reports WaPo: "Experiments show that women vying for leadership roles are automatically assigned two labels. The first is to be seen as nice and warm, but incompetent; the second is to be seen as competent but unpleasant." Where does that leave Sen. Hillary Clinton?

"When people say Hillary has no heart or no sense of humor, they are saying she is not warm," said Susan Fiske, a social psychologist at Princeton University. "People do not question her competence, but her trustworthiness and warmth."

"While individuals of both sexes can be cold, pushy, conniving and manipulative, those terms get attached to female leaders for no better reason than that they happen to be female leaders, said New York University organizational psychologist Madeline Heilman: "Just knowing they are successful and competent causes people to infer they have engaged in all these behaviors and to disapprove of them."

I know, right? Total unfair pile-on!

The Myth of the Iron Lady [WaPo]


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