Bias against female leaders


 Hillary Clinton:  How well do we know her?

Research indicates workers generally have very little bias against female leaders they know well.  For example, when asked to rate their own boss, workers give their female bosses and male bosses similar competence and likability ratings.  Nonetheless, when asked which gender they’d prefer to work for, workers still prefer male bosses by a 2:1 ratio.

Surely, you say, women would prefer reporting to female bosses. Not so.  Women actually had a stronger preference for male management than men.   Even women who were managers themselves reported a preference for male management.  What’s the problem with female managers?  According to my recent survey of over 60,000 employees, women who lead were described as  ‘emotional,’ ‘moody,’ ‘catty,’ ‘gossipy,’ ‘bitchy,’ ‘backstabbing,’ ‘dramatic,’ ‘jealous,’ and ‘petty.’

With all this bias, does Hillary have a chance if she chooses to run in 2016?  We all got to know Hillary Clinton a little better in her role as Secretary of State, but she needs a stronger presence in our living rooms and on our televisions and computers if we are to overcome the “think manager-think male” bias that still prevails.  

You can read more about female leaders in my article “Does bias against female leaders persist?” available  for FREE this month (June 2013) from Human Relations at

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