What makes a good leader? Do our biases make it hard to define?

by Vivian Diep in December 2nd, 2022
brown game pieces on white surface

More Women In Power, Less Trust In Them

Wed Nov 30


More women are filling leadership roles than in the past but we also seem to be trusting women less in these roles, according to the Reykjavik Index for Leadership. Only 47% of respondents said they were “very comfortable” with a woman as CEO of a major corporation, down from 54% a year earlier. Additionally, men are more likely to be critical of a female leader and the younger generation seems to hold less progressive views than older generations.


  • Experts say a wide variety of factors are at play: The pandemic: Women lost their jobs or left the labor force to pick up childcare responsibilities during the pandemic, which solidified traditional roles.
  • Fear: Economic uncertainty and other crises have stirred a fear that moves us towards our most familiar concepts of safety and security.
  • Social/political conversations: The overturn of Roe v Wade and Trump’s misogynistic comments have likely normalized sexism to some degree.
  • Social media: Heavily misogynistic content spread on social media has led to much misinformation about women. Additionally, young men who grew up connected to the online world are feeling emasculated by changing norms and seem to gravitate towards anti-feminism.
  • The “glass cliff”: Women are more likely put in top corporate positions only when the risk of failure is particularly high. At the same time, the media tends to blame company failures on female leaders but not males in the same situation.
  • The status quo: Those who benefit from inequality will fight against change but there’s also the challenge of trusting something that doesn’t fit our idea of normal.

The results of the Reykjavik Index worry experts not only because violence against women increases with gender inequality but the economy suffers as well. One 2015 report estimates that we could lose $1T in global growth by 2030 if we stick to current trends. But, if countries rally to close the gap as much as the best performing country in their region, the world could see $12T in growth instead. At a smaller scale, individual companies with greater gender and ethnic diversity are 25% more likely to see greater than average profitability.


For now, It’s too early to tell if the decline in trust is temporary or permanent, but researchers can assert the issue is not about fixing men or fixing women but rather changing deep-seated norms.

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🎬 Action of the Week

Learn how we can achieve greater gender parity from the United Nations Population Fund.

THIS WEEK'S SOURCES

  • BBC: The Trust Crisis 9 minutes | 2 days ago
  • McKinsey: 10 Facts on Gender Equality 17 minutes | 2 years ago

ASCII-ING ABOUT THE NEWS

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At this point, should we start looking into the balls as well?

Art Credit: ASCII Art Archive

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