#People and Ideas24.08.2017

Don't women want to lead?

Foto: Don

The debate about women in management positions is anything but new. Industry and politics are particularly affected by the lack of female executives. Even though quotas are slowly rising, we are still a long way from achieving a balance between male and female managers.

In this context, the development of the "young, male educational losers" in German upper secondary schools seems paradoxical: for years, comparatively more female pupils than male pupils have been able to pass the Abitur and then secure a place at university; and the trend is rising. Young women would therefore be there, but they seem to fall by the wayside on their way to a leadership position. So how can this discrepancy between the potential and the actual deployment of female management staff be explained? Is it due to the organisations or the women themselves, selection or promotion? Or are social and family structures responsible for the lack of female executives?

The associated research provides a wide variety of theories and multifactorial reasons: From structural discrimination against women in organisations and discrimination in the German language, to socially tolerated bullying, to the lack of leadership qualities of women. For example, the Role Congruity Theory can be used to explain why women and leadership do not seem to fit together. The stereotypes and attributes ascribed to women - such as being collaborative, caring or emphatic - do not fit the ideal image of leadership. This is still associated in many minds with a 'rational', decisive and assertive style of leadership.

And while the economy decides and science explains, politics tries to lift women through the glass ceiling with the help of various measures such as women's quotas, company childcare and flexible working hours. However, the discussion is idle if those who are to be promoted decide against leadership responsibility.

Read more in the magazine ODO (German Article!)