Biases and Stereotypes Against Female Managers

Biases and Stereotypes Against Female Managers

Research has revealed that, despite the good natural qualities and finesse possessed by women, many people do not want them as bosses and superiors. The amazing thing here is many women have reported preferring male bosses to female ones. Cases of people resigning because they were reprimanded or criticised by their female bosses have also been reported. It is common knowledge that the instructions of female superiors and bosses, including that of female CEOs, are usually ignored by their subordinates, especially the males. Research has revealed that people do not prefer female managers because of societal biases against them as well as the bad ways they treat their subordinates.

Reasons Female Bosses are Not Preferred
Research has shown that the attitudes of female managers put off their subordinates. According to a survey conducted by and published in Forbes to ascertain people’s preferences regarding the gender of their superiors, out of the 25 respondents, all females, that participated in the survey, 19 preferred male managers. The reasons provided by these respondents revealed that many female managers are academically qualified; however, their attitudes towards their subordinates were nothing to write home about.

Further, another survey conducted by Rajeshwari Ogirala shows there are biases against women’s abilities to take up and handle leadership positions. Some of these biases are unfounded and stereotyped but they must have contributed to the small number of women found in managerial positions. Getting rid of these biases might be difficult because they have been around for ages and are still strongly believed by many.

Biases against Female Managers
According to the survey conducted by Ogirala, both male and female employees believe women are naturally incompetent to handle managerial positions. This survey reveals that people assume women suffer from “analysis-paralysis”, have lesser ideas, are unapproachable, attack their subordinates (especially the female ones), and show partiality towards their female colleagues. It is also believed that family demands and ties prevent women from performing their managerial duties efficiently. Of course, the respondents must have stereotyped their ideas concerning their female bosses because not all female bosses are the way they described. Further, the descriptions given above could match that of many male bosses but people hardly talk about them. The problem with this stereotype is female bosses might need to work extra hard to prove they are different and capable.

Also, a survey conducted by Martin Abel reveals that both male and female employees do not react to criticisms from female superiors the same way they do with those from male bosses. While they cordially accept those from male superiors, they frown, deeply, when female bosses correct them. Though the reason for the differences is unclear, it is believed that it is as a result of the assumption that women do not belong to the career world but to the kitchen. The survey revealed that men are regarded as the rightful owners of managerial thrones. Hence, female managers are seen as intruders, who occupy positions meant for men.

Reported Negative Attitudes of Female Managers
According to Forbes, many women prefer male bosses to their female counterparts because of their sad experiences with female managers. Among the reasons given are women’s inclinations towards engaging in “catfights”, allowing their emotions to get the best of them, “conniving and backstabbing while giving you a nice-nasty smile”, feeling threatened by their subordinates and colleagues (especially the female ones), and being high-handed (sometimes) because of low self-esteem. It is revealed that because female managers compete with their female subordinates, they do not mentor or support them. It is also made known that female managers create a gulf between them and their subordinates, which makes them unapproachable. Of course, when a boss makes her subordinates uncomfortable around her, they are bound to brand her negatively.

Are Female Bosses Truly Bad?
As implied earlier, some of the reasons for negatively branding female managers are stereotypes. This is simply because both male and female managers have been found guilty of the mentioned attitudes. Apart from that, many of them are unfounded. It is also possible that employees look out for what does not exist in their female bosses or assume the worst of them because of popular opinion. But one certain thing here is because the society is yet to get used to seeing women, who were supposed to be domesticated, taking up leadership positions reserved for men, it is reacting in whatever way it could to stall the changes. This is not to say female bosses should not evaluate themselves and work on their managerial skills or make appropriate changes, but they should not be held liable for ‘crimes’ committed by male as well as female managers. More women should be encouraged to take up the mantle of leadership in their various careers because leadership is not destined for any gender in particular.

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