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What Does Literature Tell Us About The Intersection Of Gender Construction And Leadership? (Coursework Sample)


this paper explores the gender construction of women and leadership in political governance and corporate leadership. the main argument is that women have been, and continue to be underrepresented in key leadership roles in education because of the existing literature rooted in the theory that women have in-born weaknesses that make them unsuitable for certain leadership roles. The paper progresses to debunk this assertion as baseless and an ignorant misrepresentation meant to perpetuate the subjugation of women.


What does Literature tell us about the Intersection of Gender Construction and Leadership?
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What does Literature tell us about the Intersection of Gender Construction and Leadership?
For the most part, the contribution made by women rarely featured in the mainstream media dominated with male literature. The overwhelming agitation that resulted catapulted women into mainstream recognition as an undeniable voice of reason for change. Unfortunately, the newly-found platform for contribution and expression at the mainstream level has failed to provide a definite breakthrough in political governance and corporate leadership. Although women had portrayed their in-depth mastery of a wide range of subjects ranging from the technological perspective to the social sciences, their literature on good governance and leadership in the education setting has largely been ignored. Moreover, women continue to face social obstacles in the form of cultural norms and male-domination which continues to curtain their progress into leadership positions. This paper reflects and juxtaposes literature concerning the perspective of the gender relations and the construction of feminine identity in relation to leadership.
A Feminist Critical Perspective on Education Leadership
Blackmore (2013) while discussing the role of women and the contextual construction of gender in politics and governance, deconstructs the dominant feminist perspective that has mostly dwelled on the numerical figures. She argues that, the feminist perspective and agitation for leadership has overwhelmingly focused on the equal representation and creation of more opportunities for women in politics, leadership, and governance. As a result, this narrow approach has shifted the focus away from addressing the social relations between the genders in the sociopolitical dimensions. According to Blackmore (2015), the focus and agitation for numerical representation in leadership has failed to achieve its mission because it has only escalated the problem. She argues that time has come for the feminist perspective to change its direction by refocusing on the social relationship that embedded in gender construction guiding power associations beginning at a family, national, and the international community. Approaching the whole issue from a critical sociological perspective requires that leadership is treated as a prerequisite for addressing the incessant problems, the goals and capacities of the mainstream education system. Moreover, this is a surest way for engaging the related organizations and spearheading social reforms for the associated parties (Blackmore, 2013; Manfredi, 2017). Therefore, the feminist model and perspective on gender construction and power relations in the education system, provides a single and the most effective alternative to deconstructing and theorizing political governance or corporate leadership.
Blackmore (2013) asserts that much of the politics around and social impediments that have curtailed women from achieving their highest potential can be attributed to the nature social context of leadership theories. She argues that the leadership theories have been constructed as a response to understanding certain effective leadership traits identified with certain people. However, these theories—transformational, entrepreneurial, transactional, Emotional Intelligence and many others— are socially constructed and largely been ineffective in understanding human behavior in the context of gender construction based on the innate and learned human behavior. As a result, subsequent theories were formed when the existing theories failed to account for a given phenomenon or as complementary explanation for an observed trait. Blackmore (2013) argues that the most daunting impediment for women progress concerns the manner through which the education system has approached leadership theories. According to Blackmore, the education system has largely described the leadership theories in the context of culture and gender rather than traits that can be acquired and learned or abandoned to yield the desired results. A good example in the Emotional Intelligence theory elaborates the psychological relations and associations between colleagues in an organization for positive outcomes. Proponents of the Emotional Intelligence theory argue that effective leaders have high control over their emotional behavior, exhibit high levels of self-control, self-discipline, and general intellectual capability. However, Blackmore (2013) finds this perspective as misguided and directionless because it disregards the purpose of leadership and the context in which emotional intelligence is exercised. Furthermore, the theory fails to address the nature of individual identity, social relations between individuals and structure, gender-power inequality, and vision of the organization. The theory is also meant to portray women as ineffective leaders because they are emotional agents, incapable of working under conditions of extreme pressure and thus, incompetent compared to their male counterparts. Even though literature showed that women are naturally emotional beings, for the most part of the twentieth century, they were denied leadership positions because they were considered vulnerable and incapable of making the right choices when working under pressure (Blackmore, 2013). However, the feminist perspective on these leadership qualities challenges the male-dominated assumptions in disciplinary fields, categorizations, research designs, data collection, and interpretations.
Theories of Gender in Organizations
Robin and Meyerson (2000) while addressing the theories of gender construction in the organization, propose a new approach for organization culture analysis and change. The authors discuss the mainstream treatment of gender and its limitation. The conclude the argument, by recommending a fourth dimension which overcomes the drawback of the three by redefining gender as a complex set of social interactions enacted with time based a range of social practices in an organization. Moreover, Robin and Meyerson (2000) highlight the demerits of organization social behavior dominated by the masculine perspective which shapes the normative gender behavior in an attempt to control women. Robin and Meyerson argue that the social construct of gender perpetuated by the dominant masculine worldview plays a significant role by denying women leadership opportunities in politics and corporate governance. Unfortunately, organizations have integrated such a confined and narrow understanding of gender relations as valid and thereby, curtailing women equal chances to occupy leadership positions.
According to Robin and Meyerson (2000), the widely used approach for assessing gender equity can be traced from the strain theory which posits that individuals succeed or fail based on his or her merit. This perspective argues that gender is the physiobiological characteristic marked as male or female and established during birth. At the center of the “fix the women” characteristic is the sex-role socialization which yields individual differences in the attitudes between the genders in politics and the corporate world (Robin & Meyerson, 2000). As result, the conventional construction of gender renders women unskilled and incompetent to occupy leadership roles in social organizations. Hence, if gender construction is understood from a holistic perspective, and integrated within organization culture interventions meant to eliminate inequality by strengthening and supporting women, then they can reach their full potential like their male counterparts. Therefore, organizations must re-align from the masculine construction of gender perpetuated by the dominant male perspective by training more women for professional careers by providing such opportunities thus, facilitating their transition into leadership roles traditionally occupied by their male counterparts (Robin & Meyerson, 2000). Gender parity and transitioning of women into leadership roles can only be accomplished once gendered norms are challenged and organizations train women into professional careers and positions dominated by men.
Position of Women Leaders as Constructed by Institutions of Higher Learning
Dunn, Gerlach, and Hyle (2014), argue that most scholarly work within and outside the academy, for a long time, has been male-centric, conducted by men focusing on the qualities of male leaders. Accordingly, male behavior, traits, and characteristics in leadership positions is constantly used to justify the fewer opportunities for women empowerment. The authors explore by reflecting upon research to examine the leadership experiences of women in higher education leadership to provide a holistic understanding of the challenges in such positions. Dunn et al. (2014) hope that the insight gained in the analysis can help other women understand how women in leadership positions navigate around the male-centric higher learning confined administration, provide guidance for women in leadership positions, and those aspiring for administrative positions in academic administration.
The Current Literature on Women in Leadership Roles and Future Research
Smith, Matkin, and Fritz (2004), take a comprehensive review on literature on women in leadership positions and the documented trend over the years. The authors seek to investigate a full-range of leadership experience of women in political governance and administrative positions in organizations with the goal of determining the success it has accorded women. Moreover, the study encompasses research aimed at determining a full-range of leadership traits directly and indirectly that has contributed in understanding the key roles played by women in administrative capacity. The authors ...
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