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Gender Stereotypes and Dilemma Faced by Female Leaders

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As our senior positions are male-dominated, we should review our hiring and selection process to ensure we are not gendered prejudiced as this could limit the company’s growth. Vivien Shiao’s article focuses on the “double-bind” dilemma faced by female leaders due to extreme perceptions. Depending on how they conform to their gender stereotypes, they will either be perceived as too emotional or aggressive. It was highlighted when females exhibited competence, they are not well-liked. Consequently, those who were consistent with their gender stereotypes, are liked but viewed as incompetent leaders.

Lahle Wolfe’s article explores female’s leadership attributes. She highlighted that female are better managers than males in terms of engagement, leadership skills and competency due to their gender stereotype. She then concluded that the reason why women remained as an untapped resource was due to blatant discrimination. Both authors article are good representations in explaining the relationship between gender stereotyping and leadership effectiveness. After analysing both articles and cross-referencing their claims to credible sources. I argue that through the use of evidence and structure of argumentation, Shiao’s article resonates stronger with her audience by providing a cogent argument backed by reliable evidence and inductive reasoning, whereas Wolfe’s article, who gave a well-researched argument through deductive reasoning, fell short as her argument was unsound. The type of evidence used to support their arguments on the gender stereotyping is different. Shiao used anecdotal evidence from female leaders to prove that gender stereotyping creates a no-win situation. In contrast, Wolfe substantiated her views with statistical evidence to debunk gender stereotype ideology.

However, after cross-referencing to other credible sources, Wolfe’s evidence reliability is tested. Shiao uses observations of female leaders and Mrs Hillary Clinton’s campaign experience to prove that they are under more scrutiny and perceived less of a leader than males. She cited, “Mrs Clinton’s approval rating plummeting during her campaign as she was not conforming to her perceived gender stereotype.” (Para 4 and 5) Supported by a study from Catalyst, interviewing 1,231 senior business executives, suggested: “Gender Stereotyping leads organizations to routinely underestimate and underutilize women’s leadership talent.”(2) (August 2, 2018) It validates her evidence reliability and argument as gender prejudice denies potential qualified female to fill leadership positions which is detrimental to the company.In contrast, Wolfe utilized surveys conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR) on 7,280 leaders and polls by Gallup, an American research company that claims females are better overall leaders than males. Gallup authors highlighted, “Female managers are more engaged at work, compared to male managers. Therefore, they are likely to contribute more to their organization’s current and future success.” (Para 4) Further supported by HBR findings: “Stereotypical attributions assigned to the female gender did have some merit regarding women ranked higher than men.” (Para 11) However, a meta-analysis research concluded: “There are no strong significant differences between the genders on leadership effectiveness.”(3) (Paustian-Underdahl, S. C., Walker, L. S., & Woehr, D. J., 2014)

Additionally, American Psychological Association published an article stating, “Studies show that one’s sex has little or no bearing on personality, cognition, and leadership.”(1) (October 20, 2005) It contradicts Wolfe’s evidence as both genders are similar in terms of leadership effectiveness. Therefore, Wolfe’s use of statistical evidence became counterintuitive due to its reliability. On the other hand, after cross-referencing with statistics, Shiao’s use of anecdotal evidence was plausible, making her argument more accurate and convincing.Both authors provided a valid conclusion, but the structures of argumentation were different. Shiao provided a cogent inductive argument whereas Wolfe’s deductive argument was unsound. Although Shiao’s delivery was confrontational, she was consistent throughout her article by appealing to her audience emotions. Her argument structure was inductive, whereby she started with specific observations and patterns from anecdotal evidence which led to a generalized conclusion that female leaders are being undermined due to gender stereotype. Furthermore, it became a cogent argument as her evidence were true by cross-references thus, providing us with a good reason to accept her conclusion.

In contrast, Wolfe used ethical appeals to address the issue of committing fallacies of presumptions. She reminded her audience that “correlation is not causation.” (Para 9) Her structure or argumentation was deductive, whereby she started with generalities from statistical evidence and lead to a specific conclusion that females remained an untapped resource was due to blatant discrimination. It is a valid deduction, but her evidence turned out to be inaccurate which made her argument unsound. Therefore, Shiao’s argument was stronger and more convincing. Ultimately, Shiao gave a more convincing piece, delivering a cogent argument by utilising reliable evidence and inductive reasoning. Like Angela Ahrendts said, “Just put the best person into the job. It is not about gender; it is about experience, leadership, and vision.”

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Gender Stereotypes And Dilemma Faced By Female Leaders. (2019, November 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 24, 2021, from
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