Thursday, 3 April 2008

Through the Labyrinth

This is perhaps the most significant book I’ve read in the past year, full of research (a third of the book is footnotes) from a variety of disciplines.

It asks important questions, such as:
  • ‘Is there still a glass ceiling?’ (the answer is No, but women have to find their way through the twists and turns of a ‘labyrinth’)
  • ‘Do people resists women’s leadership?’ ‘Do women lead differently from men?’
  • ‘Do organisations compromise women’s leadership?’
The bottom line is that there are few differences in personality between men and women, and these are getting smaller. Women make just as good leaders as men do, yet people still discriminate in a number of ways against women in authority and leadership.

Women may be in a ‘double bind’ because the expectations of women (to be so-called ‘feminine’, attractive, kind and caring) can conflict with expectations of leaders (to be assertive and competent).

Women leaders have to navigate their way between these expectations. While these conclusions relate to women in business and the professions, it is not difficult to see very similar patterns in the Church. (Rosie Ward.)

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