Library Dissertation Showcase

An in-depth analysis of gender and intersectionality in leadership

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2019

Despite the discourse surrounding gender dating back to the 1960’s where feminist writers such as Judith Butler, Bell hooks and Simone De Beauvoir started to recognise and unpack
how gender is a performance and is different to sex, it has become a much more discussed topic and is used as a tool for analysis, particularly within organisational structures. Although analysing how binarised conceptualisations impact lived experiences, intersectionality opens up more pathways into how experiences from those from multiple marginalised groups cross-over. Thus, this study seeks to analyse how gender and intersectionality impact leadership by looking at whether leadership is gendered and therefore whether gender and intersectionality need to be negotiated. The study involved conducting semi-structured interviews with five cis-gendered men, nine cis-gendered women and one gender fluid individual in hopes to understand how they have had to
negotiate their gender and (relevant) intersectional identities in their leadership positions; the interviews were recorded and lasted between 8 minutes and 20 seconds and 1 hour and 13 minutes showing how in-depth and valuable the data set is. The results show that leadership traits do not differ between genders with all participants in this sample demonstrating similar characteristics and attributes of using certain traits depending on the situation. Further, gender tends to be negotiated and used as an advantage to women by how they perform their gender, due to the traditional binarised structures in organisations, although some participants recognise that they only behave in ways that is authentically themselves. Lastly, those with intersectional identities faced more adversity and therefore, needed to negotiate behaviours by confronting prejudices or ignoring bigotries; organisations need to provide unconscious bias training to stimulate
advancements in equalities.

Keywords: gender, intersectionality, masculinity, femininity, trait theory, situational leadership, identity, gender logic, gender roles, gender spectrum, fluidity, privilege

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