An excerpt from David Smith, et al., “The Different Words We Use to Describe Male and Female Leaders,” Harvard Business Review, May 25, 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/05/the-different-words-we-use-to-describe-male-and-female-leaders.
For starters, in terms of sheer numbers of attributes, we found no gender difference in the number of positive attributes assigned, but women were assigned significantly more negative attributes.
Our research on leadership attributes found significant differences in the assignment of 28 leadership attributes when applied to men and women. While men were more often assigned attributes such as analytical, competent, athletic and dependable, women were more often assigned compassionate, enthusiastic, energetic and organized. Consistent with our results, societal attitudes suggest that women leaders are described as more compassionate (the most assigned attribute overall) and organized than men leaders. In contrast, women were more often evaluated as inept, frivolous, gossip, excitable, scattered, temperamental, panicky, and indecisive, while men were more often evaluated as arrogant and irresponsible.
A huge body of work has found that when women are collaborative and communal, they are not perceived as competent—but when they emphasize their competence, they’re seen as cold and unlikable, in a classic “double bind.
An excerpt from“2010 National Survey of Congregations,” Faith Communities Today, https://faithcommunitiestoday.org/wp-content/ uploads/2019/01/2010FrequenciesV1.pdf.
Faith Communities Today 2010 found 12 percent of congregations in the US had a female as senior or sole ordained leader. The numbers are even lower for evangelical congregations, with only 9 percent having a female senior or sole leader. While 71 percent of Protestants are supportive of female pastors, only 39 percent of evangelicals were supportive. Research reported in the book, Women Who Preached the Word, indicates those numbers are even lower. Despite this, only 12 percent of women felt they’d been treated differently because of their gender and only 3 percent believe they’d been held back because of their gender. These numbers are similar to the expressed sentiment of men (14 percent and 5 percent), except men felt more strongly that they’d been treated differently and held back. Interestingly, according to Pew research, 55 percent of evangelicals are women.
Excerpts from Edward C. Lehman, “Research on Lay Church Members Attitudes toward Women Clergy: An Assessment,” Review of Religious Research 28, no. 4 (1987): 319–29, https://www.jstor.org/stable/3511637.
After contact with women ministers, especially contact in-role, the level of receptivity tends to increase . . . (p. 319)
While the percent of congregations and individuals open to accepting female pastoral leadership is slowly increasing, there is also some evidence that church members experiencing the successful leadership of one ordained woman do not necessarily generalize to others (Carroll, et al, 1983; and Lehman, 1985a). “Our Mary” may be viewed as a wonderfully competent woman, but Mary is also viewed as unique in her abilities to do “a man’s job.” While the next woman candidate won’t be starting at “scratch” when she applies for the position, she will still have to prove herself as another exception to the dominant pattern of assumptions that the ordained ministry is really a man’s job . . . (p. 325)
The major culprit in this pattern is not conscious and malicious sexism. Rather it is the latent institutionalized assumptions about the nature of God, the Church, and its traditions that repeatedly call members back from the brink of experimentation and major change. (p. 326)