Gender Issues in Corporate Leadership

Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics:1177-1189 (2013)
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Gender greatly impacts access to opportunities, potential, and success in corporate leadership roles. We begin with a general presentation of why such discussion is necessary for basic considerations of justice and fairness in gender equality and how the issues we raise must impact any ethical perspective on gender in the corporate workplace. We continue with a breakdown of the central categories affecting the success of women in corporate leadership roles. The first of these includes gender-influenced behavioral factors, such as the requirements and expectations of gendered verbal and nonverbal communication styles as well as appearance. We move on to address the impact of family on corporate leadership opportunities and success, discussing the asymmetrical evaluation of an individual’s potential, authority, and competence based on gender stereotypes of familial obligations and expectations. Finally, we address how gender impacts access to networking and sponsorship opportunities and the long-term effects of systematic limitations on women’s inclusion in the upper echelons of corporate leadership. We conclude with a summary of the questions and issues raised by our discussion and direct individuals to consider how different ethical systems and moral requirements might influence their interpretations of gender and leadership in the corporate workplace.



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Marilea Bramer
Metropolitan State University
Devora Shapiro
Ohio University

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