Society has formed certain stereotypes surrounding genders and the roles that they play in society based on the qualities that each gender is assumed to have (Lopez & Ensari, 2014; Eagly & Wood, 2012; Heilman, 2012). Leadership is seen as a masculine role because of the similar perceptions between what qualities men possess and what qualities leadership requires. (Koenig et al., 2011). Biases against women in leadership prevent women from successfully gaining high-level positions at the same rate as men, despite equal qualifications (Lopez & Ensari, 2014). There is great debate on how this problem can be resolved. On the one hand, trends toward institutional and policy changes in the 1970’s and 1980’s were intended to create greater equality and help women reduce bias in the workforce. More recently, however, the tone of the conversation has shifted. Books like Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” have seen great popularity as they emphasize the role women have to combat bias through personal empowerment rather than waiting for the system to change. As a consequence of this shift in ideology, a possible shift has occurred in perceptions of where responsibility for change lies. This presents the question: Does exposure to empowerment literature increase perceptions of women’s responsibility to fix the gender inequality issue in the workplace?
- The Effect of Empowerment Literature on Perceptions of Gender Inequality
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