chapter  11
The Gendered Nature of Leadership Analysis: Lessons from Women Leaders as Executives in Anglo-American Systems
ByPatricia Lee Sykes
Pages 22

Most Anglo-American political systems pose significant challenges for women who become executive leaders. Their adversarial institutional arrangements generate expectations of the executive that favor traditional masculine traits such as strength, decisiveness, determination and confrontation. Furthermore, the dominant Anglo ideology of liberalism – a philosophy based on individual rights – limits the ability of women executives to change public policy in ways that serve the particular needs and interests of women. Neoliberalism in the past few decades has only reinforced the bias and limits of classical liberalism. Finally, the presidentialisation of parliamentary systems (and the politicisation of presidential ones) intensifies the masculine character of the top executive, while diminishing the importance of cabinet – at a time when more women are moving into cabinet posts. yet scholarly analysis has generally overlooked the gendered nature of executive leadership in the Anglo world, suggesting that the scholarship as well as the subject is distinctly ‘masculinist’, a term used in gender studies to denote the privileged status of masculine attributes (diStefano 1983; duerst-Lahti and Kelly 1995b).