Gender-Based Leadership Barriers

Picture2There are 27 identified gender-based barriers which contribute to unconscious gender bias of women leaders in the workplace. Learning to recognize these barriers is the first step to eliminating them.These barriers manifest across the three levels of society – societal, organizational and individual. Many may appear to be individual issues, but they are actually tied directly to work structures and cultural and organizational norms and assumptions. This can lead to pressure on an individual woman to accept the inequities as justified and find her own way to manage them. However, what needs to change are the organizational norms and assumptions which have the result of keeping women out of leadership positions and making it difficult for those who are in leadership.

Control of Women’s Voices
Cultural Constraints on Women’s Own Choices
Gender Stereotypes
Gender Unconsciousness
Leadership Perceptions

Devaluing of Communal Practice
Exclusion from Informal Networks
Glass Cliff
Lack of Mentoring
Lack of Sponsorship
Lack of Support
Male Gatekeeping
Male Organizational Culture
Organizational Ambivalence
Queen Bee Effect
Salary Inequality
Two-Person Career Structure
Unequal Standards
Workplace Harassment

Communication Style Constraints
Conscious Unconsciousness
Psychological Glass Ceiling
Work-Life Conflict

More details and examples of these barriers are available in “Making the invisible visible: A cross-sector analysis of gender-based leadership barriers(Human Resources Development Quarterly) and “An overview of gender-based leadership barriers” – Chapter 17 of Handbook of Research on Gender and Leadership.