It may not surprise you to hear that only 26 percent of c-level positions at S&P 500 companies are held by women. According to research conducted at University of Buffalo School of Management, men are still more likely to be perceived as leaders than women.
The researchers point to societal pressure and differences in personality traits for the gender gap. Men are more likely to assertively voice their opinion during discussions, which makes them appear more leader-like. Sensitivity and concern for others is stereotypically a female trait – which is not viewed as a sign of leadership. Ironically, this is the very characteristic that makes leaders successful.
Society’s unconscious bias against nurturing communal traits typically displayed by women can lead organizations to hire the wrong people for leadership roles. They end up with people who are loud and confident, but who lack the ability to support team development and success.