Feminized management and backlash toward Agentic women: The hidden costs to women of a kinder, gentler image of middle managers

Laurie A. Rudman, Peter Glick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

542 Scopus citations

Abstract

Women who display masculine, agentic traits are viewed as violating prescriptions of feminine niceness (L. A. Rudman, 1998). By legitimizing niceness as an employment criterion, "feminization" of management (requiring both agentic and communal traits for managers) may unintentionally promote discrimination against competent women. Participants made hiring recommendations for a feminized or masculine managerial job. Agentic female job applicants were viewed as less socially skilled than agentic males, but this perception only resulted in hiring discrimination for the feminized, not the masculine, job. Communal applicants (regardless of sex) invariably received low hiring ratings. Thus, women must present themselves as agentic to be hireable, but may therefore be seen as interpersonally deficient. Ironically, the feminization of management may legitimize discrimination against competent, agentic women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1004-1010
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume77
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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