Women Can’t Lead?

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click A recent Pew Research study queried the public about gender differences in leadership. It turns out that women are the big losers. Why? Because women can’t lead.

The study determined the top eight most important traits for leaders according to public opinion. Each of the traits was considered either very important – or absolutely essential – by two-thirds of the 2,250 adults surveyed. In order, these traits were: Honest, Intelligent, Hardworking, Decisive, Ambitious, Compassionate, Outgoing, and Creative.

The study then went on to ask whether men or women best exemplified each of these traits. How do you think the women fared?  Of the eight leadership traits, women far outperformed men in five of them. And I mean they FAR outperformed men. Women and men tie in Hardworking and in Ambitious. But men outperformed women in only one category: Decisiveness. Sorry, guys.

Those may seem like some powerful arguments in support of female leadership, but as you read on, you’ll understand why I claim that women can’t lead.

The study goes on to give results for leadership in political office, where women hold more than eight times as many leadership positions as they do in the corporate world. But that’s not saying much. There, women account for only about 2% of the nation’s CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. So why are their numbers so low?

Because women can’t lead.

By now I suspect that many of my readers will consider me to be a misogynist, someone who hates women. Actually, in respect to this particular topic, I might more accurately be called a misandrist (a word you don’t hear very often, but is defined as someone who hates men.) I don’t really care how I’m labeled. The simple fact is that women just can’t lead.

But why? That’s the real question. If women show such a command over men in all but three of these eight attributes – two of which were ties, then why can’t they lead?

They can’t lead because we don’t let them. That’s it and that’s all.

Discrimination, resistance to change, and what some call “old boys’ networks” are cited in the study as reasons why women don’t hold nearly enough top leadership positions in business. Other reasons are also cited, but the perception of men holding women back is rife. And this is why the men lose, too. Of those believed to have vastly superior abilities to lead in our businesses – women – few actually do.

So men, we need to do a bit of introspection. If for only the interests of our own businesses, it is in our best interests to bring in leaders who are women.

Well there you have it: Women can’t lead… because in many cases, we don’t let them. Men, if you want to get ahead, hire the people who far outscore you in honesty, intelligence, being outgoing, and creativity: Women. The only place males had a strong win in this study was in decisiveness.

Well, men… use it!


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6 Responses to Women Can’t Lead?

  1. Kate Geiger says:

    Point well taken. So glad you decided to send that out!

  2. In an interview between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop was asked (paraphrasing) “in order to take the first steps towards world peace, what would you say we have to do?”. The Archbishop laughed and answered, “The answer is quite simple. Hand everything over to the women!”

  3. Mary Lynn Tobin says:

    Nicely done.
    Here’s how women in California fare: http://bit.ly/v5vxUA – recent study at UC Davis (by one of my folks)

  4. Jeffrey Tobin says:

    There is always a great deal of discussion about equity in regard to this topic. But what is equitable? 50/50 seems fair, but is it the proper goal?

    Many want to see significantly more women in the workforce, as the current numbers feel quite inequitable. But if discrimination and other negatives no longer held sway over women, I wonder what the balance would naturally become. 80/20 men to women? 50/50? It would be interesting to know what people perceive as the “right” balance, and what that balance might naturally be if there were no roadblocks to the success of women in business.

  5. Hmmm. . . .we outperform men in the “creative” trait. So, maybe we should use that creativity to think of a way to show that we can work side by side to get things done, instead of sitting back and (if Jeff is right!) allowing ourselves to be followers. Ladies?

  6. Jean ( FV Wildcat) says:

    Yes, women can lead, but this world began with a foundation of men being in control and having their way. This world is now in terrible shape. So let’s look at the leadership. Women can, but men will never really play fair. God said, what’s first will be last and last WILL BE FIRST. Look out men, it’s coming around.

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