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A Gendered Leadership: Aspirations and Perceptions of Leadership among Women in STEM Fields

International Journal on Leadership

Volume 8 Issue 2

Published: 2020
Author(s) Name: Shalini Suryanarayan | Author(s) Affiliation: Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Hindu College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India.
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Abstract

The allocation of leadership roles in an organisation is dependent on several factors apart from organisational culture and work related conditions. It is also governed by societal structure, culture, and overall environment as well as the extent to which individual personalities are willing to seize the initiative and influence organisational decisions in their favour. Gender is an important factor in the discourse about leadership. There are historical, contextual and socio-cultural barriers that often come in the way of women assuming top leadership positions in an organisation in spite of an organisational culture that supports the norm of inclusivity. This article explores the perceptions that women have with regard to their leadership aspirations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs in modern corporate organisations. Based on a comparison between women students of engineering and women executives in information technology organisations, it shows how ideas about leadership and perception of the organisational-self undergo change over the period when women in fact become part of the industry. A background of patriarchy and subordination instils realism in their outlook and impedes women’s growth in organisations, sometimes even by women themselves.

Keywords: Gender, Information Technology Sector, Leadership, Patriarchy, STEM Sector, Women

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