Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers
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Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers

Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore

In a changing world where women have dominated as graduates from universities in the West, recent research has shown that the same trend is also strikingly evident in the newly emerging markets. Tapping into this female talent pool is extremely important and advancing women’s careers has become a key business issue. This Handbook lays out a number of promising approaches. First the business case for doing so is presented. The challenges facing women are reviewed, followed by various programs that address particular needs such as mentoring, leadership development programs for women, work and family initiatives, and succession planning. Finally, case studies of award-winning organizational initiatives are described.
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Chapter 12: Prejudice against women leaders: sex of voice

Fiona Sheridan


This chapter begins with the premise that women may be perceived to be unsuitable leaders based on characteristics which are unrelated to their capacity to lead or their merit as potential leaders. In particular, it focuses on the potential impact of the sound of a woman’s voice as a primal trigger for realised prejudice and discrimination driven by negative assumptions and gender stereotypes among listeners. The approach taken here brings together research on the role congruity model of prejudice towards women leaders (Eagly and Johannesen-Schmidt, 2001; Eagly and Karau, 2002) and sex of voice (Sachs, 1975; Smith, 1985; Ko et al., 2006). Specifically, the current study extends the role congruity theory by including sex of voice as a gender-related trigger which may activate gender stereotypes about women and about leaders (Sachs, 1975; Zimmerman and West, 1975; Maltz and Borker,1982; Smith, 1985; Nadler and Nadler, 1998; Graddol and Swann, 1989; Rosener, 1990; Laver, 1994; Boden, 1994; Case, 1994; Tannen, 1995; Coates, 1996; Eagly and Johannesen-Schmidt,2001; Vinnicombe and Singh, 2002; Eagly and Karau, 2002; Eagly, 2004; Ko et al., 2006).

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