The Best of Systers Blog Gender, Leadership, & Technology
Given Mayer’s recent rise to CEO of Yahoo, there has been a glut of article and links posted to systers about leadership. The most recent article being written by Julie Zeilinger, an undergraduate student, on the topic of feminism and leadership. Or, more specifically, the article is about why there still aren’t a lot of females “taking their place at the table.” This piece pointed out that although women may not be facing blatant sexism in the workplace, the more subtle and psychological effects cause women to not even opt in to leadership positions.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s repeated message about women opting out – the most watched of which is her TED video (although she gave a similar speech at Grace Hopper last Fall). Sandberg’s argument is similar to Zeilinger’s in that she believes that women should be in leadership positions. But, Sandberg goes a bit further in arguing that women choose to opt themselves out before they ever get to the point where they could have the choice of being at the table.
Leadership is difficult. The problem, I think, is that once women step into leadership positions their actions become spotlighted because they are doing something that isn’t seen as typically feminine. In the realm of technology, where gender is already salient because of the disparity between women and men in the field, when women then ascend to an even starker minority, everything becomes fodder for scrutiny. I think for many women, leadership just becomes too much hassle.