Survey: Women's Attitudes Blocking their Ascent to Leadership Positions

March 7, 2007 ( - Women's perceived attitudes may be holding them back from gaining leadership positions, according to a recent survey that suggests the commonly held stereotypes of women as "moody" or "catty" could be keeping them out of the corner executive suite.

class=”textbodyblack”> The Work & Power survey of 60,000 respondents by Elle and found that more than half say gender has no effect on leadership ability, but 41% of male respondents said men are more likely to be good leaders. One third of women agreed with that assessment and 37% of women said they would rather work for a man than a woman.

class=”textbodyblack”> While more than half (54%) of respondents say they had no preference, 30% of men and 37% of women would rather work for a man and 12% of women would rather work for a female, where 13% of men would rather work for a female.

class=”textbodyblack”> “One cannot live in a sexist society without absorbing some of those messages, which make women feel worse about themselves and suspicious of other women,” said Janet Lever, a professor of sociology at California State University in Los Angeles, who worked on the survey, according to “The enemy is omnipresent cultural messages, not women themselves.”

class=”textbodyblack”> The survey also found that 71% of women say they have to work harder to reap the same respect that men get, which is far greater than the percentage of men (36%) who agree with that assessment.However, women try to avoid showing too much confidence and aggression, for fear of being labeled “bitchy” but also don’t want to seem wishy-washy, indecisive or emotional.

class=”textbodyblack”> The stereotypes most often assigned to women were “moody,” “bitchy,” “gossipy” and “emotional,” with the most popular term being “catty.” However, women did get high marks for being problem solvers and fostering a more supportive work environment.

For the full survey results visit .