Cutting-Edge Leadership

The best in current leadership research and theory, from cultivating charisma to transforming your organization

Why We Need More Women Leaders

Would it be a better world if women had 50% of the power and leadership?

There is a large and growing body of research on gender and leadership. I am at the annual conference of the International Leadership Association in Montreal, and listening to renowned psychologist Alice Eagly pose the question of what would happen if more women attained leadership position in the U.S. (and the world). Here are some of the potential outcomes (of course this is extrapolating from the research on gender and leadership):

• There would be greater focus on childcare, healthcare, and education—issues that women, who have more social compassion and caring than men, champion

• There would be less corruption (women are more ethically-minded than men)

• There would be more focus on equality and eliminating poverty (men focus more on free market issues and individualism)

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• There would be less bullying and misbehavior in the workplace (women are more transformational, and more effective leaders—a point I’ve discussed before)

• The markets would likely be more stable, without the recent meltdowns (women are less risk-taking than men)

• There likely would not have been the US government shutdown (women from both political parties played a major role in driving the resolution)

• It would be a more peaceful world.

Of course, as some of my colleagues have mentioned some potential drawbacks, for example unless the entire world had greater representation of women in their governments, the U.S. might be at risk globally from more war-mongering nations.

How’s this for a discussion starter?

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Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College.

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