Modern approaches to research gender aspects of leadership

Volyn Regional State Administration, Ukraine

Problem setting. History has shown that human society has been constantly divided into groups with certain hierarchical structures, and at a certain stage of their development there has always been a leader.

Accordingly, the ability of some people to influence others has always been of great interest. And in times of social tension, government cataclysms, the phenomenon of leadership acquires special, not only theoretical, but also practical value, forcing scientists to study and analyse the origins, factors, models, consequences and other important aspects of this phenomenon. That is why the natural and understandable interest of scientists in the phenomenon of leadership.

At the same time, the rapid growth in the modern society of equalization of social rights of men and women adds to the urgency of the problem. In return it leads to a change in traditional notions of leadership role. However, despite changes in today's "globalized" world, society continues to believe in gender stereotypes. In particular, only a man can hold a leading position in various spheres of activities, that a family and a career for a woman are incompatible, that women are more emotional and less prone to risk, and so on.

However, all these stereotypes in terms of numerous scientific studies are no longer relevant today, as they are based only on the psychological and physiological characteristics of women.

Accordingly, what is new today in the study of leadership is its gender aspect, which requires further research.

Recent research and publications analysis. For the first time, gender leadership research was conducted by White (1945), Harwell (1953), and others in the United States. During this period a new stage in women's studies and feminist studies began in foreign scientific thought, which arose through active feminist critique of traditional views after the publication of Simone de Beauvoir's book The Second Sex (1949).

Many scientific developments of well-known foreign and domestic scientists are devoted to the issues of women's leadership and management, namely: K. Bartoli, D. Martin, R. Kenter, J. Jorstad, G. Steins, D. Levinson, T. Bendas, E. Chugunova, V. Shakhovy, I. Kalabikhina, A. Chirikova, A. Shestakov, D. Vitkin, A. Lipentsev, S. Zahurska, I. Tiurina, T. Khokhlov and others. The works of E. Eagle, D. O'Leary, J. Bowman, S. Sutton and others are devoted to gender issues of leadership. Retrospectives of these studies and their development in modern realities can be seen in the works of such scientists as N. Pidbutska and V. Spitsyna, A. Veselska, S. Zahurska, V. Yaroshenko, L. Kormych, O. Posukhovska, L. Usanova and M. Nesterenko and others.

A significant number of books and articles on gender has been published, and a number of international specialized journals (Politics and Gender), Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, there are also scientific schools that study different areas of gender relations.

All of the above gives us the opportunity to review the achievements of modern leadership in the light of gender. The key issue of all these studies is the phenomenon of gender leadership. However, despite the large number of scientific papers, there is still no consensus among scientists on this phenomenon and aspects of gender issues that are relevant and in need of thorough research.

Highlighting previously unsettled parts of the general problem. The issue of studying modern approaches to the research of gender aspects of leadership is relevant for public administration. In this regard, the author analysed theoretical approaches and empirical research on gender aspects of leadership in management, taking into account the requirements of today.

Paper main body. In considering different approaches to the study of gender aspects of leadership, we found that a characteristic feature of the rhetoric of many researchers was the contradiction in views on the impact of gender on leading position in government. For example, some scholars argue that differences between leaders of different sexes are a reflection of common gender differences, while another group argues that female leaders do not differ from male leaders in leadership style, performance, or behavior. As for the third group of researchers, they emphasize that women's leaders are different from men, but this is not due to gender differences.

Therefore, we have reason to say that the requirements for a woman leader in society are quite contradictory. In particular, on the one hand, she has to achieve recognition. On the other hand – such qualities and traits in the behaviour of a woman as persistence, stubbornness and resilience are considered in society far from "non-feminine".

Accordingly, in the context of our study, we conclude that today the answer to the question of whether a woman can be a leader is less relevant than the answers to the question of how and within which strategies the Ukrainian woman leader can be implemented and be most effective for the authorities. Resolving this issue today is important not only for women, but also for the whole of modern Ukrainian society, if it does not want to lose the leadership potential of the largest social group.

Conclusions of the research and prospects for further studies. Summarizing the experience of domestic and foreign research and conducting some analysis of existing theories, concepts and models of the phenomenon of gender leadership – those where gender is considered the main factor, those in which the leadership factor is preferred, and theories in which both aspects are considered equivalent, it is useful to mention that the results of empirical research are quite contradictory and not structured, and accordingly this requires the development of a certain concept.

At the same time, as a rule, gender inequality in leadership is explained by scientists by the existence of certain gender and cultural stereotypes. In particular:

  • society places higher demands on the competence of a woman leader than on a man leader;
  • in groups dominated by women, preference is given to men, sometimes solely on the basis of gender;
  • a woman with masculine traits in a "masculine society" is usually doomed to internal conflict, and this will significantly affect the effectiveness of her activities;
  • a woman's desire to become a leader can be seen as a struggle with a complex of their own inferiority;
  • the initial perception of a man-leader, as a rule, is higher, because in society his status is also higher.

Accordingly, we conclude that the issue of forming a woman leader's personality in government, actualization and development of her leadership potential, the influence of women leaders on decision-making and government activities, motives of behaviour and attitude of women, problems and difficulties which she faces on the way to management positions, as well as after their achievement.

Therefore, we believe that in accordance with the focus of our study, namely the study of gender aspects of leadership in government, we should pay attention to existing models of behaviour of modern women leaders in government, as well as the development of individual psychological qualities that would allow women further to demonstrate leadership skills and promote their productivity and select the most effective models for their further use in government. And start looking for methods and ways to combine female and male leadership in government to develop a style of management of authorities that can be able to ensure full gender synergies in governance.

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