This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

What You Know Or Where You Go: Political Cultural Analysis Of Gender Stereotyping And Leadership Positions




Gill, Kimberly

Type of Degree



Political Science


Although women in United States society have made significant strides toward gaining occupational equality with men, it can be argued that gender bias regarding women’s role in society and ability to serve in leadership positions hinders certain opportunities for advancement. In spite of the increasing number of women not only in the workforce but also in political office, women’s representation in upper leadership positions remains relatively low. However, recent changes in terms of traditional gender roles and the division of labor within the home are becoming more prevalent.Obtaining information relating to the degree of adherence to traditional gender roles by certain political cultures (primarily traditionalistic) can assist in determining not only what obstacles women face in these areas in terms of obtaining leadership positions but also contribute gaining greater insight in regards to what may be hindering our next generation of women leaders. The purpose of this work is to highlight areas which through reinforcement of traditional gender roles potentially inhibit female advancement to top leadership positions. More specifically states with dominant traditional political cultures allow for less avenues of advancement and by way of public opinion create additional barriers. The foundation for this work builds on the notion that states displaying primarily traditionalistic cultures will be more likely to reinforce prescribed gender roles in terms of “proper” behaviors, attitudes, abilities, traits, aspirations, and occupations. There are several theories from a variety of disciplines which contribute to the growing field of gender studies. It is with this in mind that perhaps a broader understanding of societal perceptions in relation to female leadership advancement and unseen barriers may assist in preparing the next generation of women leaders.