The journal of mental health administration

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 419–429 | Cite as

Great expectations: Challenges for women as mental health administrators

  • Susan D. Scheidt


Although women have made many strides in the area of leadership, stereotypes still exist that limit their power. Traditional concepts of femininity have not typically been associated with strength and competence. This article describes an inpatient unit at San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, which is led by a group of women. The unit houses a women-focused treatment team specializing in treating women who have serious mental illness with histories of severe trauma, including poverty and violence. The article describes the challenges and rewards available to women leaders in this type of setting. Four areas of women’s leadership are explored: the stereotypes women have about each other as leaders, the expectations and biases of staff and trainees, the projections of patients onto women leaders, and women’s leadership in relation to department administration. Strategies for addressing biases in these areas and developing women’s leadership conclude the article.


Childhood Sexual Abuse Leadership Position Inpatient Unit Sexual Trauma Mental Health Setting 
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Copyright information

© Association of Mental Health Administrators 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan D. Scheidt
    • 1
  1. 1.San Francisco General HospitalUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan Francisco

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