Cultural Explanations for Men’s Dominance of National Leadership Worldwide

Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Political Leadership book series (PSPL)

Abstract

Women’s election to national executive leadership is a rare occurrence. The overwhelming majority of presidents and prime ministers have been—and still are—men. One way to make sense of men’s dominance of executive political office is to look at the role of culture. Our beliefs about how men and women should behave, and how they are the same or different, benefit men politically in myriad ways. And yet, men’s privilege is not entirely automatic; men candidates and politicians also deploy masculinity, embodying the cultural practices and expressions of manhood. Various forms of instability, including political transitions toward democracy, can disrupt these dynamics and create spaces for women to rise. Stereotypically feminine traits, including the perceptions that women are less corrupt, can mean that women candidates for president or prime minister are taken more seriously. Still, more often than not, even in these contexts, men are ultimately elected to lead.

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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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