What is it about?

Men and women are typically described using different language. Traditionally, people have seen men as more associated with traits like independence and power, making some people think men will be better leaders. We look at how the language used to describe people changes when companies hire women as leaders. We find that organizations who appoint women as CEOs and board members come to associate women in general with traits that are associated with leaders. We don't find women are seen as less likeable as a result.

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Why is it important?

Gender inequality is still a huge problem - only 8% of the CEOs of the primary large companies in the U.S. are women. Stereotypes are a primary reason for such gender inequality, but changing stereotypes is hard. We show that hiring women as leaders can contribute to changing stereotypes in language, which could lead to people seeing women as more suited to leadership positions. This may allow for greater gender equality in the future.

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This page is a summary of: Hiring women into senior leadership positions is associated with a reduction in gender stereotypes in organizational language, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2026443119.
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