What is it about?

This paper examines the views and attitudes of senior female executives in Greek advertising agencies. The authors study female leadership intersecting with age, profession, and ethnicity, within a patriarchal, Southern European society and a male dominated industry. Research findings from twelve interviews reaffirm the motherhood penalty but also demonstrate how successful women refuse to be part of the boys’ club, deconstruct the male stereotype, and engage in fierce counter-stereotyping while showing lack of solidarity and empathy toward other women. After years at the intersection of two male dominated cultural contexts, these women have limited visibility of the barriers they encounter and see themselves as an embodied exception proving the rule, not as agents of change. Thus, individual success leads to collective defeat and to the prevalence of male dominance.

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Why is it important?

This research contributes by presenting the view of successful women in adverse intersections, who demonstrate accumulated frustration, lack of collective gender consciousness and lack of a sense of self- fulfillment.

Perspectives

At the intersection of male dominated environments and age, success takes its toll. When women finally make it, what do they see? Findings indicate accumulated frustration and resentment. What does it take for women to experience a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment? This is important especially in the southern context in which women are far less likely to hold power. It is also important for gender studies overall, if the intention is to challenge inequality and enact change. If the self does not perceive the influential intersections, accumulated frustration blurs the personal and social significance of female success. What is the point of succeeding if resentment and frustration is all that lies ahead?

Dr. Georgia-Zozeta Miliopoulou
DEREE - The American College of Greece

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This page is a summary of: The toll of success: Female leaders in the “women‐friendly” Greek advertising agencies, Gender Work and Organization, April 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/gwao.12636.
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