SHarvard researchers have found that voters — men in particular — are prejudiced against female leaders. No shit, you say. But not just in the U.S.: A study was conducted in certain villages in India, where there's an amendment that mandates that at least 1/3 of government positions be filled by women. Writes Diana Wolf for Mental Floss: "This mandate allowed the researchers to study the attitude toward female leaders and how exposure to female leadership changed those attitudes." See, when the voters first had a female leader, they rated her performance as low (even if she actually did a great job). But the second time a woman was in charge, the voters found her to be okay: Exposure to a female leader reduces prejudice by 50 to 100%. What this really means is that when people think about a woman telling them what to do, they immediately think negative thoughts. Then they find out: It's not so bad!It makes perfect sense that the cure for a prejudice against women in charge is exposure to women in charge. Just like if you have preconceived notions about black people, or Muslims, or gays, getting to know some black, Muslim or gay people will assist you in having an informed, open-minded viewpoint. But what doesn't make sense is where this stinking thinking comes from. Why do people — in India and elsewhere — think that a putting a woman in charge spells disaster? Commenters on this very blog have said that having a woman as a boss can be a nightmare — a bitchy, menopausal, backstabbing nightmare. But other commenters have called their female bosses "whip-smart" "goddesses" who are incredibly loyal. In any case, now that we have this research — that simply having a female leader can stop you from hating female leaders — what the hell do we do with it? Do we need mandates, like India, to force government to include more women? Or do we just wait for more women to get elected, and for this prejudice to fix itself? Does Exposure to Powerful Women Reduce Prejudice? [Mental Floss] Earlier: Female Bosses Have To Choose Between Being Loved & Being Feared Would You Rather Work For A Lady Or A Dude? (I Know, Depends Who's Keeping You At The Office)
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