Hillary Clinton has long been a role model for women in male-dominated fields, but a new study proves that her status as an inspiration is taken quite literally. After conflicting reports from a 2010 study posited that the self-perception of women was detrimentally affected by high-powered ("elite") female figures in leadership, a group of social researchers decided to myth-bust the shit out of it.
Their new study, gathered from observing 81 women and 68 Swiss university students make virtual-reality "public speeches" about decreasing student fees, is printed in the May issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The students took part in a program that placed them in a room with six Sim-like "people" (the control) and four possible variables: some participants received a poster of Bill Clinton in the back of the virtual room, others Hillary Clinton, others Angela Merkel, and some none at all.
Researchers evaluated the participants' speeches for timing, verbal clarity, use of body language and the participants' own self-evaluation afterwards. When the virtual wall in the back was blank, or featured a Bill Clinton photo, the men spoke longer than the women. But the women whose rooms had a photo of Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel, they spoke longer and evaluated themselves with higher markings afterwards.
Imagine if we hung that Meryl and Hillary selfie in every room! We'd all acquire a buttload of Oscars, the power of flight and general loveliness.
'Just Seeing Hillary Clinton's Face Improves Women's Public Speaking' [Popular Science]
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