Asking whether female CEOs and politicians have a different, "better" grasp on unchangeable ethics is a sticky question for a few reasons — it oversimplifies and glosses over powerful women who have made corrupt personal or professional choices and suggests that only men can be id-driven, complex, flawed leaders.
In terms of politics alone, Debbie Walsh, the Director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, told The Daily Beast that female and male politicians often get into the game for different psychological reasons. Women recognize an issue and realize they have to get into politics in order to change it from the inside, whereas men get into politics as a career move first and search for issues once they're in.
In their personal lives, women have been found to cheat on their partners as often as men have. But as it's become a theme in the last few years that primarily men experience falls from grace due to unsavory sex scandals, whereas women only do quite rarely.
Two outliers are cited in the piece, among more than a few: North Carolina 1989 mayoral candidate Sue Myrick admitted to having an affair with her husband when he was still married to another woman. A raunchy photo of former congressional candidate Krystal Ball was met with controversy in 2010, but she was outraged at the response: "I'm pretty angry about it. I think this is incredibly sexist... [s]ociety has to accept that women of my generation have sexual lives that are going to leak into the public sphere."
Studies are being conducted as to whether women actually do act more ethically than men in the private sector. One such study released in April on corporate fraud conducted on gendered lines found that women, unsurprisingly, had less of an opportunity to commit fraud — either due to their less visible job titles or their exclusion from a crime ring. Three out of four rings featured an all-male group. Additional research determined that while women's ethics are relatively unbendable, men's ethics are more relative.
After conducting four studies on the matter, Laura Kray, a Professor at the Haas School of Business at Berkeley, clarifies: "When men are in a domain where they are concerned about proving their masculinity, it leads them to engage in negotiation tactics that are more ethically lenient."
Men are also known to engage in more risky professional behaviors, whereas women are more risk-averse. One thing we know for sure is that gender diversity on high-octane boards leads to higher productivity and financial gain.
'Do Female CEOs Behave More Ethically?' [The Daily Beast]
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