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A man´s world? – The impact of a male dominated environment on female leadership

Authors Andreas Born
Eva Ranehill
Anna Sandberg
Publisher University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Gothenburg
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Economics
Language en
Keywords leadership, gender differences, experiment
Subject categories Economics


Despite the significant growth in female labor force participation and educational attainment over the past decades, few women reach leadership positions. In this study, we explore whether male dominated environments, in and of themselves, adversely affect women´s willingness to lead a team. We find that women randomly assigned to male majority teams are less willing to become team leaders than women assigned to female majority teams. Analyses of potential mechanisms show that women in male majority teams are less confident in their relative performance, less influential, and more swayed by others in team discussions. They also (accurately) believe that they will receive less support from team members in a leadership election. Taken together, our results indicate that the absence of women in male dominated contexts may be a self-reinforcing process.

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