Gender, Leadership, and Vocational Education

J. Moss, Jr., Q. Jensrud

Nearly half of vocational education professionals are female, yet few leaders are female. Is there any difference between men and women in their effectiveness as leaders? To answer this, Moss and Jensrud review a number of studies comparing female and male managers, including studies based on the Leader Effectiveness Index and the Leader Attributes Inventory (MDS-815 and MDS-730). Most studies find that female administrators are superior, by a small but significant difference, to males. The authors note that various biases could account for this difference. For instance, because the socialization process for women encourages an empowering, facilitating leadership style, which is now seen as desirable, females may be judged as more effective. Moss and Jensrud conclude that the best route in seeking leaders is to disregard gender. If discrimination against women continues, they warn, the better leaders will be lost.

MDS-769 / January 1997

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