1. Discuss the challenges women face in leadership that may help us understand why there are so few women holding the athletic director position at Division I universities.
Women are not new to facing challenges and coming across barriers that limit or stall their progression within organizations and landing leadership opportunities. Women Rising explains to us how persistent gender bias often times disrupts the learning process at the heart of becoming a leader. The research shows that the process for women to be leaders is much more difficult than it is for men (Women Rising). The want and motivation to lead are attacked from the moment women realize that it is in them, due to these gender biases being in place. An example of a bias that is often noticed would be: behavior that is considered assertive in men will often times be perceived as an aggressive behavior in women, and thus denigrated rather than rewarded (Women Rising). In most cultures and societies, there are specific gender roles that are ascribed to either men or women. Men must be assertive, women must be submissive. Men must be decisive, women must be caring. These double binds are direct hinders to women trying to seek leadership. I believe the gender bias is the largest challenge that women have to face. Not being a woman, I find it a little difficult to completely express my perception on how women are treated and what they are up against. However, I think the language we use and stereotypes we perpetuate are limiting women. For example, I often see women get dismissed in conversations about current events in sports because the men in the room don’t feel like they know anything, simply because they are a woman. Although on a smaller scale, similar mindsets ...
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...that to get in the way of making sure their players were also bettering themselves outside of the sport.
In Women Rising and Women and the Labyrinth Leadership there were passages that focused on confidence and how it played a factor in women gaining leadership roles. At one point McKeever had lost confidence in herself, which had put her leadership in jeopardy. It affected her approach to her job in regards to hiring and recruiting, which went against her values. Knowing she was making decisions she didn’t believe in, she was able to contact help and not be afraid of hearing other people’s opinions. I believe this is an example of individualized consideration, another dimension of transformational leadership. I’ve come to this belief because she was able to build a supportive environment around herself that wouldn’t only benefit the swimmers but herself as well.
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