Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies


We studied whether the incongruity between the female gender role and stereotypically masculine leadership roles can lead people, particularly men and sex-typed individuals, to negatively perceive women in this type of leadership role. A study was designed to investigate whether the gender of a potential appointee to the historically masculine leadership role of Secretary of Defense, in either a time of peace or terror, affected people's perceptions of this person. Fifty-three participants read one of four articles containing biographical information about either a male or female candidate for the post, in either a peace context or a terror context. We predicted that the male and female candidates would be rated as equally competent. We predicted, however, that the female candidate would be rated as less influential and would acquire less voting support than her male counterpart in both contexts. Furthermore, we hypothesized that both the male participants, as compared to female participants, and the sextyped participants, in comparison to others, would rate the female candidate as less influential and would offer her less support across both contexts. Our results revealed that though there were no significant differences between the male senator's and female senator's overall competence, influence, and voting likelihood ratings, the female senator did, in fact, face more subtle forms of discrimination. Though we found that the male candidate's competency ratings and voting likelihood ratings were nearly identical, the participants gave the candidate senator high competency ratings, but lower voting likelihood ratings. We also found a significant threeway interaction between Senator Gender, Participant Gender, and Context. This interaction indicated that male participants rated the female senator as less able to cope with stress in the terror condition than the male senator.