Gender, Communication, and the Leadership Gap

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Gender, Communication, and the Leadership Gap is the sixth volume in the Women and Leadership: Research, Theory, and Practice series. This cross-disciplinary series, from the International Leadership Association, enhances leadership knowledge and improves leadership development of women around the world. The purpose of this volume is to highlight connections between the fields of communication and leadership to help address the problem of underrepresentation of women in leadership. Readers will profit from the accessible writing style as they encounter cutting-edge scholarship on gender and leadership. Chapters of note cover microaggressions, authentic leadership, courageous leadership, inclusive leadership, implicit bias, career barriers and levers, impression management, and the visual rhetoric of famous women leaders. Because women in leadership positions occupy a contested landscape, one goal of this collection is to clarify the contradictory communication dynamics that occur in everyday interactions, in national and international contexts, and when leadership is digital. Another goal is to illuminate the complexities of leadership identity, intersectionality, and perceptions that become obstacles on the path to leadership. The renowned thinkers and scholars in this volume hail from both Leadership and Communication disciplines. The book begins with Sally Helgesen and Brenda J. Allen. Helgesen, co-author of The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work, discusses the two-fold challenge women face as they struggle to articulate their visions. Her chapter offers six practices women can use to relieve this struggle. Allen, author of the groundbreaking book, Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity, discusses the implications of how inclusive leadership matters to women and what it means to think about women as people who embody both dominant and non-dominant social identity categories. She then offers practical communication strategies and an intersectional ethic to the six signature traits of highly inclusive leaders. Each chapter includes practical solutions from a communication and leadership perspective that all readers can employ to advance the work of equality. Some solutions will be of use in organizational contexts, such as leadership development and training initiatives, or tools to change organizational culture. Some solutions will be of use to individuals, such as how to identify and respond productively to micro-aggressions or how to be cautious rather than optimistic about practicing authentic leadership. The writing in this volume also reflects a range of styles, from in-depth scholarship that produces new knowledge to shorter forums that feature interesting ideas worth considering.

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