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This groundbreaking collection introduces the concept of gender power as a pervasive but overlooked force within institutions, particularly U.S. politics. It examines the ideological dimensions of masculinity—masculinism—and its pervasive and reinforcing effects. The essays examine gender as a property of institutions, something with deep symbolic meaning, as well as an analytic category importantly distinctive from sex. Theoretically rich, Gender Power, Leadership and Governance contributes to understandings of power and leadership as it provides a new perspective on men, women, and their relationships to governance.
Essays reveal the multiplicity of ways "compulsory masculinity" is imposed upon female leaders who wish to succeed in a man's world, and analyzes the use of interpersonal means to ensure masculine advantage. For example, only one woman in Congress was able to have a direct effect on any reproductive policy; other women experienced sexual harassment by offensive men, which resulted in their being distracted from performing as leaders.
Until now, studies of gender within the field of political science have focused centrally on women. Men have been studied as gendered beings whose thinking has shaped politics in ways advantageous to them, but this volume is unique in crossing multiple levels of analysis and demonstrating the interactive and reinforcing effects of gender power. The book is required reading for political scientists who have frequently been blind to masculinist assumptions and cultural belief systems when gender roles collide with leadership demands for women. It will also appeal to those in public administration and policy, sociology, and business studies.