Conference “Women leaders: breaking stereotypes? Challenges and limitations”

Dr. Patricia Elgoibar and Dr. Janice Byrne
at 7.00 pm
Paris Campus



The conference will be held in both French and English

Globally, significant efforts are being made to address the gender imbalance in leadership. In France, gender quotas enforced by the Copé-Zimmerman law have drastically increased the number of women on French boards. In May 2016, Isabelle Kocher, became the first female CEO of a CAC 40 company, Engie (ex GDF Suez).
Today’s innovative organizations increasingly demonstrate the significance of connectivity, communication, and collaborative sharing in the workplace: all stereotypically feminine traits. In a global survey of 64,000 people in 13 countries, two-thirds of respondents (both genders), ranked feminine leadership traits as essential to solving today’s most pressing problems in business, education, government and more.
However, while the tide is changing and more women are being elevated into leadership roles, there is still much work to do. The French experience shows that there are many women who are well qualified to serve as public company directors, but who are not routinely recruited. Even though there are more women who are qualified and willing to take on leadership positions, they continue to encounter barriers to access due to the stubborn persistence of the “glass ceiling” phenomena (Eagly and Carli, 2007).
In this conference, we aim to discuss the challenges and opportunities that a more ‘feminine’ form of leadership implies, as well as address the obstacles that women may face on their ascent. We pay special attention to how gender patterns the behavior of leaders. We look at women as managers – acting at individual level – but also women as representatives – acting as agents of their constituencies. Do women leaders follow gender stereotypes? Are they seen as “token members” in the organization? What challenges do they encounter when negotiating and taking decisions? How can role models help (or hinder) the equality project?
Theoretical and practical implications for improving gender equality in organizations will be analyzed.