Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic nomination for president because of "gender bias" in the news media, according to a
An article in Slate, in November last year, had discussed this possibility and had cited a study done in India, to predict that even if Hillary were to win the elections, she might not last more than one term.
The study that Slate referred to was one carried out by economists Esther Duflo and Petia Topalova.
In 1991, explains the article, almost none of India's village councils were headed by women; the 1991 constitutional amendment passed to redress this imbalance mandated the election of women as pradhans, or council heads, in a third of villages that were chosen entirely at random. This meant the villages reserved for female candidates were no different from other villages before the women-only elections.
Based on a survey they carried out, Duflo and Topalova found that the villages headed by women invested in more services that benefited the entire community than did those with gender-neutral elections, nearly all of which were won by men. Corruption was noticeably less. Issues such as supply of drinking water were tackled far better.
But, alas, the survey also brought the reality that ‘
Why this disconnect between the performance and recognition of female leaders? To find out the answer, Slate refers to another study. In an experiment on gender perceptions, psychologists Cameron Anderson and Francis Flynn gave one group of MBA students the original case study done by
How was Ms. Roizen perceived by students who read of her assertive style in the case? It depended whether she was presented as a man or as a woman.
‘Anderson and Flynn report that while both Howard and Heidi were rated as equally competent (they were the same person, after all), students described the female version of the character as overly aggressive, and were much less likely to want to work with or hire her. So the decisive, assertive traits that are often valued in leaders are received very differently when observed in women than when seen in men. Howard was a go-getter. Heidi was unlikably power-hungry.’
‘But there is some preliminary evidence (PDF), that the success of
Hmm, I wonder how the findings on the Indian women pradhans would have been received had Esther Duflo been a man?