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Eastern Academy of Management International 2019 Conference

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Why still so few? A theoretical model of the role of benevolent sexism and career support in the continued underrepresentation of women in leadership positions

Ivona Hideg
Wilfrid Laurier University  |  Canada

Winny Shen
University of Waterloo  |  Canada

Keywords: benevolent sexism, gender, social support, career support, leadership, work-family, discrimination

Abstract: We advance our understanding of women’s continued underrepresentation in leadership positions by highlighting the subtle, but damaging, role of benevolent sexism, a covert and socially accepted form of sexism, plays in this process. Drawing on and integrating previously disparate literatures on benevolent sexism and social support, we develop a new theoretical model in which benevolent sexism of both women and those in their social networks (i.e., managers and intimate partners) affect women’s acquisition of career social support for advancement at two levels, interpersonal and intrapersonal, and across multiple domains, work and family.


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