Post-Feminism and Hegemonic Femininity: Doing gendered leadership in the City of London

The Centre for Work, Organisation and Society (CWOS) warmly invite you to join guest speaker Professor Patricia Lewis as she discusses her work on leadership identities within the City of London.

  • Wed 24 Nov 21

    12:00 - 13:00

  • Online

    Join this seminar

  • Event speaker

    Professor Patricia Lewis, University of Kent

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Centre for Work, Organisation and Society (CWOS) Research Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Essex Business School

  • Contact details

    Dr Sophie Hales

This seminar will explore the constitution of leadership identities within the economic location of the City of London and the cultural location of a post-feminist gender regime.

Seminar abstract

This seminar presentation derives from a research project which explores the constitution of leadership identities within the economic location of the City of London and the cultural location of a postfeminist gender regime.

Leadership has conventionally been characterized as masculine with the attributes, characteristics and behaviours of leaders culturally associated with men and masculinity (Ford, 2006). Gender critiques of this dominant masculine norm have contributed to the emergence of alternative ways of leading characterised as relational in orientation and aligned with the feminised characteristics of nurture and care conventionally associated with women (Fletcher, 2004).

Increasingly, ‘good’ leadership now requires a type of ‘gender balancing’ – collaborative, caring, empathetic behaviours are expected alongside masculine-marked practices. Indeed, general accounts of leadership highlight how leaders engage in both individualistic and relational practices when leading.

The common-sense association of women leaders with feminised leadership or that a ‘gender-balanced’ form of leadership can be performed (and valued) by both men and women requires investigation.

Accordingly, femininity can no longer be understood in singular terms but rather as multiplicitous such that doing femininity without doing masculinity is less liveable in a postfeminist gender regime (Carlson, 2011, Lewis et al 2021).

Mobilising postfeminism as an analytic device and bringing it into discussion with the concept of hegemonic femininity (Schippers, 2007), the presentation addresses the following research question;

How do women in leadership positions discursively constitute a leadership identity and with what effect?

Analysis of interviews with women leaders in the City of London, reveal the discursive practices present in the data which draw on postfeminist discourses of individualism, authenticity, self-transformation and work-life balance. A form of hegemonic femininity which mirrors masculine forms of leadership but in a feminised way is constituted.

The effect of this discursive constitution is to contribute to the persistence of masculine power relations connected to women’s muted enactment of feminised behaviours and attributes when leading.


How to join this seminar

This seminar is free to attend with no need to register in advance.

We welcome you to join this seminar online on Wednesday 24 November 2021 at 12pm.

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Speaker bio

Patricia Lewis is a Professor of Management at the University of Kent, UK.

Her current research focuses on use of postfeminism as a critical concept to investigate the gendered aspects of entrepreneurship and leadership in relation to the masculine norm, feminization and postfeminist masculinities and femininities.

She has published widely in a range of journals including;

  • British Journal of Management,
  • Organization Studies,
  • Human Relations,
  • Gender, Work & Organization,
  • International Journal of Management Reviews,
  • International Small Business Journal.

She was joint editor-in-chief of Gender, Work & Organization from mid-2017 to the end of 2020.


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