Words Matter: Recognizing the Power of Gendered Language in Entrepreneurship
Posted: 6 Oct 2014
Date Written: October 6, 2014
In the June 2013 issue of Inc. magazine, Leigh Buchanan declared that “the most effective leaders right now — men and women — are those who embrace traits once considered feminine: empathy, vulnerability, humility, inclusiveness, generosity, balance, and patience”. Asked to classify 125 traits as either masculine, feminine or neutral, 32,000 people identified these words among others like “selfless” as distinctly feminine. Another 32,000 people were asked to rate the importance of the same 125 traits to effective leadership. When the results were tabulated, these seven traits, all feminine, were strongly linked to effective leaders. The impact of these findings for entrepreneurship researchers is that words matter, traits are still gender biased, and the more laudable traits in leaders are now feminine.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation