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Women Managers, Leaders and the Media Gaze: Learning from popular culture, autobiographies broadcast and media press

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sharon MavinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Emerald Structured Abstract Purpose To extend the ESRC funded UK Seminar Series, Challenging Gendered Media (Mis)Representations of Women Professionals and Leaders; highlight research into the gendered media constructions of women managers and leaders and outline effective methods and methodologies into diverse media. Design/methodology/approach Gendered analysis of television, autobiographies (of Sheryl Sandberg, Karren Brady, Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard), broadcast news media and media press through critical discourse analysis, thematic analysis, metaphor, computer-aided text analysis software following the format of the Gender Media Monitoring Project (2015) and [critical] ecological framework for advancing social change. Findings Papers surface the gendered nature of media constructions of women managers and leaders and offer methods and methodologies for others to follow to interrogate gendered media. Further the papers discuss: how women’s leadership is glamourized, fetishized, and sexualized; the embodiment of leadership for women; how popular culture can subvert the dominant gaze; how women use agency and how powerful gendered norms shape perceptions, discourses and norms and how these are resisted, repudiated and re-presented. Practical implications The papers focus upon how the media constructs women managers and leaders and offers implications of how media influences and is influenced by practice. There are recommendations provided as to how the media could itself be organised differently to reflect diverse audiences and what can be done to challenge gendered media. Social implications Challenging gendered media representations of women managers and leaders is critical to social justice and equality for women in management and leadership. Originality/value: Invited Special Issue comprising inaugural collection of research through which we get to ‘see’ women and leaders and the gendered media gaze and to learn from research into popular culture through analysis of television, autobiographies and media press.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mavin S, Elliott C, Stead V, Williams J

Publication type: Editorial

Publication status: Published

Journal: Gender in Management: An International Journal

Year: 2016

Volume: 31

Issue: 5/6

Pages: 314-321

Online publication date: 12/05/2016

Acceptance date: 12/05/2016

ISSN (print): 1754-2413

ISSN (electronic): 1754-2421

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited


DOI: 10.1108/GM-05-2016-0105