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Theorizing women leaders’ negative relations with other women

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sharon MavinORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by Edward Elgar, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


In the following chapter we theorize women leaders’ negative intra-gender relations with other women and call for a shift in focus from blaming individual women to fuller explanations as to why these social relations emerge. Our theory of women leaders’ negative relations with other women explains how these relations take place within gendered contexts where women face gender stereotypes, can do gender well and differently simultaneously and where homophily, homosociality, women’s intra-gender competition and female misogyny, operate as complex, dialectic, dynamic interlocking gendered practices and processes. The theory illustrates how threats to women’s identity constrain and facilitate negative intra-gender behaviour between women. It also illustrates how women work to negotiate, resist and comply with these experiences and how gendered contexts exacerbate differences between women. In speaking the unspeakable, we hope to raise consciousness to gendered contexts, challenge how such relations can be used against women to legitimize their minority status as leaders and open ways to strengthen women’s agency.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mavin S, Gina G, Jannine W

Editor(s): Susan R. Madsen

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Handbook of Research on Gender and Leadership

Year: 2017

Pages: 328-343

Online publication date: 26/05/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Publisher: Edward Elgar

Place Published: USA


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781785363856