Footsteps I would like to follow? How gender quotas affect the acceptance of women leaders as role models and inspirations for leadership

Christa Nater, Madeline E. Heilman, Sabine Sczesny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research examines how the method of selecting women leaders affects other women's leadership interest. The results of three experiments (N = 1,015) indicated that only when women leaders were selected due to merit, not quota-based policies, did they boost female participants’ interest in a leadership position. These reactions were mediated by perceptions of the woman leader's deservingness of her position (Studies 1–3) and consequent acceptance as a role model (Studies 2 and 3). Accordingly, success information validating quota-based selected leaders’ competence provided a boost in leadership interest equal to that of merit-based selected leaders (Study 2). For male participants, quota but not merit-based selected women leaders lowered interest in leadership due to their pessimistic assessment of the probability of being selected (Study 1). These results suggest that a wise implementation of quota regulations includes validating women's competence so they are perceived as deserving of their leader roles and can thus serve as inspiring role models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • gender quotas
  • leadership aspirations
  • perception of deservingness
  • role models
  • selection policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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