Throughout the history male leaders have been the most common. Even now, in the 21st century the majority of corporations are led by male CEO’s.

This can be due to the fact that a large percentage of women have to take time off when they are expecting a baby and spent the first weeks, months or years after the birth caring for the child instead of pursuing a career. This costs a lot of time and results in not working at all or not being able to effectively socialize and network during office hours (as we read in the article for today, Women and Leadership). Apart from not having the ability to become leaders, maybe women are just not suited to become leaders.

Female (aspirant) leaders are often thought of as either too masculine or too feminine. Sarah Palin, for example, was seen as too much of a female and wasn’t taken seriously. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton was criticized for not being stereotypic female and therefore being too masculine.

Is masculinity a necessary characteristic to become a leader? Males are often more competitive and assertive than women are and those traits are often found in good leaders. But I am sure women can have those characteristics as well and still be very feminine. I think that women operate as better leaders in certain companies and men can be better leaders in others.

So, if we assume that there are more companies a male boss would fit best, then that could explain the higher amount of male CEO’s. It wouldn’t surprise me if there would be a high percentage of male bosses in masculine firms (with a lot of male employees) and a high percentage of female bosses in female firms (with a higher amount of females). It wouldn’t always be right for a masculine company to hire a female boss. If you look at magazines, it would be surprising if a female became the CEO of the Playboy, just as it would be quite a change if a man became the CEO of the Vogue.

- Caroline Mathijssen