In recent history there have been several attempts to claim that “introverts make better leaders,” “women make better leaders,*” or “millennials make better leaders.” That last one is a joke. But the fact of the matter is that one cannot be wise about a leadership choice based upon demographics. Even if the statistics were to show that 80% of female leaders are good and only 45% of males are good, it would still be stupid to jump on the bandwagon because the person you choose to become a leader would probably be new to it. In a fist fight, you assume the person is right handed until the fight like a lefty. But in a board meeting to decide who moved upward, one cannot simply say, “I like this person’s self-identification.” Anyway, an article titled ‘Sex in the Boardroom‘ gets things right when it concludes:
Those arguing that women leaders are different, and better, may have the best of intentions. But they are piling flimsy evidence on dubious argument to produce politically correct hokum. In some societies such claims risk reinforcing stereotypes about the sort of job that women are “good for”. The only enlightened policy for selecting leaders is to judge people purely on their individual merits. Anything else is just prejudice in disguise.
This notion that women are better at leadership (which has never actually been demonstrated) and should be picked to be leaders more often is similar to the idea that “men are better at math and science than women.” It may be true that individual men have achieved more than every woman ever has at math and science. It may (and is) even be true that STEM fields are mostly men at the highest levels. But on an individual basis, one cannot infer, “You sir are a boy, therefore you are better at math than this girl. I will give her lower grades than you without checking her work.” Such behavior is irrational, but when the script is flipped in a different direction nobody seems to notice…except for the Economist.
*It was not long ago that the alleged stats that demonstrated that women automatically made better leaders than men were a major feminist talking point despite their belief that gender/sex are socially constructed and than men who become woman-esque can be considered excellent social leaders.