University of Twente Student Theses


Perceptions of women in public leadership : discussing the imposter phenomenon

Rettig, Charlotte (2020) Perceptions of women in public leadership : discussing the imposter phenomenon.

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Abstract:Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen are especially scrutinized and have an image portrayed by the news media. This thesis looks at the discourse in the news media of female leaders in public offices and the way they are perceived and their images are reproduced. The perception, attributes and stereotypes, of the women discussed in the thesis, are put in the context of the discourse held about the Imposter Phenomenon (IP). The thesis furthermore considers politics being dominated by hegemonic structures catering to male politicians and women fitting into these structures in order to gain success. In order to fit they have adapted into having attributes that are usually associated to typically male and concealing their femininity. The analysis shows evidence in behaviors that have been categorized as being cold, calculating and being professional. Theory has shown that behaviors that are not typically female can be penalized which manifests in derogatory characterizations. The analysis shows that there seems to be a negative image of Merkel and von der Leyen. This negative perception is reflected in the way the narrative of the IP is constructed that contributes to the narrative that women are weaker leaders.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration, 89 political science
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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