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Black Women Leaders Approved for Assertiveness in the Workplace, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) While white men are expected to be assertive and aggressive leaders, black men and white women are often penalized for that kind of behavior in the workplace. A new study … looks at another group: black women. They find that, rather than being viewed as a combination of black men and white women, black women also seem to be expected to act assertively.
"Traditionally, women have been assigned to a more subordinate role," said Robert W. Livingston of Northwestern University, who co-wrote the new study with Ashleigh Shelby Rosette… Rosette explained that according to prevailing cultural norms, men are expected to occupy dominant roles, while women are typically prescribed to more communal roles…
In the new study, each participant was shown a picture of a fictitious official at a Fortune 500 company. Each picture was paired with a scenario in which the leader was meeting with a subordinate who wasn't performing well. Dominant leaders demanded action and were assertive; communal leaders encouraged the subordinate and communicated with compassion. Participants rated the leader on questions like how well the leader handled the situation and how much they thought employees admire this leader.
While people were negative about assertive black men and white women, black women had as much latitude as white men to be assertive. This shows that black women really are a separate category when it comes to leadership.
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