Stereotypes are, by their nature, simplistic, yet a number of labels are still attached to women in leadership. When high-powered women were asked to single out the stereotypes they most disliked, the following came up: Ice Queen; Single and Lonely; Tough; Weak; Masculine; Conniving; Emotional; Angry. The media dubbed city hedge fund boss Nicola Horlick “Superwoman,” because she successfully juggled career and a large family. The late Margaret Thatcher was often accused of being too masculine — MP Barbara Castle called her “the best man among them” (while adding she would “have enormous advantages in being a woman too”).
Sticks and stones? It depends. Media gibes may be easy to brush off, but stereotypes are harder to ignore if they create systemic bias . . .