Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter begins by providing evidence of the sex (male) of most people who hold political leadership positions and the gender (masculine) of ideal-typical understandings of leadership in global politics. It critiques traditional interpretations of who counts as a leader, what counts as leadership, and how leaders make decisions. Through that critique, it makes the case, with feminist scholars on political leadership, that the characteristics that we value in leaders in global politics privilege masculine characteristics and devalue feminine ones, rendering women unqualified by default because they are associated with those devalued feminine characteristics. In addition to making the case that current conceptions of good leadership are gendered, this article critiques the idea of leadership itself through feminist lenses, arguing that it assumes a reactively autonomous concept of human decision-making. The chapter concludes with a discussion of feminist alternative frameworks for thinking about and studying leaders and leadership, based on relational autonomy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Political Leadership
EditorsR. A. W. Rhodes, Paul 't Hart
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780199653881
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • gender
  • leadership
  • political leadership
  • feminist IR

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