Biblical interpretations (hermeneutic) have influenced women’s ascension to leadership positions. A patriarchal societal framework that most Judeo-Christians have accepted as a norm often includes biased biblical interpretations regarding women. These interpretations are taken out of context, which reinforces old patterns that are incompatible with true leadership. This paper provides a literature review on women and leadership, with the literature indicating that a prevalent patriarchal perspective has influenced the portrayal of leadership roles in society. The literature on women leadership shows that many women might not be becoming CEOs or ascending to other high positions because of gender inequality in the workplace, a lack of sponsors, a lack of leadership-career aspirations, and companies’ preference for leadership styles based on masculine characteristics. The literature also reveals that women feel forced to assume masculine leadership styles, even though their preferences differ—an injustice to their leadership aptitude. In other words, the literature suggests there are more suitable leadership styles for women. Moreover, leadership styles based on context are more effective, and changing these biases and misapplications are critical to ensuring women ascend to leadership positions. This paper concludes with an analysis of the cognitive bias on women, which contributes to the lack of empathy for women ascending to leadership positions. In addition, future research suggestions and methods aimed at decreasing the inequalities women experience are provided.

Included in

Social Work Commons



Tell us how this article helped you.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.