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The impact of intersectional racial and gender biases on minority female leadership over two centuries.

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Pogrebna, Ganna 
Angelopoulos, Spyros 
Motsi-Omoijiade, Immaculate 
Kharlamov, Alexander 
Tkachenko, Nataliya 


This study scrutinizes the enduring effects of racial and gender biases that contribute to the consistent underrepresentation of minority women in leadership roles within American private, public, and third sector organizations. We adopt a behavioural data science approach, merging psychological schema theory with sociological intersectionality theory, to evaluate the enduring implications of these biases on female leadership development using mixed methods including machine learning and econometric analysis. Our examination is concentrated on Black female leaders, employing an extensive analysis of leadership rhetoric data spanning 200 years across the aforementioned sectors. We shed light on the continued scarcity of minority female representation in leadership roles, highlighting the role of intersectionality dynamics. Despite Black female leaders frequently embracing higher risks to counter intersectional invisibility compared to their White counterparts, their aspirations are not realized and problems not solved generation after generation, forcing Black female leaders to concentrate on the same issues for dozens and, sometimes, hundreds of years. Our findings suggest that the compound influence of racial and gender biases hinders the advancement of minority female leadership by perpetuating stereotypical behavioral schemas, leading to persistent discriminatory outcomes. We argue for the necessity of organizations to initiate a cultural transformation that fosters positive experiences for future generations of female leaders, recommending a shift in focus from improving outcomes for specific groups to creating an inclusive leadership culture.


Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to the participants at research seminars at the University of Sydney (Australia), The Alan Turing Institute (UK), the National Institute of Technology at Warangal (India), the University of Birmingham (UK), and various online venues in the US, South Africa, UK, and the Netherlands for many insightful comments and suggestions. We are also grateful to leaders from the Black and African American communities, whose work inspires us to continue our research on diversity and inclusion. The paper reflects own opinions of the authors.


Humans, Female, United States, Leadership, Intersectional Framework, Sexism, Racial Groups, Minority Groups

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC