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Understanding Prime-Ministerial PerformanceComparative Perspectives$
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Paul Strangio, Paul 't Hart, and James Walter

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199666423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199666423.001.0001

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Gendering Prime-Ministerial Power

Gendering Prime-Ministerial Power

(p.102) 5 Gendering Prime-Ministerial Power
Understanding Prime-Ministerial Performance

Patricia Lee Sykes

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the records of five female prime ministers: Margaret Thatcher (United Kingdom), Kim Campbell (Canada), Jenny Shipley (New Zealand), Helen Clark (New Zealand) and Julia Gillard (Australia). These case studies illuminate what the study of male leaders alone conceals—namely, how gender shapes prime-ministerial power by affecting the institutions, ideology, and development of Anglo systems. Gender-based norms become embedded in institutions and ideas, and gender provides a lens that filters leadership traits and determines their value. The more adversarial the system, the more masculinist its norms and expectations of executive leadership tend to be. Female leaders in adversarial, Anglo systems often need to develop styles and strategies that show they are capable of being tough enough for the job. If they introduce a different approach to leadership, they might well appear too weak to lead.

Keywords:   women leaders, female prime ministers, political time, masculinism, feminalism, leadership style, Margaret Thatcher, Kim Campbell, Jenny Shipley, Helen Clark, Julia Gillard

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