Opinion: Todd Akin, Claire McCaskill and the catch-22 of the 'ladylike' leader (The Washington Post)

October 9, 2012

Crystal L. Hoyt, associate professor of leadership studies and psychology, writes about the biases that women face in leadership positions.


After facing his opponent, Claire McCaskill, in their first Missouri senatorial debate, Todd Akin resorted to a move that’s becoming all too familiar for him — showing he is more adversary than friend to women. Some might even say he has joined, at a leading rank, the war on women.

Akin’s latest attack was subtle and cloaked in the form of condemning his rival, but in actuality it was an affront to female leaders writ large. McCaskill, he contends, was aggressive and much less “ladylike” now than she was in 2006. Moreover, he said, her debate performance was “like somebody let a wildcat out of the cage.”

Full Washington Post "On Leadership" article