Pervasive patriarchal leadership ideology in seasonal residential summer camp staff


Studies on gender and leadership to date reveal that structural, psychological, and attitudinalbarriers disadvantage women in the workplace. Women who work in outdoor recreation pro-grams also face gender stereotypes related to the perceived appropriateness of the social rolethey play, and level of physical ability; stereotypes which cause employees and co-workers alike toprefer male leaders. One area of outdoor recreation that requires further investigation is live-insummer camps, because of the more nurturant requirements of leaders in these spaces. Thispaper documents which qualities residential summer camp staff value in leaders, and hypothesizeswhether women who work in the more home-like setting of live-in camps face the same attitu-dinal and social barriers as women in other areas of outdoor recreation. Analysis yielded a distinctgender bias in favor of men, suggesting that even when a more nurturant environment is required,people still perceive men to be the most appropriate leaders. This pervasive gender bias confirmsa patriarchal understanding of leadership and the legacy of historical gender roles even in theunexamined, and more feminized, environments of live-in summer camps. It also re-confirms that,despite popular rhetoric in the West about equality and opportunity, everyone is not allowedequal opportunity to lead.


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Last updated on 08/11/2017