Discuss your thoughts on what contributes to the perception that female characteristics are needed to lead a company out of crisis, but masculine traits are preferred in times of success and stability.

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What contributes to the perception that female characteristics are needed to lead a company out of a crisis, but that masculine traits are preferred in times of success and stability, might be sexism. Such beliefs imply that certain genders possess and/or lack specific traits. Using a leader’s gender to gauge their ability to run a company during a time of crisis or a period of stability demonstrates prejudiced, stereotypical thinking. A person can possess any number of characteristics regardless of gender identity or gender expression. It’s not a person’s gender that makes them qualified to lead a company at any given moment; it’s their business skills and talents.

Of course, anyone is capable of perpetuating biased thinking. For example, Christine Lagarde, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, has repeatedly said that if Lehman Brothers were Lehman Sisters, the 2008 financial crisis might not have happened. In her book Lean Out, Dawn Foster argues that such statements are misleading. Foster writes that many women occupied leadership roles in the lead-up to the crisis, and they didn’t try and curb the risky behavior of myriad financial institutions. “The free market is all,” writes Foster. “There are not simply two cultures in each society: male and female.” In other words, when it comes to the intricate world of business, reducing people to their gender is not a wise move.

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