Bias and Leadership Aspirations: Exploring the Interaction of Gender and Parental Status in Self-Evaluations

Florence Villeséche, Christina Lundsgaard Ottsen, Minna Paunova

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This article aims to extend existing work on bias and leadership aspirations by investigating whether there are signifi cant differences in self-evaluations when jointly considering gender and parental status. With a data subset from a survey of 866 women and 1372 men who are members of the leading Danish union for managers and leaders, we examine the relationship of gender and parental status with leadership aspirations. Contra theory-based expectations, our exploratory study’s fi ndings show little difference between mothers and women without children, whereas fathers report signifi cantly higher leadership aspirations than men without children. Supplementary analysis indicates that lower aspirations are accompanied by lower self-evaluations of competence. Our fi ndings thus suggest that men and women are differentially affected by combined gender and parenthood biases and that gendered social expectations for parents affect self-evaluations even in a national context characterized by high levels of gender equality before the law.
Original languageEnglish
JournalKvinder, Køn & Forskning
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Leadership aspiration
  • Gender
  • Parenthood
  • Self-evaluation
  • Bias

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