Anita Anantharam
Summer, Fall
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Women’s Studies

This course examines key leadership concepts in general, and women in particular. The course is not set up to teach you how to be a leader (or be a better leader), per se, but it will operate with the assumption that if you know how successful women and men have navigated power and authority, applied knowledge and core competencies, and balanced life and work, you will be better able to direct your own academic endeavors and professional development. We will explore leadership theory in general, examine the extent to which leadership, as it is currently researched/theorized is framed for American audiences, and consider whether or not these metrics are useful for understanding leadership in diverse populations and across national borders. Why should you care about women and leadership? According to Barbara Kellerman, Director of the Public Leadership Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, “of the 196 countries in the world only 21 are led by women; similarly women hold only approximately 20 percent of parliamentary seats. Further, in the U. S. they head only about 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 companies, hold only about 17 percent of board seats, and constitute only about 19 percent of elected congressional officials. For women of color the gap is worse. They hold only 3 percent of board seats, and 5 percent of congressional seats. Along similar lines, women make up only about 15% of equity partners in law firms, and only about 16% of medical school deans.” While no one is denying that women are much better off today than of decades past, at all education levels and market sectors, women today continue to earn only 75% of what their male counterparts earn (White House report on the Status of Women). While there is much work to be done to rectify this imbalance, these are also exciting times to make a difference. In fact, strong leadership in our global environment can be one of the most valued skills you can have. This is one of the goals of the course—to make you aware of the value of strong leadership in knowledge-based economies. This course should be of interest to students in business, organizational behavior, psychology, sociology/law, and women’s and gender studies. In so far as it is increasingly difficult to separate the US economy from its global implications, we will evaluate leadership issues from a U.S. perspective and in a transnational framework, i.e. the extent to which the values/culture of leadership cut across national boundaries. Leadership theory will be explained and situated through global and intercultural conditions and interdependencies.