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Re‐presenting women executives: valorization and devalorization in US business press

Linda A. Krefting (Associate Professor in the Management Area, Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA.)

Women in Management Review

ISSN: 0964-9425

Article publication date: 1 May 2002



Perceived compatibility between requirements of managerial work and attributes of women is believed important to the advancement and success of women, and research demonstrates continued ambivalence about women executives. The question of how images of women executives are disseminated, reproducing or contesting negative characterizations, has received little attention. The research reported here focuses on US business press as a cultural carrier disseminating images of women executives. Critical discourse analysis examined 27 front page Wall Street Journal accounts of 22 women executives in the year following Carly Fiorina’s appointment to head Hewlett‐Packard; 20 front page accounts of 24 men executives were used as comparison. Prominently featured articles on women executives provide fractured images of women as executives: while some accounts are positive, other portrayals reinforce negative perceptions of women’s competence and likeability as executives and concerns about the social order. Similar issues are not raised in coverage of male executives. Author gender does not seem to affect the portrayal.



Krefting, L.A. (2002), "Re‐presenting women executives: valorization and devalorization in US business press", Women in Management Review, Vol. 17 No. 3/4, pp. 104-119.




Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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