"A woman who’s tough, she’s a bitch.”

How labels anchored in unconscious bias shape the institution of gender





Unconscious bias, label, gender, institution, leadership


This study shows how labels anchored in unconscious bias can contribute to the gender institution. It draws on interviews with women leaders in Canadian for-profi t organizations to illustrate how labels relate to unconscious bias toward women leaders, how labels delegitimize or legitimize women leaders, and how women leaders react to labels. Guided by these results, the study theorizes how the micro-level practice of labeling anchored in unconscious bias can uphold or disrupt gender categories and associated gendered social roles, thus shaping the gender institution.


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Mangen, C. (2021). "A woman who’s tough, she’s a bitch.”: How labels anchored in unconscious bias shape the institution of gender. Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, 32(3), 25–42. https://doi.org/10.7146/kkf.v31i3.128517