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Female leaders as ‘Superwomen’: Post-global financial crisis media framing of women and leadership in investment banking in UK print media 2014–2016

Corina Sheerin and Thomas Garavan


Abstract: The print media is an important and powerful social arbiter. It both reflects and crafts societal opinion, and consequentially has received significant scholarly attention. This article analyses the media framing of women and leadership in Investment Banking (IB) post the GFC (2014–2016) to understand both the framing content, and how it has or has not changed. Utilising an institutional perspective, and the concept of IB as gendered social space, we reveal the existence of an overarching meta-frame which illustrates IB as a setting characterised by unequal power relations between men and women and the sustainment of hegemonic norms. This meta-frame did not change significantly during the period analysed. Our analysis reveals a meta-frame which emphasises ‘deficiency’ and is underpinned by three key interpretive repertoires, each giving expression to different dimensions of IB as a gendered social space. We found evidence of contradictory interpretive repertoire and media framing ignored issues of female agency, the male perspective on leadership in IB and the domestic context of female leaders. While the media did champion certain ‘superwomen’, the framing of women’s absence from senior roles was embedded with stereotypes about gender relations and suggestions that women’s lack of progress could be attributed to their supposed internal weaknesses rather than IB organisations. The characteristics of IB as a gendered space and their role in maintaining unequal gender power dynamics are less frequently highlighted in media framing. In addition, while media framing makes attempts to positively frame female leaders in IB, overall very little has changed.

Keywords: Macro-level media framing; Investment Banking; Gendered social spaces; Qualitative research (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/

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