The Huffington Post featured Professor Jennifer Berdahl and PhD student Natalya Alonso's presentation at a recent Academy of Management annual meeting in Anaheim, California. In their research, Berdahl and Alonso found that 48 percent of female chief executives at S&P 500 companies and 35 percent of female senators are blonde.
“If women are choosing to dye their hair blonde, there’s something strategic about the choice,” Berdahl told the Huffington Post. “If the package is feminine, disarming and childlike ... you can get away with more assertive, independent and [stereotypically] masculine behavior.”
Their presentation was based on research, including three studies where men were asked various questions about photos of the same woman, with either brown or blonde hair. In one, the men rated the blonde women as less competent and independent. In another, they rated the same agressive leadership styles much harsher in brunettes than blondes.
The UBC Sauder researchers also found that 43 percent of the highest-paid male CEOs have a blonde spouse.
Read the full article here. Slate also wrote about Berdahl's research here.
Berdahl is the Montalbano Professor of Leadership Studies: Gender and Diversity at UBC Sauder. She leads the Gender and Diversity in Leadership Initiative at UBC Sauder, with a mandate to strengthen business and society by advancing equity and diversity in leadership through research, education and outreach.