Feminist Ethics and Women Leaders: From Difference to Intercorporeality

Alison Pullen, Sheena J Vachhani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
110 Downloads (Pure)


This paper problematises the ways women’s leadership has been understood in relation to male leadership rather than on its own terms. Focussing specifically on ethical leadership, we challenge and politicise the symbolic status of women in leadership by considering the practice of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. In so doing, we demonstrate how leadership ethics based on feminized ideals such as care and empathy are problematic in their typecasting of women as being simply the other to men. We apply different strategies of mimesis for developing feminist leadership ethics that does not derive from the masculine. This offers a radical vision for leadership that liberates the feminine and women’s subjectivities from the masculine order. It also offers a practical project for changing women’s working lives through relationality, intercorporeality, collective agency, ethical openness with the desire for fundamental political transformation in the ways in which women can lead.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2020


  • difference
  • ethics
  • feminine
  • feminism
  • gender
  • intercorporeality
  • leadership


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