Women and Power: Toward a Theory of Effectiveness


Kresge College, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.


This paper develops a theory of sex-role stereotyping and power use in terms of how people interact in daily life situations. Power use is proposed to be affected by sex-role stereotypes on three major dimensions: direct-indirect, concrete-personal, and competent-helpless. It is demonstrated that women have less access, in reality and in expectations, to concrete resources and competence, leaving them with indirect, personal, and helpless modes of influence. Power use is examined in terms of sex-role stereotypes, and data are presented which support the hypothesis that people expect males and females to use different bases of power.