Institut für Politikwissenschaft



Departmental Seminar: The State of Women and Leadership in the European Union

Henriette Müller (New York University Abu Dhabi, NYUAD) at Wednesday, 17.05.23 16 h c.t., IfP, Room 124 or via Zoom

Women’s leadership matters. This sentence may seem trivial and blatantly self-evident. Yet,
despite a recent increase in female politicians, managers, and experts in positions of authority
across different countries and levels of governance, scholarship on women’s leadership
remains limited.
Drawing on my research on the European Union (EU), this talk critically engages with
leadership as a concept and practice as it manifests itself across different institutional contexts
and levels of governance in the European Union. First, it conceptualizes and embeds women’s
leadership within EU studies. Second, it examines the main opportunities and challenges to
women’s access to positions of power (positional leadership) in the European Union. Finally, it
analyzes leadership performances (behavioral leadership), illustrating how women in high-
level EU positions tend to perform a combination of assertive and conciliatory leadership
styles that respond to highly fragmented and contested governance structures.
As women continue to face various structural hurdles in their access to power, this talk will
highlight the complex dynamic between governance structures and societal developments
through the prism of women and leadership.

Henriette Müller is Assistant Professor of Gender, Governance and Society at New York
University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). Focusing on gender and women’s leadership, her research
encompasses the comparative study of political leadership both at the national and
international level, as well as across different political systems and socio-cultural contexts.
She is the author of Political Leadership and the European Commission Presidency (Oxford
University Press, 2020).