Sexuality and the “Demands of Family Life”

Brianna Bruccoleri ’21

Coming into this program focused on women and leadership, I knew I would share a perspective which differs from the majority of my peers mainly due to my sexuality: I identify as a gay woman. While reading, my sexuality became incredibly pertinent. For example, when reading about leadership styles of men and women, I felt myself identifying more so with the leadership traits associated with masculinity. However, the Demands of Family Life section truly and most apparently gave me a perspective which I have never had to consider.

Within my relationships, I tend to be the more driven and ambitious woman. I do not see myself being in a relationship where I am not the more dominant partner—it is the way in which I express myself in relationships. Although, because of this, I have never had to consider eventually taking time away from work to begin a family as I grow older because I have always expected it to be my partner who does this task. Furthermore, my mother is the primary worker within my household while my father predominately has dealt with childcare. In a way, I have become blind to gender and sexuality within the household because it has never pertained to my family or way of life. This section, though, helped me come to the realization that simply because I have not encountered a stigma towards women within the workplace concerning familial pursuits does not mean that it does not occur—it is rampant.     

Reading the first chapter of On Women and Leadership, in a sense, allowed me to check the privilege which I never knew I had: my sexuality.  My leadership style has never been questioned—it almost seems to be expected that I will be assertive and strong. I have never thought of leaving work to start a family, as my mother never had to and I never thought of it because of my place in romantic relationships. Reading this chapter allowed me to gain a perspective which I otherwise would not have been able to obtain otherwise, and it has made me more aware of not just being a woman in leadership positions, but being a gay woman in leadership positions. It does spark curiosity, though: will I not have to deal with the common hurdles a heterosexual woman must encounter, or, will I not be able to continue life so fortunately?