I can not understand the meaning of the sentence below:

More recently, we’ve looked at the bind that women executives face:...

I think my problem especially refers to the meaning of the word "bind". The Oxford dictionary suggests some meaning for bind as a noun:

  • A problematical situation.
  • formal A statutory constraint.
  • another term for tie
  • another term for bine

    But I still don't understand meaning of the sentence. So, could you tell me please what it means?

The fuller text is:

More recently, we’ve looked at the bind that women executives face: If they act in strong, stereotypically masculine ways, they’re seen as bitchy, but if they act feminine, they’re seen as weak and not leadership material. So we asked two groups of women to give persuasive speeches. One group was told to act masculine, the other to act feminine. Then half of each group was instructed to give their speech mindfully, and we found that audiences preferred the mindful speakers, regardless of what gender role they were playing out.

2 Answers 2


Here in your sentence it means "a problematical situation." or a "predicament".

The sentence is basically saying the female executives are in a predicament or a dilemma, if they act tough they are seen as manly or in more vulgar words 'alpha bitch type' and if they act all feminine and caring they are seen as weak and fragile. So that puts them in a difficult situation.


I believe the first definition is accurate. In this context bind means dilemma / predicament / difficult situation. -> "More recently, we’ve looked at the dilemma that women executives face." This means that women in higher positions are confronted with the predicament to be seen as either weak or bitchy depending on how they act.

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