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Navigating The Female Agency Paradox: How Estrogen Cyclically Impacts Risk-Taking Behaviors
Female leaders face an agency paradox – they must engage in agentic behaviors to be successful, but they must also demonstrate non-agentic behaviors to counteract backlash. While most female leadership takes an individual difference, between-person approach for prescribing the right combination of behaviors and perceptions, we argue that the key to managing the agency paradox lies in within-person differences. This study explores how changes in the hormone estrogen throughout the menstrual cycle impact female leadership identity and risk-taking behaviors. Using a sample of 50 female undergraduate students, we gathered saliva samples from participants at three timepoints across two menstrual cycles, resulting in a total of 600 individual-level data points. We hypothesize that estrogen will be positively related to leadership identity and risk-taking, and that menstrual cycle phases with increased estrogen will indicate a stronger relationship with risk-taking than phases with decreased estrogen.