Organisational Change Management Volume 2

4. Gender Differences

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. Gender is part of the diversity challenge.
NB All diversity issues are societal. 
. Some people (eg former Chief of Australian Army, David Morrison) consider gender to be a man's issue because it is a male-dominated world that has created the rules that benefit men (Lisa Annese, 2015). 

. In addition to gathering the information about the current position of an organisation on diversity, there needs to be leadership, resources and a change of language.

"...the challenge with diversity is a lot of people think it's easier than it is. It is really complex discipline of commitment to particular goals, many of which require behavioural change, which require policy and systematic change..."

Lisa Annese, 2015

The language used in diversity is important.

Gender bias can be shown in the words people use. For example, a recruitment ad mentioned the need for a technical "go-to-guy". The word "guy" refers to males, not female. Similarly, using the word "hi guys" reflects unconscious bias and reinforces it. The speaker may not have intended that. On the other hand, what is important is how it is interpreted, listen to, etc.

In addition to language, there are stereotypical public perceptions of different professions. like Australian engineers are perceived as people in hard hats and fluoro vests stomping around construction sites. This image is not appealing to most women. On the other hand, modern engineers are likely to be working in high-tech environments such as around robotics, computers, etc. Interestly in Europe, engineers are perceived as having similar status to doctors and lawyers.

(source: Theo Chapman 2016c)

Some examples
- need to stress it is about capability, rather than altruism. It's more than a fair go; it is about building the most capable workforce.
- it is about win-win, not win-lose; the later results in resistance to change.

. Traditional gender roles are changing as shown by around 50% of women in the Western world being in paid work and an increasing number of families being headed by a single woman, etc. In these situations women are expected to be mother, father and provider. In

"...past generations, their roles were clearly defined. Man was head of the house. He was the principal breadwinner, his word was law and his area of decision-making was clear cut. He was the protector and provider. His wife was mother, housekeeper, social secretary and carer. He knew his responsibility and his wife knew hers..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Furthermore, especially in Western countries

"...women are now being educated and empowered to achieve more economically, politically and socially. But our culture still teaches women that when they assert themselves they are being pushy or obnoxious. Women who get angry when their goals are blocked are labelled bitchy or rude. If a man wants to have a good relationship with women, they have to be sensitive to the changing dimensions of power and control in the Western world..."

Dianne Coute, 2008a

. Even at the risk of stereotyping, there are gender differences that need to be understood. They are based on male and female brains being hardwired for different functions and priorities. Man is wired for hunting while woman is wired for caring. Thus, the instinctual mode of communicating and decision-making processes are the most obvious differences between men and women, ie

The 5 most frequently asked questions by men about the way women communicate:

"... 1. Why do women talk so much?

2. Why do women always want to talk about problems?

3. Why do women exaggerate?

4. Why do women never seem to get to the point?

5. Why do women want to know all the little details?..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

. Research, as explained by Robert Winton, (2003) has shown the differences in men and women are linked with part of the brain called corpus callosum. This is a neural connection that links the 2 brain hemispheres (left and right). Generally, it tends to be proportionately larger in women than men. It has been suggested that as women have more neural connections, their brains communicate more quickly and easily between their different regions. This could explain how women are able to handle a number of tasks simultaneously when compared with men who are more focused on an individual task. Furthermore, it may help explain the emotional differences between men and women, as emotional processing is largely located in the right hemisphere, and that the power to express our feelings through language is in the left hemisphere. Thus for men with fewer connections, it may be harder to talk about emotions; while for women with extra connections, it is not so challenging

. Some sociological research has identified the impact of being a member of a minority group. In order to feel that you are not different, you need to have at least 15 percent of a group similar to you at any level of the organisation. If you comprise less than that you will feel, and the group will treat you, as different. As a result, women in many male-dominated professions are still seen as, and feel different.

" you are judged differently, you judge yourself differently, you expect that you will be treated differently..."

Laura Tyson as quoted by Geoff Kitney, 2005

On the other hand, if the level of representation is between 15 and 35 %, there is a need for continuing education and constant focus on the under-representation. Once the level of representation exceeds 35%, the difficulties encountered by the minority are significantly reduced as the organisational norms have started to change.

. The cognitive gender differences are real:

"...countless behaviourial studies have shown that men are significantly better at spatial ability tasks like geometry, map-reading and finding their way through mazes. They are seen to have an innate talent for imagining and manipulating space in their minds which tends to play itself during arguments over map-reading in the car, or even contests over who can reverse-park with the most ease......women (who tend to do better in other skills such as visual memory)..."

Robert Winston, 2002

. Evolutionary psychologists claim that the basis for the gender differences is due to the ancient divisions of labour, ie males focused on the hunting and females on caring and gathering food. This has led to some people to claim

"...It is not the function of the brain that makes us conform to stereotype......but socialisation..."

Cordelia Fine as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2011

On the other hand, there are some biological factors that can have an impact, ie unlike man's sperm, which is replenished, women are born with all their eggs. As they age, fertility declines. The likelihood of successful pregnancy and childbirth starts to drop from age 30 and plummets after 40. This window of opportunity coincides with critical career building years for many women. Egg freezing offers an opportunity for women to focus on their careers and delay motherhood

The biggest stereotype is that women lead as mothers and men lead as warriors. Yet some research (Fiona Smith, 2011) contradicts this. Furthermore, other gender-based abilities, such as women's multi-tasking and men's spatial awareness, are not necessarily ingrained traits but can be developed.

More Comments on the Basic Gender Differences

. Male & female are different

. Males are into problem-solving while females prefer discussing the problem

. Males value accomplishments linked with aggression while females value relationships

. Females are more process-and detail-oriented than males

. Males have more hierarchical-based networks than females

. Females dislike the way males give advice

. Females are better able to read body language and indirect speech than males

. Females have better memories than males

. The male sense of direction is stronger than in females

. Time limits are less important for females than males

. Females are better users of emotions than males

. Females are better able to handle stress than males

. Females have greater emotional swings than males

. Females are better at handling conflict then men

. Males exaggerate differently from females

Historically males and females dress for different reasons

. Men have dressed to frighten away their enemies while women have dressed to attract. Today there are 2 basic types of dress codes for women: business and non-business dress

" clothing can give her an equal footing to compete with males and other females in the business hunting stakes and, secondly, enables her to outdo other women by displaying the success, power, importance and desirability of the wearer. The key to successful business dress is simple. How does the person you want to influence expect you to look?..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Women can escape from the scrutiny of what they wear by creating and wearing their own uniform that has many variations, ie different colours, different fabrics, etc. Like men, a lady is wearing the same thing every day and conforming to what they do.

. Females are less ambitious/competitive/confident than men in the work place

. Males favour acceptance in a group more than females

. Females and males have different reasons for friendship

. Thinking about sex, physical attractiveness and related matters

. Males are rewarded for being nice, while women get penalized for not being nice

. Females have a higher risk awareness than males

. Females tend to have a harder time handling criticism, ie more easily shaken by feedback

Male & female brains are different

There are gender differences in the brain, eg

- size of brain (men have 4% more brain cells than women & about 100 grams more of brain tissue)

- the front and prefrontal cortex (controls much of our decision-making ability) is fatter in females

- there are differences in the limbic system (controls our emotional life and mediates some types of learning). It is larger in females than males.

- significant differences in the amygdale (controls the generation of emotions and the ability to remember them). It is much larger in males

- brain cells communicate via bio-chemicals, such as serotonin (key to regulating emotions and moods) which males synthesize over 50% faster than females.

Male's brains are mono-tracked while females is multi-tracked. The male brain is very focused or mono-tracked (compartmentalized and specialized), ie does one thing at a time, while females's brains are multi-tracked (multi-task performance), ie do more than one thing at a time. In fact, 96% of the world's technical experts or specialists are male, ie they are excellent at performing that one skill; while 96% of the world's personal assistants are women as they are better at multi-skilling.

. Women in business who deal with men need to

"...discuss one point at a time and stick to this point until men are happy......before moving to the next point..."Alan Pease et al, 2002

Men are into problem-solving while females prefer discussing the problem

. Women prefer to talk through a problem rather than look for answers while men want to quickly provide answers and solve the problem. Remember: the average man's attention span is 9 minutes. Furthermore, women are better finishers than men. On the other hand, a woman's brain is organised for communications through talking.

. Men are not good at listening and empathizing

"...he thinks he is being caring and loving by solving her problems - she thinks he is indifferent or is trivializing her feelings by not listening..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

. When men do talk, it is about the facts ‐ results, solutions or answers to questions ‐ or to trade information about things and processes, such as work, sport, cars and spatially-related things that include operating mechanical things, speed, angles and distances as required for hunting. Many men will rarely talk about personal matters

Males value accomplishments linked with aggression while females value relationships

. Women tend to value relationships while men value accomplishments. This is highlighted by the different way men and women do business. Generally,

"...Women want first to establish a personal relationship with a man before they proceed to business, by chatting on a variety of topics, often on quite a personal level, as a way of seeing what kind of person he is and whether he seems trustworthy. Men often completely misunderstand this approach. At worst, some think she might be coming onto him for sex; and nearly all assume she is asking for advice for the problems. They then feel justified in offering solutions, and telling her what she should do, think or say. Women resent this very much. She is likely to write-off the man as someone who won't listen and who is unlikely to take much notice of her if they do business together. She becomes more hesitant about dealing with him, leaving the man confused and business, a woman is easier to deal with if she forges a personal connection first. A woman needs to understand that a man is uneasy discussing personal information and likes first to get right down to business. When each side understands this, both are much more willing to compromise - which leads to a stronger business relationship in the long run..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

. It has been claimed that these gender differences start early, ie

"...gender differences start as young as two years old; in general terms...... girls are more interested in entertainment that is relationship-orientated and boys are more action orientated......A study of pre-school children showed that during confrontations between two children of the same sex, boys were more than twice as likely to use heavy-handed persuasion, defined as physical force or threats, than more peaceful forms of conducting a dispute. In almost all cases, girls are more likely to try to talk their way out of confrontation rather than use physical force.....a child is not just a pre-programmed bundle of genes. Upbringing and socialisation have a great deal to do with behaviour..."

Robert Winston, 2002

Furthermore, it is claimed by evolutionary psychologists

"...males have to compete, and competition involves aggression, action and pointless dangerous activities. And there is another, more practical reason for a non-violent mentality to become an all common female trait. Given the need to suckle their infants......women would have spent more time with their children; they took the role of primary care giver. We can speculate that women who were more emphatic, caring and less prone to violence and aggression would make a better job of child-rearing..."

Robert Winston, 2002

. It has been demonstrated that women use constant chatting as a means of bonding, ie

"...Women don't need a reason to talk and don't need an end goal. They talk to make a connection with others..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002


"...when interrupted, men tended to stop speaking, while women, in all-women or mixed meetings, tend to overlap in an energetic way punctuated with lots of laughter......They were quiet when the agenda moved to matters outside their expertise, while men spoke even when they knew little about the topic. One man admitted he spoke up even when he had nothing to contribute because he was ambitious and wanted to impress..."

Lyndall Crisp, 2005

. In meeting context it is claimed that men tend to compete for a turn to speak while women tended to talk over each other, but were more collaborative

From literature on EQ (Martyn Newman, 2007), females have a higher score on interpersonal relationships and empathy than males. This suggests that females are better at initiating, developing and maintaining relationships than males. Furthermore, in the knowledge-based economy where relationships are very important, it is claimed that women are better than men in building relationships, especially outside their immediate organisation (Catherine Fox, 2008a). While men do it better inside the organisation, ie tend to build more team-specific networks with-in their current organisation. Furthermore, women do more due diligence on an organisation before they join than men.

Female star performers who switch organisations perform better than their male counterparts (Boris Groysberg, 2008). This is linked with

- females developing to better and more portable external relationships with clients and external organisations than males; males tended focus on activities and people within the organisations they work.

- females take great care when assessing a prospective employer, ie they evaluate more thoroughly their options and analyse a wider range of factors then males do when deciding to move from organisations where they are successful.

. Remember:

"...brain scans show how a woman's brain is highly utilized in speech and language functions.....a female brain can effectively output 6,000 - 8,000 spoken words a day. Contrast with this a man's maximum output of 2,000 - 4,000 a day and you can see why women's capacity to talk causes so many problems..."for men.

On the other hand,

"'s brains are configured for problem solving and to continually come up with solutions. Men use speech and language to communicate facts and data. Mostly men will only speak if they have something to say, that is, when they want to communicate facts, data or solutions. This creates serious problems when communicating with women......female talk is used as a form of reward and to bond with another person. Put simply......if she doesn't like you, she won't talk......from a woman's standpoint, his constant offering of solutions makes it appear as if he always wants to be right and that she's always wrong. When a woman, on the other hand, shares her emotional problems with someone, she is showing she trusts that person because of the confidences she's sharing..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Furthermore, if a woman does not like you, or disagrees with what you are saying, or wants to punish you, she will be silent. Men incorrectly perceive this as a bonus, ie more peace and quiet.

Females are more process-and-detail-oriented than males

. Linked with valuing their relationships, women's brain are process-and detail-oriented while men's are solution-oriented, ie women pay more attention to detail than men. Furthermore, women tend to keep a point-scoring system in evaluating relationships while men do not

"...points are given for of the number of actions taken, not for the size, quality or outcome of a single action.....if men ran a point-scoring system they would allocate points relative to the size of the action or gift.....but 95% of all points awarded in a relationship happen on everyday things that do or don't happen. It truly is the thought that counts with women......women are great scorekeepers and have long memories that accrue points for years.....for women, it is not the size that matters, it's frequency..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Males have more hierachical-based networks than females

. Men tend to have power-based hierarchical networks, ie they are interested in who is the most important person; while women tend more to network with their peers.

Females dislike the way males give advice

. Advice-giving is perceived differently by men and women

"...A man sees giving advice as being caring and showing love, but a woman can interpret it as showing he's unwilling to listen. The lesson here is simple but powerful. For men, listen with empathy, particularly if the woman is upset and, if he's not sure what she wants him to do, ask. For a woman, making clear what to expect from the man to whom you are unburdening a useful strategy..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Interestingly, a man equates being given advice by a woman as suggesting he is wrong and that she does not trust him!!!!!!

Related to this is that men are more willing to make their presence felt, ie speak even if they have nothing important to say, while women will hold back until they have some thing important to say.

Females are better able to read body language

. The female brain is organized to read words and body language while a man's is organized for solutions and problem-solving. Women process body language more effectively than men, ie

"...body language reveals a woman's emotional condition and accounts for 60% - 80% of the impact of most female..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Modes of communications, ie

"...tone of voice conveys what she means and women communicate with a range of five tones - men can only identify three. Words account for a mere 7% to 10% of the impact of the message for women. Consequently, the words are not critical to their conversation because most of their messages are non-verbal..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Furthermore, it has been found that males and females use different parts of their brains to recognise faces and expressions: males use more of the right brain while females use more of the left. These differences help females

"...detect fine changes in facial expressions, making them better at sensing people's moods. Reading someone's mouth or eyes requires finer discrimination than judging emotions in the entire face..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Women are more likely to use indirect or non-confronting dialogue than men

. Females use this strategy to build relationships and rapport with others by avoiding aggression, confrontation and discord, so that harmony is preserved. This indirect speech method confuses men, ie what is she talking about. For example, using indirect speech in business can prove

"...problematic because men may have difficulty following a multi-track, indirect conversation. Men need to be presented with clear, logical, organized ideas and information before they make a decision. A woman can have her ideas and request rejected purely because a male boss didn't have a clue what she really wanted..."


"...when a man cannot follow a woman's business talk, he often pretends to understand rather than look like he's stupid..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

A related point is that women need to talk with authority, ie stop using a question mark at the end of the sentence and need to express themselves in a bold way.

The way males and females communicate their talents is very different. Women tend to be self-depreciating, eg emphasise the importance of luck in their success. This can be seen as a way of "putting yourself down".

Need to be careful of the approach that is called "fake it until you make it". It is better to have a mindset that you are not afraid

- to ask questions

- of failure

"...I realise I wasted a huge amount of time by not asking questions. I assumed I was supposed to know things and that people would think I was dumb down if I did not know the answers. A useful tool for me was to reframe it from wanting to look smart, to actually trying to be smart..."

Cyan Ta'eed (Envato co-founder) as quoted by Yolanda Redrup, 2016

Females have better memories than males

"...the hippocampus - the part of the brain used in memory storage, retrieval and language - is filled with oestrogen receptors and grows more quickly in girls than in boys, giving women superior memory recall on emotionally-charged issues..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Male's sense of direction is stronger than in females

. There are crucial differences in the way males and females understand spatial location. For example, if you give a road map to a female and ask her to navigate the direction, she may have problems. Furthermore,

"...when boys and girls are asked to draw an map of the journey they have done once, the boys' maps tend to be more accurate. They centre upon the route taken from A to B, while girls' maps are more concerned with significant landmarks along the way..."

Robert Winston, 2003

Time limits are less important for females than males

. Males want to finish any task quickly, such as shopping, while women are keener to take their time, ie specific goals or directives and time limits are not always important.

. Remember: men only have a shopping span of around 30 minutes (excluding "boy toys"such as vehicles!!!!!)

Females are better users of emotions than males

. Women and men express emotions differently, ie

"...women are more alert to facial signals and pick up social nuances in a very intuitive way. They are more likely to be accommodating and less rigid in their view. Men, on the other hand, tend to be more interested in analysing may relish railway timetables, train spotting, aspects of computing or technical details of various kinds, a fascination many women find almost incomprehensible. Perhaps all this is inherited, aspects of human evolution past when men were focusing on hunting and women were more concerned with social cohesion of the group..."

Robert Winston, 2003

. Men prefer to deal with facts, data and concrete realities; women are better users of emotions.

"...remember, man evolved hunting animals and fighting enemies, not trying to understand them or be sensitive to their emotional needs..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

. Men and women have different ways of handling serious emotional issues

"...women deal with calamity or tragedy by openly expressing their emotions to others, but men withhold their emotions. Men use joke-telling as their way of talking about the event without showing any strong emotions which could be seen as a weakness..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

. Usually women are more successful at "emotional blackmailing"than men. Most men will use a well-planned, direct approach to get what they want. Emotional blackmail involves

"...a person who is emotionally close to you subtly threatens to punish you or threatens or implies that you will suffer if you don't comply with what they want. They know your deepest secrets and vulnerabilities and use this innate knowledge to get you to obey. Whatever strengths or weaknesses you have, the blackmailer plays them against you......the main guidelines and the players:

the victim: someone who has a sense of guilt or obligation

the blackmailer: a person who knows the weakness of the victim

the demand: payment for silence or co-operation

the threat: threat of exposure, punishment, and the threat of loss of something highly valued or guilt

the resistance: the initial refusal by the victim to co-operate

the compliance: meeting the blackmailer's demand

the continuity: the inevitable ongoing demands......

guilt is the most powerful tool of a blackmailer......

Always remember - emotional blackmailers are like bullies or naughty children and should be treated accordingly..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

. Furthermore, women are more likely to experience the thought of emotional abandonment if their romantic partner is cheating on them. Men, on the other hand, experience more stress thinking about their partners having sex with another man than thinking about their partners becoming emotionally attached to someone else. In fact,

"...the thought of sexual betrayal makes the heart beat five extra beats per minute, on a par with the effects of drinking 3 cups of coffee..."

Carl Zimmer, 2001

. One of the big gender difference with negative emotions is that women are more critical and men are more likely to stonewall. When women are talking about a problem, men get irritated and turn away; resulting in women getting more critical and the cycle continues.

Females are better able to handle stress than males

. On average females live 7 years longer than men. Generally a man under stress will try to preoccupy himself with another activity. This results in internalising the stress which could lead to serious medical problems. In contrast, women typically deal with stress by talking about the problem, in order to relieve the stress. Furthermore, men like to forget about their own problems by looking at somebody else's and/or use "fire-gazing"as a way to relieve stress, ie disengage the brain. On the other hand, a woman needs to talk about things without reaching solutions in order to release the stress she's feeling

Females have greater emotional swings than males

. Research shows that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men. The gender difference is thought to revolve around

"...women think and men act; when something bad happens, women ask the question 'why it did it happen?' and they talk about it and they think about it......The thing about thinking is that it feeds right into depression, so ruminating about your problems is part of the causal maintenance of depression..."

Martin Seligman as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2006b

On the other hand,

"...women are not only sadder than men, they are happier than men......not in the same moment, but the capacity for joy and positive emotions is much higher in women on the average. Men are stony soil, one might think that the same thing that gives women the ability to have highs also gives women the ability to have lows..."

Martin Seligman as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2006b

Females are better at handling conflict than men

"...women can be conflict avoidant, but generally they are far better at dealing with emotional traumas and conflict. The rational process of dealing with conflict isn't very creative, but once you get into the emotional area, women are more creative in dealing with it. Men take sides and stick with that side despite consequences..."

Mark Gerzon as Catherine Fox, 2008b

Males exaggerate differently from females

. Man and women exaggerate differently - men exaggerate facts and data while women exaggerate emotions and feelings

Historically males and females dress for different reasons

. Men have dressed to frighten away their enemies while women have dressed to attract. Today there are 2 basic types of dress codes for women: business and non-business dress

" clothing can give her an equal footing to compete with males and other females in the business hunting stakes and, secondly, enables her to outdo other women by displaying the success, power, importance and desirability of the wearer. The key to successful business dress is simple. How does the person you want to influence expect you to look?..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Females are less ambitious/competitive/confident than men in the work place

. There is some evidence to suggest (Andrew Leigh, 2010) that traditionally men are more competitive and less cautious than females. However, these differences could be more to do with culture and upbringing than innate biological differences. Furthermore, it has been suggested that single sex schools is a way to change this stereotype.

. Women don't like to play competitive games. They prefer to be judged on their own performance, not measured against the performance of others.

. Furthermore,

"...most businesses reward people on competitive behaviour, on how you do relatively, not how you do absolutely......if women prefer measures of absolute performance then they are going to be disadvantaged......woman tend not to negotiate as actively as other words, women tend to accept more what they are offered, ie salaries and responsibilities..."

Laura Tyson as quoted by Geoff Kitney, 2005

Conversely, men are more likely to negotiate a better deal on salaries, etc

On the other hand, women can be very competitive outside the workplace, ie

"...women are every bit as competitive as men when it comes to their roles in the community, with friends and with children. In fact, they display a set of warts-and-all behaviour ..."

Catherine Fox, 2007d

. When women are at the top of the organisational hierarchy, men need to adapt to talk in a more co-operative manner about relationships and personal connections.

. Based on USA data, men and women have a different attitude to ambition

For women

"...ambition necessarily implies egotism, selfishness, self-aggrandizement, or manipulative use of others for one's own ambition a necessary and desirable part of their lives..."

Anna Fels, 2004

"...Few people would say that men are better at their chosen careers; simply that they tend to progress further and faster than women, thanks in part to increased ambition and a propensity to take risks..."

Robert Winston, 2002

. It has been claimed that increased ambition and propensity to take risks are genetically-based differences in males and females

. There are dramatic differences in how men and women create, reconfigure and realize (or abandon) their goals. Most women are demure when praised for their achievements. In contrast, men have an inflated estimation of their capabilities. Women's reactions are sometimes put down to women's innate modesty. On the other hand, women's behaviour can vary according to social context: women more openly seek and compete for affirmation when they are with other women, but they behave differently when competing with men. It is claimed that the underlying problem has to do with the cultural ideals of femininity that are linked with giving and developing relationships, especially those linked with the needs of their family members, ie traditional feminine role. If this requirement is not met, a woman's ambitions and her femininity can be called into question. In fact, femininity has been linked with forfeiting opportunities for recognition at work. In the clash between being a mother and a career woman usually the mother side will win. On other hand, after raising a family, women returning to the workforce feel that the femininity pressure is no longer there and can compete more easily with men.

. It is interesting to note that women who express anger in a professional context are strongly frowned upon and are paid less than those who respond coolly. This can be interpreted as the need for rationality being represented by a straight-face.

US-based research has found that men are more confident than women in the workplace (Katty Kay, 2014). Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into actions. As a result, men seem outperform women in the workplace, research arena and public speaking sphere. It has been found that men initiate salary negotiations 4 times as often as women; men who negotiate for higher salaries are often doing the same work as women do; women speak up less than men in the workplace. To help change this situation, women need to take action which will build confidence as well.

Males favour acceptance in a group more than females

" are often driven to find a place in the group and be accepted. Even if that place is well down in the hierarchy, any place is better than being an outsider.....women are less needy about group acceptance and more driven by the need earn love or approval of authority figures through hard work...."

Amanda Sinclair, 2004

NB Need to be careful of stereotyping as there are varying degrees of maleness/femaleness

"...the profound differences between the two sexes as 2 opposing sides of the coin; we are better off considering the gender 'divide' as being more a continuous line of varying states, a spectrum..."

Robert Winston, 2003

Females and males have different reasons for friendship

. Friendships perform different functions for men and women. Men make friends through shared activities, such as drinking after work; while women bond by giving emotional support to others during informal chats. Women will often form strong relationships in adverse situations and need this support. They tend to expect to form close bonds at work, whereas men do not. Men regard work friendships as a bonus rather than a necessity.

. Women will leave a workplace if they don't have friends; on the other hand, men are more willing to stay, especially if they are receiving significant rewards and recognition.

"...women are socialized from birth to be more socially orientated and focus on communications and friendship building. It's difficult to let go even when you become a corporate citizen..."

Rachel Morrison as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2007c

. Men are less likely to seek emotional support from their colleagues when times a tough, but friendship at work is more likely to improve job satisfaction for them.

Thinking about sex, physical attractiveness and related matters

"...most men think about sex every six minutes, while about 20 percent of women think about sex at least once a day......Men rate physical attractiveness much more highly than women do..."

Robert Winston, 2002

. Based on research covering 33 countries and interviewing over 10,000 people,

"...women on the average place twice as much value as men on their potential mate having good financial prospects..."

Robert Winston, 2002

Furthermore, women

" men who take risks, especially those who take risks on behalf of other people..."

Robert Winston, 2002

On the other hand,

"...female long-term mating strategy would avoid those males who take selfish or unnecessary risk. Roguish, promiscuous men were considered as candidates for one night stands (perhaps indicating female tendency to dip into the gene pool surreptitiously), but they do not score well for long-term relationships or marriage......women are interested in character, commitment and security; men are interested in physical female attributes and anonymous sex......from the male perspective, it's evolutionarily desirable to impregnate as many females as possible. From the female perspective, it pays to be cautious and to choose a mate with great a long-term relationship, a sense of loyalty, the mores and morals of any particular culture and the unwritten rules of the institution of marriage often dissuade the man from attempting to sleep with other women. But if he refuses an opportunity for extra marital sex, it is more a case of overcoming physical temptation as it is a moral choice. Women...... generally have less interest in sleeping with a complete stranger. Despite modern contraceptive techniques.....women are not built to seek out sex with a large number of men...... they are much more interested in quality rather than quantity. They have relatively few eggs, so they've got to be choosy about who gets to fertilise them..."

Robert Winston, 2002

Males are rewarded for being nice, while women get penalized for not being nice

. Men get rewarded when they engage in extra tasks around the workplace, especially doing things that are not their job. On the other hand, women get penalized for not being nice as we expect women to be more relationship orientated. If a woman says "no"to a task this can be regarded as her being difficult or lazy.

Females have a higher risk awareness than males

. Women tend to be more careful in their risk-taking, especially in business, than men; as they think more about that downsize protection, ie what can go wrong. This is most valuable in decision-making based on consensus. Consensus decision-making is based on the concept that information is very powerful when it is shared

. In Australian industries, like mining, women are regarded as better drivers of heavy machinery, like dump trucks, than men. In an industry renowned for its "macho"image, men take more risks and thus have a poorer safety record than females. This has been explained as women having a higher risk awareness and thinking more in terms of the consequences of actions (rather than the likelihood of an incident) than their male counterparts. The rarity of an event is less important to women than the potential outcome.

Motherhood stereotypes

. There are 5 identified stereotypes of motherhood in Australia:

"...i) domestic divas: obsessed with achieving the perfect family lifestyle in the home and willing to pay for nannies and cleaners, so they are free to go to the gym and lunch with the girls. Role models include former radio personality Wendy Harmer and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson

ii) boomerang mums: returned to work shortly after the birth of each child. Their careers are an important part of their identity but they find it difficult to maintain a work/family balance. Role models include television personalities Johanna Griggs and Gretel Killeen

iii) yummy mummys: ladies who lunch but who have no interest in being perceived as perfect homemakers and consider their children part-time hobbies. Role models include model Elle MacPherson and former pop star Victoria Beckham

iv) mini-me mums: see their children as fashion accessories and believe that how their children look is a reflection of their parenting abilities. Role models include singer Marcia Hines and actress Goldie Hawn

v) rage brigade: disillusioned supermums who earn significantly more than their partner but feel trapped in a career and racked with guilt. Role models include actresses Nicole Kidman and Courtney Cox-Arquette..."

Rochelle Burbury, 2004

. Need to be careful of the social conditioning called stereotype threat, ie the performance of individuals in certain fields can be impacted by their knowledge of what is expected by the group to which they belong. The impact of stereotypes can encourage men and women to pursue traditional fields of activity, eg engineering for men and caring for women

Tipping point

. The number of women in a workplace has an impact on how an organization is run, managed and the kind of people employed. The tipping point is 20% women in an organization to break the "glass ceiling"; 40% helps morale and performance soar.

Women in organisations/business

There are 2 extreme stereotypes about women managers, ie they are nurturing mothers or manipulating traitors. On the other hand, research is showing that women are like all human beings and respond to the situation they are in.

One key element is women having other women to mentor them or act as unofficial support groups. On the other hand, there is some evidence that they are their worst enemy as

"...women tend to cut one another down..."

Olga Khazan, 2017

Some research (Kim Elsser of UCLA, 2011 as quoted by Olga Khazan, 2017) shows that women have a preference for working with male bosses and colleagues; similarly, males prefer male bosses but by a small amount than their female equivalents.

Another study showed that women who report to a female boss have more symptoms of distress, such as trouble sleeping and headaches, than those who work for a man.

It is hard to believe that women would hold such a fierce bias against members of their own gender. Some research indicates that women are evolutionarly pre-destined not to collaborate with women they are not related to, ie

"...Women and girls are less willing than men and boys to cooperate with lower status individuals of the same gender; more likely to dissolve the same gender friendships; and more willing to socially excluded one another..."

Joyce Benenson as quoted by Olga Khazan, 2017

Apparently a similar thing happens with chimpanzees, ie females undermine one another because they have always had to compete for mates and for resources for their offspring.

"...Women can gather around smiling and laughing, exchanging polite, intimate and even warm conversations while simultaneously condemning one another's careers..."

Joyce Benenson as quoted by Olga Khazan, 2017

On the other hand, other researchers argue against this "biologically in-grained behaviour". They argue that bitchiness is a by-product of the modern workplace, ie as there is only a limited number of high ranking positions, the competition for them is intense. This intense competition can result in women viewing their gender as an impediment; thus they avoid cooperating with each other and sometimes turn on one another. As men dominate the senior positions, women can take on male traits, such as aggression, confidence and dominance, as an attempt to enhance their chances of success. On the other hand, women behaving like queen bees is not necessarily always successful. How people behave at work depends on how safe they feel at work, ie are you given a chance to thrive or do you feel thwarted at every step? How are you are addressed at work, ie are you called sweetie or treated professionally?

Using certain measures, women make better managers than men like relationship building, people handling skills, more detailed focus, etc

"...we need to change our society so that it becomes normative for women to see other women succeeding in all kinds of roles..."

Laurie Rudman as quoted by Olga Khazan, 2017

. There can be a disconnect between communicating about importance of gender issues and the policies, regulations, practices, etc involved in addressing the issues.
Sometimes accepted and preferred leadership qualities and behaviours have more in common with men than women. For example, as there are more men in senior positions, this reinforces entrenched beliefs, prompts and supports men's bid for leadership and thus maintains the status quo. Sometimes women are advised to take a less senior role to accommodate the family!!!!!
" the upper tiers of organisations, women become increasingly scarce, which heightens the visibility and scrutiny of those near the top, they may become risk-averse and overly focused on details and lose their sense of purpose...... people are less apt to try unfamiliar behaviours or roles if they feel threatened..."
Herminia Ibarra et al, 2015

. Gender balance impacts organisational culture at a deeper level with men and women perceiving organisations differently, ie
"...Female employees tend to agree more than men that management hires people who fit in well, management should have a clear view of where the organisation is going and how to get there, management should lay people off only as a last resort and that people should avoid politics and backstabbing as ways to get things done.
Male employees agree more than females that they receive a fair share of the profits made by the organisation and people are paid fairly for the work they do.
Gender also affects the more superficial side of being a great place to work - the perks of the job..
Caitlin Fitzsimons et al, 2015

The lack of perks like paid parental leave, flexible working hours, etc affects women more than men

· Only 5% of chief executives of the world's largest companies are women (2013).


"...women control 27% of the world's wealth, which is about US $21 t...."

Jo Burston (JobCapital) as quoted by Yolanda Redrup 2016

· Women CEOs are more likely to be sacked than their more numerous male colleagues, ie 38% of the departed female CEOs over the past 10 years were sacked, compared with 27% of men (Economist, 2014). Furthermore, linked with this is that 35% of female CEOs are hired from outside the company, compared with just 22% of males. Generally, outsiders have a higher chance of being sacked and generate lower returns to shareholders than insiders. Furthermore, as these businesses are often already in financial trouble, they are more likely to turn to an outsider. Remember: outsiders do not have the support network within the organisation that an insider has to rally around them when times get tough.

· Women face a "glass cliff":

"...They get their best shot at the top job by taking the helm of a firm in trouble..."

Michelle Ryan as quoted by the Economist, 2014

· As women are a rarity in the top jobs and if they come from outside, they attract disproportionate publicity when they hit problems, eg Carly Fiorina (2005) when she was removed from HP while Ginni Rometty (CEO of IBM since 2012) is having problems at IBM but is receiving less pressure as she was promoted internally.

· On the other hand, predictions are that women will make up to a third of incoming CEOs by 2040. This stresses the need for organisations to internally create a pipeline of future female CEOs rather than relying on those from outside.

. A study in 2007 was conducted on Fortune 500 organisations. It found those firms with more women board members experience higher financial performance than those with low a female representation. This study considered return on equity, return on sales and return on invested capital. Performance differences were significant; those organisations with a high percentage of women directors outperform those with the least representation by

- 53% on return on equity

- 42% on return on sales

- 66 % for return on capital invested

. Despite the lack of women in senior management, US research has shown

"...companies with a higher representation of women in senior management positions financially outperformed companies with proportionally fewer women at the top - doing 35% better in return on equity..."

Ilene Lang as quoted by Dianne Jacobs, 2004

This highlights the benefits of having more women in senior management positions

Australian situation

. The pay differential between men and women is increasing. In Australia it has gone from 18.3% to 18.8% in one year; in 2005 it was at 15% (Joanna Gray, 2015i). In the Australian private sector the gender pay gap is 22.4% and rising in the private sector (Fiona Smith, 2015c). While in the public sector it is 12.3% and falling. One of the reasons for the difference between the public and private sectors is that in corporate Australia, the approach to setting pay is individually arranged, ie a secretive process that clearly disadvantages women. In contrast, the pay rates in the public sector are standardised by collective agreements which account for around 90% of salary determinations; furthermore, with the grades and skills required to achieve these grades are widely known.

In Australia the Institute of Company Directors's aim to have 30% female representation on the ASX 200 boards by end of 2018.  As of September 2016, women were represented on around 24% of ASX 200 boards. This is a considerable improvement from 2009 when women comprised less than 10% of these directors (John Brogden, 2016).

Monoculture may feel more comfortable but you are more likely to result in group-thinking and reduce dynamic decision-making.

Research has shown the presence of around 30% is the tipping point, ie the critical mass is reached where there is a difference between having a seat at the table and having a voice at the table.

"...there are still issues of bias (conscious or otherwise) that stop women getting past the cottage-industry mentality. It's not just men's bias, but their own..."
Lynn Kraus as quoted by Claire Stewart et al 2016

"...women run 40% of all new companies registered in Australia and are fast becoming the critical part of the small business sector.  They now own 36% of Australian small to medium enterprises, which is nearly 50% increase since the 1990s..."
Connie McKeage 2016 as quoted by Claire Stewart et al 2016

. Some organisations are described as "pale, male and stale".

. There is a link between gender and paid work problems, ie

"...the efforts and skills of women are often invisible, marginalized through part-time hours and other flexible modes of work, or subject to indirect discrimination standards (long hours as a prerequisite for promotion and so on). The sum of these factors is that women's input is informally viewed as less serious man's. In the domestic sphere, of course, men continue to contribute far less than women whose unpaid and unrewarded labour keeps households going ..."

Catherine Fox, 2006e

Furthermore, part-time work continues to be equated with part-time commitment.

. Despite the trend towards the feminisation of some professions in Australia, males still dominate senior management. For example, there are equal numbers of men and women in the medical profession below the age of 30. Over the age of 60 years, however, males outnumber female doctors 6 to 1. Furthermore, there is still a gender divide between hard and soft professions. In the building and engineering professions, men outnumber women 10 to 1; in nursing women outnumber men 10 to 1; in business and information, male professionals still dominate whereas in health, education and social work, women dominate. But, even in these professions, women are not in dominant numbers in operational roles. They are in support roles and these areas are not the ones where chief executives are appointed. When looking at the top 100 companies in Australia, only 5% of women in these companies were in profit and loss roles, ie operational, while 95% were in the support roles such as human resources and legal positions. The operational roles are the preferred career paths to top management positions.

Furthermore, as claimed by Dianne Jacobs (2004), Australian statistics show the lack of women in senior decision-making positions, ie


% of women

ASX200 Chairs




ASX200 Board Directors


ASX200 Executive Managers


University Vice Chancellor


Federal & State Politicians


Managerial & Professional positions


Australian Labour Force



i) ASX200 refers to the top 200 publicly-listed companies in Australia

. There is a discrepancy between Australia and other countries, such as USA

"...58% of ASX 200 companies have at least one woman in an executive management position but in the US the figure is 86%. And women account for only 6.5% of executive positions in the Australian companies......compared with 9.9% in the unflattering comparison holds for countries such as Canada and South Africa......the Australian women have 10.2% of executive management positions in the ASX 200 Australian companies compared with......14.7% in South Africa and 14% in Canada..."

Catherine Fox, 2004a

. If only one female director sits on the Board, she is generally treated differently than if there are several. If one only, the female feels she's been appointed because of gender and that her appointment is tokenism. However, if there are several, the male directors treat them as individuals and no longer assume that they represent all womenkind, ie

"...if you are one of some thing you are seen to represent that group. When there are three of you, it normalizes things..."

Lynn Ward as quoted by Sally Patten, 2013

The magical number appears to be 3 for females to be accepted and for men to change the way they communicate and behave.

Some female directors state that they become more forceful on a board dominated by men and have learnt to communicate differently, ie become more masculine by being more assertive (more forceful, stronger, louder, etc).

Male directors generally like a more structured approach (ie everybody take a turn to speak), while women like to communicate more informally and allow interruptions.

Over the last few years in Australia, the % of women on Boards of ASX 200 has fallen from 28% (2011) to 16% (early 2013). Additionally, more women (27%) than men (12%) hold multi-directorships, ie the same women are rotated around Boards.

. The usual road to a Board position is from a role as a senior manager (like CEO, GM, CFO, etc) who has run a large business. Generally women miss out on this experience

. It has been suggested that Australia's national identity centers on masculine traits, ie mateship, fair go, etc and the way we celebrate patriotism is very male, which works against gender equity. Furthermore, it is being claimed that the habits of thinking and linking certain kinds of behaviour, such as drive with success in business favours males, as women do their work in a different way. The New South Wales Government Action Plan for Women identified some of the barriers preventing women from reaching senior roles as

"...marginalization of women as leaders in organisations; limited access to workplace opportunities; rigid definitions of merit; absence of role models; lack of mentoring and lack of access to training..."

Other factors include nonlinear career paths and demanding hours; the latter can be a problem when raising a family

It has been claimed (Catherine Fox, 2007f) that women in business face the following 3 dilemmas:

i) women are seen as either too tough or too soft

ii) high competency threshold/low rewards conundrum with women leaders facing higher standards than men and are rewarded with less

iii) many women leaders are viewed as competent but are disliked when they display traditional valued, male leadership behaviours, such as assertiveness. On the other hand, males adopting a more stereotypical female style, or soft skills, are valued more.

. The feminisation of an occupation reduces its status and impact in organisations. For example, the corporate switch from IR to HR allowed more women in this area but at the same time its impact and importance in many organisations was reduced, ie not reporting directly to the CEO. In many companies the HR role has become little more than a mopping-up exercise or a shoulder to cry on after decisions on staffing are made by senior management.

. However, with the trend towards greater flexibility in the workplace with older people working part-time and younger generations wanting less hierarchical structures, the role of women may increase in status.

. There is some suggestion that gender in the staff ranks has a greater impact than in the executive (Caitlin Fitzsimons et al, 2015). 

. The Australian Public Service has increased the representation of women employed from 46 percent to over 54% in 15 years in the public sector. It is felt that women place a higher value than men do on the intrinsic interest and importance of a job, rather than chasing high salaries; the latter is seen as a hallmark of success in the private sector. It is felt to that the public sector offers some advantages over the private sector; for women, the public sector provides more career opportunities and better conditions, such as certified agreements containing cutting-edge advantages: flexible hours, part-time permanency, time in lieu, paid maternity leave, the ability to buy extra leave and some on-site childcare centres.

. On the other hand, the current Australian workplace environment is stacked against women, ie studies show that men recruit other men 9 out of 10 times, while women typically recruit more evenly, ie 50:50. Men are typically in charge and do not understand the barriers facing women and minority groups. These barriers are part of the culture of an organisation and will not disappear without intervention

. Some women turn sexism into a weapon to further their career. Research has shown (Fiona Smith, 2015) that over the last few decades, education and prosecutions have improved the experience of women at work but sexism has become more covert, ie it is covered up and people who make complaints tend to leave the organisation. On the other hand, successful women often become corporate warriors by turning adversity to their advantage like using the discrimination, bias and put-downs to their advantage. For example, if a woman is being ignored in a meeting she can use a supportive colleague to funnel her opinion through to get the outcomes she wants.

The job of a manager is to circulate the very best talent to the top, while the job of the board is to make sure that the talent is properly sourced and encouraged.

In the interview process it is best to allocate women extra time as they will bring out negatives first and then talk about the positives; while men are the other way around.

People need to take control of their careers.

Despite all the sponsorship programs, etc still women don't get the job, especially senior management ones. There is an unconscious bias. For many males, it all seems too risky, ie she is not quite ready and we have this guy over here who is ready!!!!!

Need to have a whole executive management owning the diversity agenda. There is too much paying of "lip service" to the policies but a general lack of implementation
LGBTI = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (plus gender, ethnic/cultural, age/generational, disability, etc)

The answer is to find the right tools and incentives that work with the culture of the organisation. For example, there is a difference between the corporate and mid-tier organisations. The big corporates have a very structured approach, owing to their size. However, in smaller organisations, genuine leadership in this area is required, ie a leader who believes it is diversity and changes. The big structures and programs are too big and cumbersome for smaller organisations.

Three quarters of CEO appointments happened because the organisation is in a bit of strife. Thus all the "soft" stuff is sidelined until next time because they need somebody who could fix the situation immediately.
In Australia women are an increasing percentage in the non-executive director area of boards, eg in Australia 15 of the top 20 spots of the most influential ASX company directors are women (Patrick Durkin, 2015b)

(sources: Fiona Buffini, 2004, Allan Pease et al, 1998; Allan Pease et al, 2002; Deirde Macken, 2004; Anna Fels, 2004; Carl Zimmer, 2001; Catherine Fox, 2004a; Rochelle Burbury, 2004; Dianne Jacobs, 2004; Amanda Sinclair, 2004; Fiona Smith, 2005b; Catherine Fox, 2005; Geoff Kitney, 2005; Catherine Fox, 2006b; Robert Winston, 2003 & 2003; Catherine Fox, 2006d; Catherine Fox, 2006e; Verona Burgess, 2006; Rosabeth Moss Kantor, 2007; Catherine Fox, 2007c; Andrew Cornell, 2007; Catherine Fox, 2007j & 2008; Martyn Newman, 2007; Catherine Fox, 2008a & b; Dianne Coute, 2008a; Boris Groysberg, 2008; Jo Clarke, 2009; Fiona Smith, 2009q; Andrew Leigh, 2010; Catherine Fox, 2010; The Economist, 2014d; Patrick Durkin, 2014a; Fiona Smith, 2015b; Samantha Hutchinson, 2014b)


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