Communication and Gender

Essay by karawolf May 2010

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�PAGE � �PAGE �4� Communication

Do men and women communicate differently and how does it affect an organization? It's a question we've all heard hundreds of times and have been brought up to believe that the answer is yes. It has been ingrained in our heads from little on that man and women communicate in a different way. Hasn't everyone read at least one blurb from "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" It seems like common knowledge and common sense that the answer is yes. And yet, I found numerous articles actually stating the opposite. The difference between men and women appear to be a fairy-tale. Psychologist Janet Shibley Hyde, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, exposed "that males and females from childhood to adulthood are more alike than different on most psychological variables…" ("Men and Women: No Big Difference, 2005) Hyde discovered through her studies that gender differences had only a very small affect, if none on the psychological traits and abilities tested.

The psychological traits tested were "cognitive abilities, verbal and nonverbal communication, aggression, leadership, self-esteem, moral reasoning, and motor behaviors." ("Men and Women: No Big Difference, 2005) Media depictions of men and women as having essentially different cognitive skills have fueled this debate, regardless of the lack of proof. The truth is that men and women are more alike than we may have been lead to believe.

In my research I found several articles debunking that myth. Dr. Hyde discussed at length how these misconceptions affect men and women at work and at home. This stereotyping of men and women are not only hurting adults, but children as well. The long belief that boys are better at math than girls was proven wrong by a team of scientists; however it...