Gender Differences in Communication and Gender Inequality in the Workplace From traditional values and gender-specific roles, the new millennium has witnessed the evolution of women in their quest for their place equal to men. Numerous studies have shown how women, previously viewed as feeble in their performance in jobs traditionally reserved for men, have empowered themselves to prove that they are as capable, if not more, than their male counterparts…
It also aims to promote harmony in the workplace through effective organizational communication. Gender Differences in Communication as Molded by Socialization. Men and women are known to be wired differently in many aspects but also in terms of communication. Such gender differences are solidified in their lifetime as they are treated differently from birth. Rasquinha & Mouly (2005) contend that from the time they are born, baby girls are considered fragile and they are exposed to delicate language and handled very gently. Boys, on the other hand, are exposed to strong tones and power-filled language and are handled less gently as they are tossed in the air and held upright from a younger age to demonstrate their power and strength. The Sociolinguistic Subculture Approach suggest that boys and girls grow up in essentially different talk subcultures resulting from the differing expectations parents and peers direct toward them about acceptable ways to talk (Maltz and Borker, 1982). Children as young as two classify themselves and other people as belonging to one of two genders. By age three, girls develop skills at talking earlier than boys and these talking skills are utilized to explore relationships with others. They are more likely than boys to deploy language strategies that demonstrate attentiveness, responsiveness, and support (Leaper, 1991). They develop intimate relationships by selecting a “best friend” and use language to find common ground with that friend. Boys at the same age are not as verbal. They use more strategies that demand attention, give orders, and establish dominance (Leaper, 1991). They engage in group activities with other boys and test out their ‘high’ and ‘low’ status roles: “I’m the leader”, “you follow me”, etc. They establish positions among the group and they are apparently louder, more physical and less verbal than girls (Rasquinha & Mouly, 2005). By the age of 7, children have acquired gender constancy (Kohlberg & Zigler, 1967) and knowledge of gender-role stereotypes (Huston, 1983; Martin, 1989). As they transition to middle childhood, interaction strategies become more gender-differentiated. Whereas girls become more competent in collaborative strategies, boys stick to their reliance on domineering influence strategies. Bakan (1966) explained that boys are taught to value autonomy, competition and linear problem solving and such values are expressed by the encouragement of self-assertion and self-expansion (Mason, 1994). They grow up learning that information and communication relationships can be used to obtain power. On the other hand, girls are socialized to be more communal, valuing relationships and collaboration. Mason (1994) argued that the communal orientation is characterized by concern, selflessness, consideration for others and a desire to be one with them. Girls learn that communication is one avenue where relational bonds are strengthened, thus they learn to value it well (Chodorow, 1989). Tannen (cited in Rasquinha & Mouly, ...
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