Gender Barriers to Effective Communication
CommunicationOpens in new window between men and women is affected by gender related factors.
Studies have shown that male and female brains are structured to process information differently.
This makes relations between women and men complex; and poses many communication challenges.
To make matters worse, each genderOpens in new window has a distinctive communication pattern and often mistakenly assumes that the opposite gender thinks and acts as they do.
This is where miscommunication arises because each side believes that they are communicating clearly based on their own communication patterns but they are not.
It is found that when men and women interact in a group, men seem to be more assertive, acquisitive, self-confident and aggressive than women.
This may be because a five-year old boy is encouraged to hit back (if someone assaults him) by his father, but the boy’s sister is told that girls don’t fight.
The girls tend to be less aggressive because they receive negative results such as rejection and criticism for such behavior. They are brought up with the feeling that aggressiveness is unfeminine.
A girl, who is brought up with such feminine conceptions about her, may try to avoid a frank eye contact with the interviewer and may even speak in a voice that is almost inaudible.
On the other hand, a boy is more assertive in his thoughts and opinions. Thus, gender stands as a barrier to a direct, honest and appropriate expression of the thoughts, opinions and beliefs of a female.
However, it must be said that today, girls, especially the urban girls are far more confident and they get plum jobs in banks, in IT sector, and so on.
American Express, which has around 43 percent of women as its workforce, has taken initiatives like The Women’s Interest Network (WIN), an employee network which seeks to build a community that supports development of all women in the workplace through idea sharing and networking, thereby minimizing gender barriers.