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What are the Psychological Differences Between Men and Women

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Posted 09 February 2012 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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What are the psychological differences between men and women?

This week, during a management training course, I was making the point that conflict management should be a rational, not an emotional transaction. That an emotionalised conflict situation is dangerous for all parties concerned; That a "rational conflict" may prove to be instructive and maybe even be beneficial.
The punch line to my presentation was "resolve your conflict situations according to the principle of 'Reason' not high emotion", ie treat all people and all problems rationally.

Then I said "Aristotle defined Mankind as "the Rational animal".
Then a male delegate, Andrew, quipped, "What did he have to say about women?"
Then a delegate named Tracy asked a question that I have heard many times before, she said "Is there a difference between men and women in terms of being more logical or emotional?"

This question implies one or more of four meanings:

  1. Are women more rational than men?
  2. Are men more rational than women?
  3. Are women more emotional than men?
  4. Are men more emotional than women?

My response was as follows: "I don't make psychological, character or intellectual judgments based on gender. It's too risky."

Obviously, there are differences between men and women but they are physiological, hormonal and genetic.

But it is a common error to make sweeping statements such as:

  • By their nature: Men are less organised than women
  • By their nature: Women are more able to multitask than men
  • By their nature: Men are more logical than women
  • By their nature: Women are less able to handle stress than men
  • Men are less socially aware than women
  • Men are less concerned with detail than women
  • Men are less intuitive than women
  • Women are more likely to panic than men, and so on.

These are crude distinctions and all are probably false.

If not false, then gender distinctions of this type are so riddled with counter examples that they become useless as a guide, in any particular instance.

So it is wrong to think:

  • She won't be able to handle the pressure because she is a woman.
  • He won't be able to multitask because he is a man, or
  • Because she is a woman, she won't be able to be tough minded.
  • He won't be able to do it with sensitivity because he is a man.

Don't judge by gender. Also:

  1. Don't judge by colour
  2. Don't judge by nationality
  3. Don't judge by social class

How should one judge others? Answer: Not by their class, but as unique individuals!

Take each person as a unique individual to be judged on his her own merits.

Ask yourself three questions about a person:

  1. Are they honest?
  2. Are they lazy?
  3. Are they peaceable and cooperative?

If they show definite signs that they are dishonest, or lazy, or abusive, or socially disruptive, then you should beware!

If the person scores well on the three tests, ie that they show definite signs that they are hardworking, honest, and peaceable, then surely they are worthy of your merit.

It matters not whether he / she is:

  • Man / woman
  • Young / old
  • Black / white
  • English or foreign
  • Gay / straight
  • Or anything else

By the way, are you hardworking, honest and peaceable?

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