Female vs. Male Roles in the Workplace

Workplace gender roles may not be as apparent, but years of sexism has left a lasting impression.

Workplace gender roles may not be as apparent, but years of sexism has left a lasting impression.

While women have made much progress, certain differences in male and female attitudes still exist that drive a wedge between feminine and masculine roles. Males have been privileged in the workplace for centuries, while women were delegated to homemaker roles. The privileged male today still feels a sense of entitlement in the workplace, while women may feel like the underdogs. The roles that women and men play may work to each of their advantages at times, but they may also hurt each other indirectly.

Women Are Team Players

Women were found to be more receptive to team efforts in the workplace than their male counterparts, according to a 2005 study by Catalyst. The study declared women as more "supportive and rewarding" in leadership roles. A second study during the same year by Caliper showed that women employed more compassionate and constructive behavior in regards to their team. Furthermore, women proved to be more persuasive and scored higher than men when it came to both persuasiveness and assertiveness.

Men Are Strong Negotiators

While gender roles in the workplace are not as clear-cut as they used to be, many men still retain their sense of privilege, possibly allowing them to be better negotiators. A 2003 study focused on students graduating with master's degrees found that men were able to negotiate salaries 7.6 percent higher than women entering the workforce. More than half of the men were able to negotiate for more money, while just 7 percent of women did. Furthermore, men tend to be more willing to ask for raises than women.

Women Accept More Challenges

Possibly due to always being underestimated, women in the workplace are more likely to work harder and take on more responsibilities. In a 2009 study by Accenture, 70 percent of women in the workplace wanted to be challenged more, while less than half of working men asked for the same challenges. Because of their increased workload, women are also more likely to go into overtime than men. Hardworking women also tend to shrug off vacations to tackle their workload and call in sick less.

Men are More Confident

Men generally feel more confident in their work environment than women. Far from an evolutionary trait, and more likely a privilege trait, men are more willing to "wing it" on tasks they aren't prepared for. In contrast, many women may feel unprepared even when they have prepared diligently. This confidence, or perhaps simply being male, reigns in more promotions than women, as men are more likely to be mentored by senior executives, according to the Harvard Business Review.

 

About the Author

Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.

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