Tag Archives: female psychology

Images of female role models empower and inspire women leaders, says study

22 Apr

Who’d have thought that looking at a photo of a powerful female role model, like Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel, could inspire women to become more successful leaders. But a new study – Successful female leaders empower women’s behaviour in leadership tasks – shows that exposure to female role models can improve women’s performance in leadership tasks.

Men and women were asked to give a speech while being exposed to a photo of Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton or not picture. The speeches were measured in terms of length and quality. Women spoke longer (and were there perceived to give a better speech) when they were exposed to the photo of Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel. But they spoke less, and their speeches were rated to be of lower quality, when Bill Clinton or no picture was shown.

The researchers concluded: “Subtle exposures to highly successful female leaders inspired women’s behavior and self-evaluations in stressful leadership tasks.”

Whose face would inspire and empower you when you have to make a stressful speech…?

Women are ‘better leaders in recession’

11 Jan

The female tendency to take fewer risks makes women stronger leaders during tough economic conditions, according to research by occupational psychologists Geoff Trickey and So Yi Yeung.

The study of 2000 workers in 20 occupations found that men are twice as likely to take risks, and women are twice as likely to be careful. The findings suggested that risk-taking was a “distinctive feature” of gender, and could help explain the difference in leadership styles between men and women. The more cautious approach taken by women is therefore more effective during recession, said the researchers.

These different approaches to risk stem from the evolution of the species and the need to survive, but in the modern workplace this translates into having a balance of the adventurous and carefree with the wary and prudent – regardless of their gender.  Trickey added: “Risk taking is necessary and desirable, but we need to reinstate the balance that ensured the survival of our ancestors. Whether this is best done by gender selection manipulation is arguable, but the aim should be to achieve a balance of risk types.”

Gender equality leads to more sex, according to rules of ‘sexual economics’

8 Aug

This is not a headline I had ever imagined myself writing, but a respected US psychologist has researched the field of ‘sexual economics’ where the rules of supply and demand apply.

As reported by USA Today, Roy Baumeister, of Florida State University in Tallahassee, presented a paper at the American Psychological Association called Sexual Economics: A Research-Based Theory of Sexual Interactions, or Why the Man Buys Dinner. Here’s an extract of his paper, where he applies ‘social exchange theory’ – on the basis that one person gives something, and the other gets something in return – to heterosexual sex.

His theory is predicated on the basis that ‘sex is a female resource’ and that men generally want sex more than women. “Cultural systems will tend to endow female sexuality with value, whereas male sexuality is treated by society as relatively worthless,” he writes in his paper. If a woman doesn’t have a job or access to her own money, then sex is “the main thing she has to offer” – and, in return, the man is expected to give her something of value, such as a marriage proposal.

In countries where gender equality is higher, there is more casual sex, premarital sex, more sexual partners per person, and people have sex younger.

Why do qualified women feel they need to qualify themselves in the boardroom?

27 Jun

Do you verbally hold yourself back? (pic credit: istockphoto)

Fascinating report about women’s language patterns letting them down in the boardroom: the study from linguistics expert Dr Judith Baxter, from Aston University, found that women put themselves down, apologised and used humour when facing conflict in the boardroom.

This type of language is called ‘double voice discourse’ and often makes women sound weak and non-assertive by prefacing what they’re about to say with phrases such as ‘I’m sure this won’t go down well but’ and ‘sorry for talking so much’. Instead of just saying what they want to say – and mean it – they feel they have to qualify themselves somehow.

The research suggests that women may use other tactics to avoid confrontation and get their own way, but that these linguistic behaviours weren’t doing women any favours. However, they are apparently limited to when women are outnumbered by men, which suggests to me that’s why there’s such a huge growth in the number and effectiveness of women-only associations and networking groups.

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