We have all seen the statistics around the workforce being 50% or more female and yet, when it comes to Senior levels and Board positions, the numbers remain very low. Having been in corporate America for over 25 years, maybe it is time to just get everyone to admit- we are different. And then get on with it. Well, evidently there is scientific proof. Yes, believe it or not, the female brain and the male brain are different.
In 2007, pioneering neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, M.D. published ‘The Female Brain‘, which takes a look at the physiology and psychology behind women responding differently in their communication styles, the values they hold, and their thinking in general. Then, in 2010, Dr. Brizendine followed this up with ‘The Male Brain‘. In this book, she explores the competitive instinct in men, the problem solving styles they apply, and their sexual pursuit areas of the brain. Her findings indicate there are significant differences. The books referenced above demonstrate there are reasons behind the resulting behaviors we see every day in the workplace.
So, what does all this mean?
What I gleaned from reading these books is that from before birth, the female brain and the male brain develop differently from a hormone standpoint which drives different behaviors and beliefs. From childhood through adolescence, parenthood, middle age, and geriatrics these differences continue to be influenced by the brain- and there is no doubt they are different.
Now, apply that to work. If we all acknowledged this upfront- study up on these differences and acknowledge them versus fear them – would we seek to understand before we acted, reacted or directed others? Would we be more empathetic, or less aggressive, or more communicative, or whatever was required to mix it up more?
Different does not mean better or worse- it just means different- why can’t we leverage the strengths and the differences? What do you think?
Thank you to Debbie Brown for today’s guest post. Debbie is a Senior Sales Executive with over 15 years in leadership roles for sales organizations with both domestic and international scope. She has extensive knowledge of B2B services with emphasis on Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), HR, and technology services in the financial service industry. She has a proven track record of results achievement at every level of career responsibility and is know for her authentic and collaborative leadership style.
No it’s not our brains. It’s our thoughts and our bodies!
Personally- I think our thoughts could be the same on topics and are- what I learned from reading these books is there are significant differences in brain development at different ages in life that explain certain things. It should not be taboo for HR to teach gender differences- in the same genre as culture diversity – I suppose that is my point- it could move us forward on gender diversity at the top.