We have come a long way since we won the right to vote in 1921. In just about 90 years we are no longer barefoot and pregnant. We can go anywhere on the planet with or without a man at our side. We can be called “Ms.” To our men’s “Mr.” and the word spinster has become archaic. (What would be a name for an elder man who did not marry?) We’re finally becoming more equal in our leadership and our leadership development programs.
As of right now in 2009, women have a larger presence in the workforce than men. It is partly due to the economy, partly due to progress. While there is still a lot of change that has to take place for true equality it is important to understand and honor the differences between us and find the roots of stereotypes, both male and female.
Ever wonder how women got the stereotype that we talk too much? Maybe there is some deep truth here we need to explore. Going back to cave times we know that men were the hunters and women the gatherers. Women would gather the herbs and grasses in groups. And they would talk. Not just to gossip, it was also for safety. They talked to keep the big bears and cheetahs away. They would also share their intuitions about weather changes or where they “felt” the new berry patches were. So “Chatty Cathy” was probably a revered gatherer in her day.
Now, let’s see how this ancient role of gatherer is still embedded in us today. Research shows that men speak approximately 4000 words a day, women 7000. Translate this to the work world and here is what you get. If you want to meet with your male colleagues at work, do so in the morning. Know that conflict resolution has a better chance of success before two o’clock. And don’t get so aggravated when close to closing time all you get are four word sentences. By late afternoon they have most likely used up their quota of words!
And in your home life, if you want to talk to your male partner or a son, you really need to have a heart to heart and you want it to be successful, consider Saturday morning as an optimum time.