Culture and Gender Differences in Communication

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7th Aug 2018 Communications Reference this

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CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION

While studying culture and communication, it is found that gender is an important factor that makes a difference in communication.

Using evidences and examples from local and international, highlight and explain those differences.

In a wider context, the use of signs and symbols has different meaning in verbal and non-verbal communication.

Using examples explain and illustrate the most popular signs and symbols used in communication worldwide and discuss the key differences in their meaning.

‘For men and women, communication can be a very long drive, using different roads most probably to get to the same place.’ Having said that, it would be appropriate to first give a definition of the word communication followed by what gender is all about. Therefore, communication is known as a two-way process involving individuals trying to seek mutual understanding. Initially, it does not involve only the process of exchanging informations, ideas and feelings but also helps to develop and share meaning. It generally connects people or places in society. Communication is an essential key function for the management of individual, be it in the society, in an organisation or at home. Intriguingly, nothing can operate effectively if communication does not prevail as it should. As planned, we have to give a definition of the word gender which is an important factor that creates a gap between males and females. Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings and behaviour that a given culture associates with one’s biological sex. We also find it important to delineate culture which is the behaviour and belief of people depending on their particular social, ethnic or age group. Men and women are somehow being introduced to their particular gender roles at a very tender age. For example:

“Little girls talk more indirectly; little boys talk directly. Little girls talk more with words; little boys use more actions.”

Also, the differences can clearly be seen among teenagers in college and further at the workplace whereby women have the tendency to ask loads of questions before even starting the work as compared to men who are more prone to simply roll up their sleeves and get on with the work and assume that ladies are somehow worthless. As a matter of fact, these differences reflect in the:

  1. Style
  2. Content
  3. Structure
  4. Unique combination of influences on cognitive behavior

According to researches, it can be said that men and women communicate differently by adopting distinct speech skills in regards to the situation they are facing, the purposes and the roles they play in society or at work. All these are consequently derived from gender differences emerged from both social and professional settings. Furthermore, gender can also be redefined as a paramount factor affecting communication within an organisation. In point of fact, gender differences are in one way or the other revealed during conflict or even serve as a cataclysm for conflicts while communicating. Generally speaking, women are famous to ‘read between the lines’ while men communicate to build up status. It is unfortunate that most of the times, girls use words to express their feelings, associate themselves emotionally or build rapport whereas men often contribute facts and figures as in a report. In regards to contents, men are more interested in talking about sports, money and business while ladies are always busy debating about feelings, relationships and people. Structure-wise, men are precise by directly coming to the point. Unlike women who are more detailed, regretful and animated, men are mostly not descriptive.

Surprisingly, gender differences being a threat to the society and installing misunderstanding at work can however be beneficial in a certain way to both environments. The importance of communication maybe noticed in everyday life, for instance, a little connection can have a large impact and influence in one’s life. We all share the same ideas that males grow up learning some essential elements considered as being the center of masculinity such as being successful, aggressive, sexual and self-reliant. Certainly most men individually see life as a competition, therefore it can be put forward that the way they communicate becomes more of a brawl where they have to win. On the other side of the coin, females are taught that appearance is important, showing sensitivity and care is a must and they should anywise expect negative treatment from others. It is believed that ‘through communication with others, we come to understand how society defines masculinity and feminity.’ Let us see how we can proceed accordingly.

Most women are conditioned by culture to maintain harmonious relationships with others. That condition is revealed in softened demands, constrained statement and generally more tentative or lack confidence speech. Both men and women differ in the way they manage people and give orders. Many well-known studies have featured the fact that women have the tendency to soften their demands and statements, as compared to men who tend to be more direct. Women for example, use tag lines, phrases like ‘don’t you think’ preceding the presentation of an idea, ‘if you don’t mind’ following a demand or ‘this may be a crazy idea, but’ followed by a suggestion, trying to make their opinions and ideas be accepted and understood by others.

As it has been mentioned above, in most cases women tend to ask more questions as compared to men. Indeed, asking, questions have different meanings when it comes to gender differences. Men ask questions for only one reason; to gather information. For women, asking questions have purposes to gather information, but as it can be noticed, women inquest when they already know the answer. The reason behind this is that they want to seek interest in what the other person has to say in order to cultivate the relationship.

Moreover, be it in Mauritius or elsewhere, we normally observe that men are more likely to lean towards setting and acquiring goals contrary to women who show more passion for acceptance. Most men are known to act independently which means that they hardly seek advice or help from others while women chose to be in mutual understanding rather than showing unnecessary pride in most situations whereby they take decisions based on their colleagues. In most countries, men tend to expose their respect to their peers in the way the latter communicate opposed to women who show empathy through their actions. Also, women are well-known for their effective listening skills as compared to men.

In addition to what has been said above, studies have proven that in Japan, men and women are expected to use different words to make reference to same points as compared to most other countries including Mauritius whereby both genders are supposed to use the same words to deliver a piece of information. Amazingly, it has been noticed that in the Chinese culture, the pitch and pronunciation that men and women use can differ. Men can take longer to express themselves as compared to women overall, of course depending on the topic raised. Similarly to the rest of the world, Chinese men converse more about politics and economy rather than family and education which are dedicated mainly for women. Unlike most Mauritian women, Chinese ones barely engaged themselves in conversation involving love and marriage. We also came to the conclusion that Chinese, Japanese and Indian women are not expected or rather allowed to talk about sensitive topic with strangers, contrary to Americans and Europeans whether male or female who surely can interact with whoever they want.

In Japan, men and women have different ways of communicating. Women in Japan speak more politely as compared to men. The Japanese language features elements that make women’s speech sound polite and feminine. In the meanwhile, men’s speech sound less polite and masculine. The language difference between genders reinforces Japanese social norms. Where women are the subordinates of men.

In England modern society, it would therefore appear that women are equal with men. However the harsh reality tells us that women are not provided with an equal opportunity even for discussion, due to the fact that the two sexes respectively command different communication styles. In other words, the language women use is different from the one that men use.

For further information, we made some researches and decided to interview a few people in the sole aim to gather unbiased data regarding the main differences that exist between the communication that flows between local men and women. Surely, we were delighted to know that most women in Mauritius are not keen to get themselves involved in conversations with strangers. Adversely, the majority of the local men will not hesitate to start conversing with someone they come across. Men hereby find it easier and comfortable to interact with others opposed to women and we strongly believe that this is due to on the way they have been brought up and develop their personality. In point of fact, this can help in building new relationships.

More onwards, we also understood that Mauritian men pay more attention to football and other sport games and women mostly to fashion and make up. There is also another interesting point that we would definitely like to add is that amongst the working class people in Mauritius, women have the tendency to communicate more about the price of food and children and men are happier talking about politics or which cars are available in the market. Also, alike to most countries, women in Mauritius are always engaged in trend of GOSSIPING contradictory to men who most of the time try to escape from it.

For a fact, it can be observed that while travelling, we can see many key differences in gender communication around the globe. In terms of couples, we can see that Asian people find it normal to communicate at higher pitch as compared to Americans and Europeans who usually opt to talk at a lower pitch. Typically speaking, most local people whether men or women, they both communicate at high pitch depending on the regions from which they belong and circumstances.

Assuredly, gender communication difference is a worldwide issue. Communication between men and women differ in many ways, affecting their speech and outcomes. Nonetheless there are many other differences that can be highlighted in the way men and women communicate but we do believe that the above examples would help you have an idea of people interact with each other on a day to day basis. Without a doubt, gender differences help to resolve conflicts and strengthen healthy relationships.

Now we shall give you an insight of the gender differences of both local and international people:

GENDER DIFFERENCES

MEN

(LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL)

WOMEN

(LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL)

Conversation

Report talking

(12 500 words/day)

Rapport talking

(25 500 words/day)

Problem-Solving

Are problem solvers

Desire to understand problems

Changing Subjects

Tend to focus on the details of fact

May mix personal and business talk

Requests

Tend to seek the respect of their peers

Care for the approval of peers

Equality

Relate to others as rivals

Relate to others as equals

Managing ups & downs

Freely offer advice and analysis

Tend to ask for help, advice and directions

Body Language

Desires space

Desire closeness, togetherness and affinity

Feedback

Choose or resolve by force, persuasion or majority rule

More concerned with feelings

It has been discussed before that woman is more expressive than men. Research has shown that women are more focused on social-emotional interactions with others. Men and women tend to cope with stress and difficulties differently. Gray, 1992 stated that men cope with stress by drawing themselves from the conversation while women cope by reaching out and talking about the cause of the stress. Gray coined the phrase, ‘Men go to their caves and women talk.’ This is why; women in average speak about 25,500 words in a day and men in average speak about 12,500 words a day. Thusly it can be added that both gender should keenly comprehend each other in purpose to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

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