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Vive la différence?

Are you a woman manager? Or do you work for one? What do you think about women at work? Are women better at their jobs than men? Or are they disadvantaged and treated as second class citizens in the workplace? Below are various characteristics of men or women at work identified by a British consultancy which runs courses on women and men at work.

Decide whether you think the features below describe men or women at work (choose M or W in the column on the right).



1. Their body language tends to be challenging. They often sit with legs splayed apart, giving the impression of being in control.
2. Their body language inclines towards self-protection. They may also appear rather shy and inhibited sitting with their legs crossed.
3. They avoid overtly aggressive gestures and are likely to back down in a shouting match, both through inclination and the fact that their comments are likely to be drowned out.
4. In a lively and noisy discussion, they often have problems making their voice heard. If they do compete, they are often judged to be shrill and hysterical. They are often ignored through having a less insistent presence.
5. When they make a point, they often make it with an air of finality (suggesting that there is nothing left to be discussed).
6. They welcome and indeed invite contributions when presenting an idea to colleagues.

General behaviour

7. When tackling problems they go for the heart of the problem, stripping away secondary considerations.
8. When tackling problems they favour assembling a range of options.
9. They tend to communicate their own achievements regularly.
10. They are likely to share, or pass on, the credit for a success.
11. Personal status is important.
12. They favour a competitive, direct and confrontational approach to business.
13. Their approach to business is collaborative. Collective action and responsibility are more important that personal achievement.

Reading for meaning

When you read an article, you can often guess the words you do not know from the context.

Find the words or phrases in the questionnaire which have the following meanings:

a. spread
b. feeling unable to express thoughts or emotions freely
c. give way in an argument
d. piercing and high-pitched
e. dealing with
f. give to others

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