Midnight thoughts

INFRASTAR project is teaching us how to communicate our science and research. It requires sharing our Ph.D. experience in social media (Facebook Twitter LinkedIn ,http://infrastar.eu/) and our research in open access sources (https://zenodo.org/record/2553561#.XOCGxcgzY2w).  Communication makes us visible, makes our ideas and opinions transparent.
We spend a lot of time communicating with each other. Sometimes we feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, and sometimes, exited, loved and belonged.
You can guess now the topic of my writing: communication and particularly normal life conversations.
Lastly, I was discussing with one of my friends how to lead a discussion, and how to make the first step during work or friend meetings to start or change the conversation topic.
We were wondering why men lead mostly the discussions during dates and in normal life conversations more than women.
Is it a cultural thing, or a men innate skill?
In many cultures, we say that ‘a man falls in love through his eyes, a woman through her ears’, which make women in society ‘good looking’ and men ‘good speakers’.
Is leading discussions an innate or acquired skill?
In the past, a polite European girl was a girl who does not raise her voice or defend ‘fiercely’ her opinions in front of men. In a lot of cultures, the voice of women has a sexual connotation. Women are then forbidden to raise their voice (in Arabie saoudite …) or sing (in Iran…). Moreover, in many religions, women should not say ‘no’ to their husbands.

We can be sure that in many cultures, feminity was and still confused with subjugation and weakness.
Men in leadership positions are considered charming and strong.
While women in leadership positions are considered ruthless and aggressive.
Maybe our grandparents, our parents or even us were confronted with this culture or its ‘remains’. And as much as we know that this is changing from generation to another, there is still a lot of work to be done.
This cultural trait can explain why men still lead discussions more than women during decisive meetings. Even if women can have high positions and strong opinions, they find themselves eliminated by culture (so they don’t even try to lead discussions because it was normal in their society or education that men talk, and women listen and ‘laugh’), or eliminated by statistics in a male-dominated workplace (They find themselves in meetings full of men: when they talk no one listens because to listen to a light voice inside a lot of hard voices, silence is needed).
What to do?  Why and how to bring more women in leadership roles?
How about changing what is normal, let’s acquire this skill, let’s break the glass!
And, why not to find a mentor, it can be the boss, a college, a friend, a family member, a man that can make silence for you that you can speak. Good men are everywhere!
During the training school in Nantes, we had a lecture by Ariane Dupont (Director of the Sorbonne School of Economics at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne) where she presented some examples of some societal behaviors and how they were affecting genders differently (find lectures in http://trainingschool.infrastar.eu/ ).
I was wondering if this cultural trait can affect women in leader positions: Why still we have a small number of women leaders?
Today we need both women and men to lead. They can present different leadership abilities and qualities that complete each other:
Men leaders deny emotional vulnerability to reduce stress, they are hierarchal, care more about larger needs and encourage less feeling, more actions and they collaborate competitively. [Louann Brizendine]
Women leaders resolve emotional conflicts to reduce stress, they are oriented toward participative and group problem solve and verbally encourages and praises, and they collaborate connectively. [Louann Brizendine]
In families societies and companies, we need both for balanced leadership and good decision making.

Midnight Aalborg, Danemark 


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