Term Paper: Start of the New Millennium

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[. . .] Men on the other rather fit the work than family profile. While women then seem to ascribe more importance to family than men do, women also seem to ascribe a higher importance to work than do men. This then, rather than a particularly higher commitment to family, but a higher commitment to both work and family, is used to explain why a higher conflict between work and family is experienced by women as opposed to men. Professional women seem to not only invest heavily in caring for their work obligations, but also in their families. Thus these women seem unable to make a full commitment to either, and their work commitment (or indeed their family commitment) suffers. Furthermore, even though men profess to be "enlightened" to the point of helping women in the home, they still see certain tasks as the exclusive domain of women. Again, these are differences relating mostly to conditioned and perceived gender differences rather than innate differences within male and female natures.

The above is substantiated by the fact that the women in the study reported a high family importance, but also high work importance. The fact that work and family occupy equal levels of importance in the lives of these women accounts for the conflict experienced between the two. Because of socialization, women have more family responsibilities than men, and thus experience a greater level of conflict in these areas than men. Another problem cited by Cinamon (2002) is the fact that women are often expected to balance work and extensive family obligations by taking work home. The fact that they have frequent family obligations also detract from their ability to meet presence requirements at work, and thus men are able to excel with greater frequency and compensation. Women with families therefore are unable to give as much time and attention to their work as they would perhaps like to.

A further interesting finding in Cinamon's study is the perception of conflict importance. When work interferes with family life it is perceived by many women to be less appropriate than when family interferes with work. The latter, while troublesome is seen as an expected problem related to a woman with a family who also works. This perception is again the result of socialization rather than due to the innate and more "caring" nature of women.

Differences in Male and Female Nature: Anger in the Workplace

Gianakos (2002) draws the same conclusion regarding male and female differences when the phenomenon of anger in the workplace is considered. Anger as related to seven different issues in the workplace was analyzed: work performance of coworkers, work performance of supervisors, relationships with coworkers, relationships with supervisors, dealing with the public, work performance of subordinates, and work context issues. Gianakos found that gender did not influence either issues provoking anger or the way in which the emotion was expressed.

Gianakos cites a number of studies finding that women are better at anger suppression and control than men. Again the difference here relates to socialization, and what is perceived as appropriate for either gender. There is, as seen above, no difference in the experience of the emotion in itself. The associations of anger and its consequences also differ for the genders, with the same context as basis. A woman for example expects negative consequences within interpersonal relationships when anger is expressed, while a man on the other hand finds that status and power are important to maintain through anger expression. Thus a man's expectation of the consequences is positive, and he is more likely to express anger.

Other studies however reveal no differences in anger experience, perception or expression between men and women. Gianakos suggests that the reason for this could be that gender itself, rather than innate characteristics, is seen as a critical issue within these studies.

Thus again the perception and behavior expectations from the different genders play a critical role even in academic study. When gender is however not perceived as an issue, the actual differences become much less significant. The issue is thus one of perceived gender roles rather than in-born gender differences.


It has become clear from the above that gender roles still play a significant role in how women are perceived in the workplace. Certain expectations and perceptions on the part of both genders at times tend to hinder a woman's advance in certain professions and at certain levels of the workplace. This is the result of centuries-long conditioning between genders.

The paradigm of greater tolerance within all areas of life today however provides a ray of hope for women who find themselves challenged as a result of preconceived expectations and ideals. Studies such as the ones cited above indeed shows that certain shortcomings exist within gender research. These shortcomings are being addressed, and changes for the better may occur in the future.

To be alive in this century is both a privilege and a challenge. Women have proved more than adequately that they can meet these challenges with grace and efficiency. When preconceived expectations are removed, issues facing women in the workplace could be resolved much more easily. Hopefully this will not take another millennium.


Atwater, Leanne E. (February, 2004). "Men's and women's perceptions of the gender typing of management subroles." In Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, Plenum Publishing Corporation. Database: www.findarticles.com.

Cinamon, Rachel Gali (December, 2002). "Gender differences in the importance of work and family roles: implications for work-family conflict." In Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, Plenum Publishing Corporation. Database: www.findarticles.com.

Gianakos, Irene (December, 2002). "Issues of anger in the workplace: do gender and gender role… [END OF PREVIEW]

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