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Are women more self depreciating than men?

Are women more self depreciating than men?

Succeeding in business is not determined by gender, nor the tone of language an individual uses. That’s according to a snapshot survey of managers carried out by specialist recruitment consultancy Lothbury.

Lothbury conducted an anonymous survey of 150 recruitment professionals in response to a recent survey by Dr Judith Baxtor of Aston University. Dr Baxtor’s research into the linguistic difference between male and female leaders claimed that women were four times more likely than men to be self-deprecating and speak indirectly or apologetically when broaching tricky subjects in confrontational or boardroom settings.

Lothbury asked participants whether they felt this survey was an accurate reflection from their own experiences. 67% of respondents disagreed with the concept that women were more apologetic. In fact one respondent felt that women, in general, were quite the opposite: “Many senior women I have worked with are very self assured and confident, more so than some of their male colleagues. The research is simply not an accurate picture of women in my experience”. 

Of those that agreed with the research, the consensus among respondents was that women could in fact be more self depreciating than their male counterparts. However many added that it simply varied, and some men were too. “In my opinion, either gender can, at times use language that appears apologetic when in a confrontational situation – it all depends on the setting. Gender doesn’t determine whether individuals have this trait”.

Commenting on the findings, Laura Dutton, Director at Lothbury Recruitment says: “The research by Aston University appears to convey the old stereotype that women are much more submissive in a business context. However, our snapshot survey has served to demonstrate that it simply isn’t the case on the whole. In fact, as our respondents have rightly pointed out both men and women can be self depreciating in certain situations”.

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