Male coded messages cut out women
While seemingly inoffensive, this type of language perpetuates male culture in organisations. Sports and the military are generally male domains where women are only starting to make inroads. Business jargon is a short hand that sends out an immediate message about the way an organisation works, and is a comment on its key core values. It's a question of officer's mess and locker room to the board room. Read: We want to hire more women – but we don’t seem to be able to!
It suggests what type of people are wanted, who succeeds and how they communicate. Although women are not outwardly unwelcome, there is subliminal signal that they have to understand and excel in a male game. They have to "get on side" and "get in the zone."
Pick up on the Male Coded Messages
Picking up male code is hard for anyone. These phrases can subtly influence the full participation and integration of women if they can't literally talk the talk. And if they do, they experience the "double whammy" of gender blow back. Assertive language while expected and rewarded from men is viewed negatively coming from women. They are expected to be more collaborative, inclusive and even tentative. Read: Assertive communication. 9 tips to avoid being labelled a bitch
Women may never feel that they can fully participate in the boisterous exchanges that are part of organisational life.
The effect of military and sporting lingo on women in the workplace should not be underestimated. It is part of a subliminal cultural message that leads to the exclusion of women. [Tweet "It says you are welcome, but on our terms."]
Language use is pivotal to corporate culture. Read: How to attract talented women to your organisation. I can honestly say that most meetings I attend, especially around leadership issues , invariably include some military reference, even when the focus is diversity and inclusion. Male coded language, like military and sporting jargon, serves as a template for masculine style, thought and action. The question is whether these types of cultures are likely to foster the level of inclusivity where women feel comfortable and can succeed. Informal terms used frequently in offices, business meetings, presentations, web sites and other official corporate material, become part of the employer brand. Add on to that, female unfriendly hospitality events, quite often centred around male sporting activities, those male coded messages are implanted even more deeply.
So women will have to learn to tune out the lingo, while their male colleagues should be encouraged to "step up to the plate" and "take a shot" at making changes to "level the field" to give women a "sporting chance." This will help our confusion when we feel the "goal posts have moved."
Some female coded messages
Leadership guru Simon Sinek, has always said "Leaders eat last" derived from the military mantra "officers eat last". So even though that it is a mainly male coded message, he shows an image of a mother throwing herself over her child to protect him. This is a metaphor for a badly needed different kind of leadership.
He then goes on to say:
"Real leaders are that mother ... that's what leadership is"
Officers eat last - but so do mothers. Time for some female coded messages.
3Plus International offers a portfolio of solutions for Individuals and Corporate Clients to achieve a gender balanced workplace. Contact us Now!
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
23rd April 2019 at 1800 Podcast with Virgina Franco Executive Storyteller, Resume & LinkedIn Writer
25th April 2019 at 1800 EVE Programme, an initiative of Danone. Twitter Chat “Harnessing Positive Psychology for a Smarter Leadership"
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
Going International: Where are all the women! Why women are under-represented in international roles and what can be done about it.read more
Interviews need to be well designed and structured with diverse panelists. We have to consider the potential for double standards and double binds to prevent the interview traps for women.read more
A stressed workplace isn’t great for anyone, building support between you and your colleagues is essential. Here’s how to make it happenread more