Can we really talk about female values?
Do female values even exist?
We have seen a number of references from some really quite senior people talking about feminine or female values. We also see the same speech patterns related to female strengths and skills. [Tweet "But can values and skills have a gender?"]If they can what is the difference between male and female values?
We decided to ask.
Definition of Values
Values are beliefs tied inextricably to emotion, not objective, cold ideas referring to the desirable goals people strive to attain and transcending specific actions and situations. People’s values form an ordered system of value priorities that characterize them as individuals. This hierarchical feature of values also distinguishes them from norms and attitudes.
The Theory of Basic Human values, developed by Shalom H. Schwartz, suggests there are 10 universal values
- POWER: Social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources
- ACHIEVEMENT: Personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards
- HEDONISM: Pleasure or sensuous gratification for oneself
- STIMULATION: Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life
- SELF-DIRECTION: Independent thought and action - choosing, creating, exploring
- UNIVERSALISM: Understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature
- BENEVOLENCE: Preservation and enhancement of the welfare of people with whom one is in frequent personal contact
- TRADITION: Respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that traditional culture or religion provide
- CONFORMITY: Restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms
- SECURITY: Safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self
The general consensus from our social media survey is that basic values are human. Where the differentiator lies is in interpretation and prioritisation. But priorities are probably gender based because that is the way our society has evolved and works now. Today gender based values are considered to be on a range. There is an expectation that men and women will exhibit both male and female priorities to different degrees.
When it comes to Power and Achievement, not all men will ascribe to the same interpretation of these values, as we can clearly see with Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau.
Women are perceived to have stronger values in the Universalism and Benevolence subsets. Although, Michelle Obama and Theresa May certainly appear to have different priorities and interpretations on the welfare of people. Women are also breaking with tradition by campaigning for gender parity and some men are resisting because it impacts the status quo, even though some men exhibit preferences for challenge and self direction. Men are considered to be more aggressive, but we are seeing an increase in violent crime among women as our cultures change.
So by this constant reference to "female values" we run the risk of digging ourselves deeper into gender sand traps which lead to further embedding unconscious bias. Leaders working in the D & I field should also take a look at their use of language which can be held responsible for limiting both men and women. We need to stop referencing female values, female skills and female leadership. It implies that they are different from the "norm." It would seem that their base values are not different at all, but the interpretation of those values for some women might vary.
And even if we talk about female priorities - those priorities are not always the goals of all women. The time has come to have a fluid mindset relating to the notion of female values as well as female strengths and qualities.
Let us know if you think there is such a thing as "female values". Take our poll here.
Need Coaching for your value based Leadership Skills? Contact 3Plus 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
JUNE 6-8TH 2019 - OMBUDSPERON EUROPEAN WOMEN’S LOBBY BRUSSELS
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
It is essential that we encourage and build a #NotUs culture in the workplace, so that we can prevent further cases of sexual harassment.read more
Men’s flexible working should be on offer to allow couples to make genuine choices both for their own benefit and for benefits of building gender diverse workplaces.read more
It is no secret that women tend to take on the majority of informal caregiving, but the economic cost of the care gap is starting to mount up.read more