CHAPTER3 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN COMMUNICATION STYLES
This chapter shows that while differences in communication styles of women and men can be attributed to many factors, nonetheless, socialisation into gender positions is clearly a major factor that leads to the differences in the way women and men talk. What this chapter demonstrates is how powerfully women are positioned, in the society (families and workplaces), to accept gendered roles. Thus, as adults women must confront their ‘inner voices’ in taking up management positions, voices which suggest managers are male, as well as dealing with structural inequality in organisations.
Certainly, we live in a society in which there is substantial inequality, and some of this inequality is partly grounded in gender social relations and the construction of different gendered identities based on a male-female dualism (Davies, 1989:2). There are a number of competing explanations for this situation, and considerable controversy exists among different positions.
I concur with the broad concern of eradicating women’s subordination, even ifthere are some aspects of feminisms that I find less easy to support. As Wolpe ( 1993/1994: 1) notes that, in South Africa, there is antagonism towards feminism, an antagonism I must critique and confront in terms of my own personal knowledge and my research. Furthermore, Blackmore (1989:96) shows that there is no single feminist theory but a body of theories taking on different political hues.
While some feminists do not see the need for theories at all, some theorists think that feminist theory must reject all that is masculine and set up a framework in opposition (Blackmore, 1989:97). The issue, however, is that all world views are theory-ridden, the difference only comes on whether the theory is made explicit or not, and the level of theoretical generalisations.
Broadly speaking, feminist writers (Connel, 1994; Davies, 1989; Oakley, 1972; Ozga, 1993; Richardson and Robinson, 1993; Walkerdine, 1981; Weiner, 1994; Wolpe, 1988) challenge the gendered status quo on the grounds that it is quite simply unjust. Feminists have insisted on the importance of looking critically at the taken-for-granted gender divisions, which they do not regard as ‘natural’. They acknowledge that most societies prescribe different activities and characteristics for males and females, which may come to be seen as ‘natural’ by the people involved. But, they assert that the way children are brought up in the society and its social institutions is responsible for the vast majority ofdifferences between the genders, thus differences in communicative styles.
It then follows that feminist research in education is committed to the view that the society plays a role in constructing, defining, and reinforcing gender roles and gender identity. Such research is critical ofthe role that the different social institutions play in gender socialisation and ofthe way those institutions disadvantage girls (Davies, 1989; Delamont, 1980; Measor & Sikes, 1992; Ozga, 1993; Walkerdine, 1981; Weiner, 1994).
At this point I wish to highlight the different perspectives within feminism. The critical point here is that there are feminisms, rather than one hegemonic feminism. There are liberal feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism and black feminism and post-structuralist and all represent different emphasis and perspectives.
I will also discuss the theories of socialisation. There are biological, social and psychoanalytic theories to explain the process of gender, construction and therefore I will give a brief overview of each.
I will then discuss how gender differentiated communication is acquired through socialisation starting with the home and moving on to the society as a whole. The differences in communicative competence affects the relationship between the women school principals and their staff
FEMINIST THEORIES AND THEffi DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
Feminism is not one theory, but has many perspectives within it. Feminism is usually divided into three main categories, liberal feminism, radical feminism, and socialist feminism. And, more recently, black and post structural feminisms have emerged.
l Liberal feminism
According to Weiner (1994:52) liberal feminism has been the most acceptable and the most enduring ofall the feminisms. Liberal feminist argue that for women to be emancipated, they must have freedom to choose their lives, to be able to compete with men on equal terms in the professional and political world, as well as in the labour market. They argue that women have reason to choose and they have the same worth as that of men (Friedman et al, 1986:46)
Fundamental to this perspective is access to education based on the assumption that if both genders are provided with equal education, an atmosphere will be created in which individual women’s (and men’s) potential can be encouraged and developed. Liberal feminists also claim that equal opportunities for women can be achieved gradually by democratic political reforms, without the need for revolutionary changes in economic, political or cultural life, and, in this, their views are in contrast to those of other feminisms (Weiner, 1994:54).
As Acker (1994:45) puts it, liberal feminism focuses on three themes, the first of which is equal opportunities. She indicates that separate educational provision has usually meant inferior facilities and restricted features. The second theme is socialisation and sex stereotyping. In this case, children are socialised into traditional attitudes and orientations that limit their futures unnecessarily to sex-stereotyped occupational and family roles. Again, socialisation encourages patterns ofinterpersonal relationships between the sexes that disadvantage females who are placed in a position of dependency and difference, and also males who are forced to suppress their emotional and caring potential. Thirdly, she speaks about sex discrimination as another theme within liberal feminism. This centres around aspects of discrimination, rights, justice and fairness.
Here the impact of structures is taken into account, thus, recognising the impact of policies as well as attitudes in creating a structure that disadvantages females.
Liberal feminists are criticised for overemphasising individual freedom at the expense of the needs of the community. What the individual can achieve has a limit, and therefore the individual’s rights must be reconciled with those of others in the society (Measor & Sikes, 1992:25). Other feminists, according to Measor and Sikes (1992:25), suggest that the view of the self as rational, autonomous individual, which is the heart of liberalism is in itself a very male view of the way people and society works.
Acker ( 1994 :44) also mentions that liberal feminism is also accused ofelitism because while liberal strategies may lead to few token women to have careers’ and join the ranks of the powerful, the structures of oppression survive untouched.
Radical feminism aims to first uncover the main cause of women’s oppression, and would argue that the oppression of women is the root of all other forms of oppression and domination (Friedman et al, 1986:47) Radical feminism focuses on patriarchy as the social system which functions in a hierarchical and dominating way, such that individual women are subordinate to individual men. In addition, radical feminism argues that the personal is political. They assert that « it is patriarchy that oppressed women and their subordinate position stems from the social, economic and political dominance of men in the society » (Measor & Sikes, 1992:27).
Another assumption of radical feminism is that of the « universal oppression of women ». This assumption raises a lot of questions. One tends to wonder if this is true for all the communities since there are other communities, which are matriarchal. According to Mahony (1985:66) in Acker (1993:50), radical feminists relate school life to the economy or the family. The term « reproduction » is sometimes used, where what is being reproduced is the domination of men over women, denying girls and women full access to knowledge, resources, self-esteem and freedom from fear and harassment.
Radical feminists concentrate on two main themes. The first one is « the male monopolisation of culture and knowledge ». It is argued that all knowledge, decisions and activities of men were taken as human knowledge and women’s contributions were ignored (Spender & Sarah, 1980 in Acker (1992:50).
The second theme is « sexual politics of everyday life in schools ». This theme has to do with teachers attention unequally divided between sexes to the advantage of boys and the benefits of single-sex schools since the concern is the dominance of males over females in mixed-sex settings.
According to radical feminism, women are viewed as primarily sexual beings and sexual objects by men. Measor and Sikes (1992:27) in this regard show that radical feminists have focused on different forms of male domination like, pornography, prostitution, sexual harassment, and violence against women, and they have been prepared to fight politically against these problems in the society.
With regard to change, radical feminism asserts that the existing political and legal structures must be abolished to attain women’s liberations, fundamental and revolutionary revision of the social and cultural institutions is needed.
In respect of education, radical feminism looks at how the schools serve as grounds to reinforce patriarchy, and for this reason they have focused on the power relations between the genders in the school. Weiner (1994:66), argues that the role played by sexuality in the oppression of girls and women in the classroom and staff room, and in the schooling process in general, has been prioritised by radical Radical feminists also claim that school subjects are male-centred, and that there are patriarchal processes in schools.
Socialist feminism holds similar views with Marxist feminism. Socialist and Marxist feminists hold on to Marxist perspectives which argues that inequality is the result of economic, social, and political structures in which people live. However, Middleton (1993 :41) points out that when socialist feminism emerged, it drew together the two positions of Marxist feminism and Radical feminism where Marxist feminism contends that women education serves to reproduce the sexual division oflabour and the class diffurence between the women, while Radical feminism emphasise women’s oppression by men and that schooling reproduces sexual subordination.
Again, socialists like Marxist feminists advocate that « freedom can only be achieved when people are released from a slog ofwork by technology or the appropriate development of the productive forces and when alienation and exploitation are eliminated by change in social relation in society » (Carter, 1988:169; Friedman~ lll, 1986:51).
Socialists reject biologically determined division oflabour (Jagger, 1985:304). It is asserted that if the role of men can change over time or from one society to the other, then « the differences between males and females are not pregivens, but rather are socially constructed and therefore are socially alterable » (Jagger, 1985:104).
Socialist feminism suggests that both patriarchy and capitalism have to be taken into consideration, and that both must be defeated. Thus Weiner (1994:67) contends that patriarchy has a materialistic and historical foundation in that capitalism is founded on a patriarchal division of labour. As a result, socialist feminism has focused on the relationship between production (the labour marker) and reproduction (the family); the interrelationship of capitalism and patriarchy; and the complex interplay between gender, culture and society.
Socialist feminism class has an impact on gender formation. Willis ( 1997) and McRobbie ( 1978, cited in Weiner, 1994:68) show that there is « the formation of gendered class grouping in the schooling context, namely the process by which working class girls and boys become working class men and women ».
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION, PROBLEM FORMULATION, AIM AND METHOD
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.2 RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.3 THE AIM OF THE RESEARCH
1.4 MOTIVATION FOR THE RESEARCH
1.5 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.6 CHAPTER DIVISION
CHAPTER2 THE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION IN MANAGEMENT
2.2 THE PURPOSE OF COMM UNI CATION
2.3 THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS
2.4 BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
2.5 TYPES OF COMMUNICATION
2.6 CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION
2.7 USING ELECTRONICS TO FACILITATE COMMUNICATION
CHAPTER3 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN COMMUNICATION STYLES
3.2 FEMINIST THEORIES AND THEIR DIFERENT PERSPECTIVES
3.3 THEORIES OF SEX AND GENDER SOCIALISATION
3.4 ACQUISITION OF GENDER DIFFERENTIATED COMMUNICATION THROUGH SOCIALISATION
3.5 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE
3.6 NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
3.7 SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF COMMUNICATIVE GENDER DIFFERENCES
CHAPTER4 RESEARCH DESIGN
4.2 SAMPLING AND SELECTION
4.3 DATA COLLECTION
4.4 RESEARCHER ROLE
4.5 DA TA ANALYSIS
4.6 CORROBORATING DATA
4.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH
CHAPTERS FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
5.2 SOCIALISATION AND COMMUNICATION
5.3 COMMUNICATION STYLE
5.4 BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION
5.5 CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION USED
5.6 TEACHERS’ ATTITUDES
CHAPTER6 SYNTHESIS OF FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION 180
6.2 OVERVIEW OF THE INVESTIGATION
6.3 SUMMARY OF KEY ISSUES
6.5 IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES OF WOMEN PRINCIPALS OF SECONDARY SCHOOLS