*Over the years, I have worked with, over, for and under a number of women in positions of authority. I have never had a “problem” having a female boss, yet I know of many men that cannot bear the thought: Their loss.

It has been widely established that the female of the species is a much better communicator than men. They are more apt to actually “listen” to others, rather than blithely pass off any communications as interruptions in the pecking order of authority.

According to a recent article written by Amanda McKenzie Braedyn Svec in Suite 101.com, “Many times both men and women struggle when communicating with the opposite gender.

For communication to be effective, it must be understood. One of the biggest barriers to effective communication is gender. The first step to overcoming the gender communication barrier is to identify male and female communication patterns. Then one can begin to understand the different strengths and styles both genders bring to the table.”

The key point is that, from an early age, girls are urged to “use their manners, play quietly, and be ladylike,” while it is okay for boys to “use rough language, play loudly, and be rambunctious.” The behavior of both sexes tends to lead to aggressiveness by men in later life and acceptance (or nurturing) by women.

Look no further than if a boy falls, scrapes his knee, he is urged to suck it up, while girls are nurtured and allowed to express how they feel. Girls “cooperate as a group when playing together like double Dutch jump rope. Boys play sports and cops and robbers. They are competitive and play team games like dodge ball. Girls, McKenzie Braedyn Svec continues, “develop a relational style of interaction whereas boys develop a competitive style of interaction.”

McKenzie Braedyn Svec points out the various differences between the way males and females communicate:

Male Communication Pattern and Traits

The male communication pattern and traits tend to be honest, direct, and factual. It is considered “report” type talk. The communication behaviors men tend to possess are as follows:

o    reason
o    logic
o    power
o    rank
o    status
o    compete
o    winning
o    team
o    think

Men view conversation as a means to exchange information and problem solve. Men stay away from personal topics and discuss events, sports, news, and facts. They tell more stories and jokes than women as a way to show status and power. Men are direct, blunt, and speech includes slang or swear words. Men get straight to work on a task and build relationships while working on the project. Men reflect and process information for decision making internally.

Female Communication Pattern and Traits

The female communication pattern and traits tend to be nurturing, indirect, and respectful. It is considered “rapport” type talk. The communication behaviors women tend to possess are as follows:

o    feeling
o    empathy
o    harmony
o    closeness
o    relationships
o    sharing
o    cooperation
o    group
o    intuitive

Women talk to build rapport and make connections. They discuss personal topics like relationships, feelings, and past experiences. Women take turns communicating. Women tend to be indirect, tactful, and use more courtesy words. Women accomplish tasks by building relationships first. Women talk out loud to others, processing information externally for decision making. Keep in mind, these differences are typical. Not all traits listed under male or female are strictly one or the other.

I bring up this point to highlight an April 6 Los Angeles Times “Column One” feature titled “It’s no place for a king,” a fascinating microcosm on how women rule, even in areas of severe distaff repression. Written by Robyn Dixon, the column focuses on Queen Hajiya Haidzatu Ahmed, ruler of a tiny and remote region of Nigeria called Kumbwada, population 33,000. Ahmed rules in a heavily Islamic country in which men rule absolutely and women obey-or else face penalties under the strict Islamic law “Sharia,” which condemns women to a second class existence with no apparent rights whatsoever.

Ahmed rules Kumbwada because of a supposed ancient “curse” against men ruling the tiny rural area. “Male pretenders who dare try will be buried within a week,” according to the article. Ahmed’s grandmother ruled for 73 years, and died when she was 113.

Ahmed rules with a compassion not found in a country wracked with corruption and oppressive religious laws. She will not tolerate wife beating, and has had just one case brought to her in her reign. Ahmed says, “Marriage is not a joke, and women are not slaves.” But Ahmed rarely grants divorces; rather, she speaks with both parties in the dispute to see if it can be resolved. To prove the point, if a woman is having troubles in a marriage, or if it simply is not working, “I try to strike a balance. I don’t just end such marriages. I try to be tactful and see if there is any way this woman can come to love this man… But if that’s not possible, if there’s no way she can have any compassion for him or love, it’s not her fault or his fault. It’s just natural.”

Ahmed recognizes that Nigeria has entrenched problem, politically, and wishes for the day when she sees a female president: “It is my most ardent wish. I think the problems in Nigeria have become intractable. Let’s try a woman. Men have failed.”

For the complete article, please go to latimes.com