The “Fair” Gender

Research continues to explore perceived differences of women and men as to their negotiation styles. Some studies find men typically focus on the more competitive elements of the negotiation while women focus more on the relational aspects. This alleged female focus on relationships is perceived by some as a vulnerability which stymies effective negotiations. Though compelling research finds cooperative relationship building as an essential ingredient in productive and fair negotiations, gender stereotyping continues to present personal and professional challenges.

As mediators, we must cultivate our own sense of self-awareness. Facilitating fair decision-making is an arduous undertaking. What informs our own decision making? How can we support each other in confronting gender biases that may impede effective negotiations? Gender bias crosses gender lines. There is substantial research that supports that women are not only harder on themselves, they tend to judge other woman more critically than they do men. [1] To the extent we work towards self-awareness and deeply reflect upon the mirrored images of our own perceptions, we better position ourselves to master the art of fair and effective negotiations.

Now as to the “fairest” of us all…chromosomes are inconsequential.