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The gender gap is not the reason for our miscommunication

When I was reading an article about Janine van den Berg (the first female police chief on the board of Interpol), it struck me once again how we are conditioned to think we are different because of our gender.

In the interview, they asked her if a female police chief acts differently than a male one?

She replied, “You have to be really careful thinking like that, because before you know it you are generalizing, but as a rule men have more masculine traits, like decisiveness, and women have more feminine traits, like communication. I have both”. Although she says not to generalize, she continues to label the traits as men- or women-specific.

What is the biggest problem with calling them ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ traits? Equal and happy, healthy relationships between men and women will stay on a Mission Impossible track.

Think about it. Why would you as a female adopt ‘male’ traits and run the risk of being called “masculine”, or even worse, “bitchy”, “bossy” or “working mom”. Conversely, why would a man adopt ‘female’ traits with the risk of being called “feminine” or “pussy”, “soft” or even “gay“?

By giving the traits the gender-neutral names of Heart Brain and Gut Brain — their original source — it becomes normal and acceptable for all of us to connect with them.

Because why would we not utilize all the resources we have inside us?

Why would a man not be willing to develop his Heart Brain if it brings him more ’success’ at home and at work, and as collateral beauty makes him a better human being? Similarly, for women, why would they have an issue with saying that they have developed a more Gut Brain survival instinct, when it will benefit their relationships and career, not to mention boost their self-esteem?

Source: "How Men and Women Fit". You can find it at Amazon :



Professor organisation and behavioural leadership at IE Business School.

Clinical Hypnotherapist/psychotherapist and Executive Coach.

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