Gender Differences In Negotiation

The UN Conference of the Parties (supreme governing body of an international convention), made a pledge to enhance female involvement at their annual conferences in 2011. This year it was noticed that participation levels dropped and as a result there were “less than 34% of country negotiation staff were female. Some teams were more than 90% male.” One of the key discussions was the effect climate change would have on women in developing countries. It was revealed that this group would be the most impacted by future extreme weather events as their livelihoods, safety and health would be most at high risk. 

Women have a significant role to play in preventing climate change, not only in representatives participating in the COP27 but also in climate-resilient education and career pathways such as increasing female percentage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.  

Women can be a great resource in negotiation discussions as they commonly use a different part of their brains to men, and this is due to different life challenges caused by evolution. Women use empathising tendencies as opposed to males who use systematic tendencies. Both tendencies offer different skills for negotiating. 

It is important for females to feel supported when negotiating especially when it comes to: 

  • managing emotions
  • being heard 
  • frustration at not being taken seriously 
  • confidence (overcoming and controlling nerves) 
  • establishing credibility 
  • the ability to be assertive without being labelled as difficult. 

Confidence is also a key part in participating in negotiations. The ENS 5 step framework, which has been used globally for over 40 years by men and women can help you unlock your negotiation potential. 

What are your thoughts about gender differences in negotiation? What have you experienced or observed yourself? 

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