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Show Some Emotion, Ladies And Gentleman

17/03/2016 2:03 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Portrait of an exhausted business man in studio.

Every woman has heard it before -- that they are "too emotional". It often comes with an element of disgust -- how dare she show the sentience that separates us from the animal kingdom and, you know, actually feel.

Of the 10 women I asked, all of them had been criticised in the workplace for being too emotional. One noted that "emotion is viewed as a strength for men and weakness for women".

What can often be forgotten is that the workplace is an inherently emotional and political sphere.

We are working toward goals and are often willing to use all resources at our disposal to get there -- and we bring our baggage from home with us which impacts our productivity.

The reality is that men and women are just as emotional as each other. According to Cordelia Fine in her landmark book Delusions of Gender, the neuropsychological differences between men and women are minor. She concluded that the differences between what we expect of the genders is down to societal pressures and stereotypes.

Emotion, weirdly, falls into what we expect of women and is closely aligned with weakness.

I myself have fallen into this trap of stereotyping. I pride myself on being hardened and relying on evidence to make my decisions. The reality is that by being brash, I am emotional.

Emotion isn't just about crying. It is about the yelling and rage we see between men. It is about the name calling and grouping of mates.

With this in mind, I find that emotion and the pursuit of gender equality are linked.

Some men view gender equality as a slight on their influence and access to power. The reality is, gender equality lifts the standard.

Take the research which shows that companies with more women in senior management perform better. It is reported everywhere and commonly accepted in management circles.

But things stay the same.

Evidence like this has been coming out in a steady stream for about a decade now.

As a top lawyer recently said to me: "Every CEO knows the scale and cost of the issue, but they are not pulling their weight."

The maintaining of the status quo, after years of research and evidence, shows me that the limited sharing of influence is personal.

Who of us has not faced change and considered our own self-preservation? Whether implicit or explicit, our natural instinct is always to keep the status quo.

None of us are truly stony-hearted, but to consider emotions as wholly negative that is some next-level self-loathing.

Denying emotion begins to silence our humanity. Man, even just thinking about doing that sounds illogical.

So don't shy away from your emotions.

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