Now and then we are shocked by certain statements of famous world leaders based on, as it sometimes seems, unwavering gender stereotypes. Thus, one of the most common prejudices, which seems to be “popular” among the world and domestic politicians lately, is one about women who talk a lot.
Controversial former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has been practically forced to resign as Olympic committee president due to anger and public pressure that was sparked by his recent statement in which he expressed his irritation with meetings that last way too long because of women who talk a lot. He explained that he believes women are much more competitive than men and because of their desire to prove themselves, they talk a lot and interrupt each other.
When asked by journalists for his comment on the growing trend of the number of female members in sports committees, he said that in that case, it is necessary to introduce a time limit for women’s speeches because “they have difficulty bringing the conversation to an end, which is irritating.” Moria was recently replaced by a woman, the Japanese Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Seiko Hashimoto
If Croatia and her internal political events were more popular to the rest of the world, perhaps the recent statement by the director of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund would have provoked equal public outrage. The Fund’s director Lucijan Vukelic, who is also a member of the Croatian Democratic Union, was a show guest and national television with several female colleagues where he expressed his satisfaction that a few women are in the studio because they talk more. „We men are more operative.” While Yoshiro Mori resigned from a leading position from the world-famous organisation, Lucijan Vukelic simply apologised.
Photo: YouTube screenshot
While some optimists may comment at first on how positive it is that a national television’s journalist Mislav Togonal opposed and publicly accused the HZZO director of severe sexism on national television or that Yoshimo Mori was forced to resign as head of the Olympic Committee, we must ask ourselves how someone willing to make such public statements even finds himself in decision-making positions in the 21st century.
For example, as a former Japanese prime minister, Mori was already known for his statements based on gender stereotypes and prejudices, controversial comments about AIDS, discriminatory messages to women, and insults to national sports champions. Japan is a country where men explicitly dominate in economy and politics, and in terms of the number of female representatives in the government, it is below Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. There are only 5 women in the Olympic Committee out of a total of 24 members.
Many studies have not only refuted the common belief that women talk more than men but have proven just the opposite.
Namely, out of a total of 56 studies conducted in the period from 1951 to 1991, only two gave results in which women did, in different situations, use speech more than men. A 2012 study by Princeton University and BYU found that women actually speak much less than men using as much as 75% less time to talk than the opposite sex.
Even if we accepted the thesis that women talk more than men, the perception, as with many other gender stereotypes, is significantly different. Men who use speech unhindered and often to express their opinions, discussions, etc. are often seen as confident, competitive and courageous while women are perceived as aggressive and strenuous.
Similar to men who work hard and are considered committed, hardworking and ambitious, women are over-ambitious, put their careers ahead of family life, are not good mothers, and so on.
The phenomenon also got its name – double bind. There are many such examples, and it seems that the word ambition itself, although in all contexts of the same meaning, has an unconscious bias and a different connotation when associated with describing a man and a woman.
The mentioned researches were obviously conducted on a small population to draw a general conclusion in a business and corporate environment that is certainly different from the everyday one. Therefore, we may not be able to refute nor confirm that women talk more than men, but what we can conclude is that women have throughout history certainly been silenced more than men. In colonial America, women were physically punished if they spoke too much or did not speak “properly” with punishments such as closing their mouths with a cork or piercing their tongues with a stick.
History repeats itself regardless of technological and civilizational development, and words are often the strongest weapon. That is why it is necessary to react decisively to any attempt at discrimination, as well as Croatian journalist Mislav Togonal did, whether it was intentional or accidental.