Choose words like a male scientist? Now that’s a novel idea.
Most sectors suffer from whopping great gaps between what the boys do and what the girls do and how much they earn (still! I know, it’s like 2020!). I say suffer, because businesses with greater gender parity enjoy a better bottom line.
A LOT has been written about this and some of the issue, it would seem, can be attributed to confidence – or the displays of confidence. You’ve perhaps got too much of it if you’re a gentleman, too little of it if you’re a lady.
Zooming in on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), research published in the BMJ at the end of last year analysed the gender of the authors of more than six million scientific studies.
They looked at whether the scientists had used promotional sounding words, such as ‘remarkable’ and ‘unprecedented’, in the titles and abstracts of the journal articles, to describe their research. The most commonly used positive word throughout all the studies was ‘novel’, and men used it 59 percent more often than women.
The jeopardy here, of not using positive and promotional words, is that you can be easily overlooked.
Where are the ‘wow’ words?
I have judged a number of the Northern Power Women awards and as a words geek I noticed a lack of ‘wow’ words in the section where female nominees talk about their work – compared to the male nominees.
As a result, I discounted words like ‘successful’ and ‘striking’ and ‘distinguished’ in the text, to try and balance up the core information. The judging committee even had discussions about the noticeable under selling in the women’s words.
If you watch Masterchef or similar knock-out rounds TV shows, the women tend to blame their lack of skill when they’re asked about why they got knocked out. Whereas the men will say they did well to get so far, and that they’re pleased with themselves.
Read the full article where the BMJ research is referenced by clicking in the box below. It might be useful if you want to beef up your CV or social media profile. Or if you’re writing about your business or organisation, in order to get investment, prizes, awards, money, customers and attention for what you do.