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Are Women More Compassionate Than Men?

Discussion in 'Education & Personal Growth' started by Viswamitra, Nov 9, 2019 at 7:00 PM.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    This question has been haunting me for a while since I noticed that in the Hospice volunteers' meeting, 80% of the volunteers were women. We rarely see men volunteering in the Hospice whether they are working or retired. I decided to research this topic a little further and came across many research reports on this subject.

    Roberto Mercadillo of the National Autonomous University of Mexico compared men and women's brain activation while they were experiencing compassion. He asked participants to lie in an fMRI scanner and showed them sad images meant to elicit compassion. Both men and women reported experiencing the same levels of compassion in response to the photographs. However, the regions of the brain activated in men were different than those in women.

    In self-report questionnaires, women do, in general, report experiencing more compassion in their lives than men report doing. There may be a number of reasons why they report it more. Differences in compassion expression in men and women are probably in large part due to different socialization processes. We know that brain changes in response to experience. A large body of research has shown that men and women have very different experiences and that they are socialized extremely differently as of infancy.

    In a study of human touch by Dacher Keltner, participants were asked to communicate different emotions by touching another participant's hand. They were also asked to guess what emotion was being communicated when their partner touched their hand. The participants could not see each but guessed each other’s emotion simply through a touch of the hand. When both partners were men, the odds of them guessing that the emotion being communicated was sympathy was no greater than chance. When at least one of the participants was a woman, however, participants were more accurate. Since sympathy is seen as a more “feminine” trait more acceptable for women to express, women may have learned to both communicate and recognize it more easily.

    Another reason women may have learned to express compassion more easily emerges from the work of Shelley Taylor, at UCLA, who found that men and women respond differently to stress. These differences may have certainly have trained women to express compassion more explicitly. Taylor found that the "fight or flight" response is characteristic of men whereas women tend toward a different tendency: "tend and befriend." Women faced with a stressful situation are more likely to respond by socializing, bonding with others and seeking protection and nurture within a community. (Perhaps, this is the reason why women share their problems more easily in this forum)

    Finally, women may at times have higher levels of Oxytocin - sometimes called the "cuddle hormone" or "love hormone" because it is linked to bonding, social connection and monogamy. It is produced in women during labor and lactation in women and is believed to trigger bonding and nurturing behaviors.

    Please share your thoughts.

    Note: Kindly understand that the author's intention is not to downplay the capabilities or the compassionate attitude of any gender through this article. It is an analysis I have carried out after experiencing more women volunteers in the Hospice than men.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019 at 8:03 PM
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  2. yellowmango

    yellowmango IL Hall of Fame

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    Women have been conditioned to be or to act more compassionate.
    Women are compassionate to their own children ,early on due to hormones and probably it is natures way to make sure the next generation genepool survives.

    A lot of jobs like school teachers,nurses and cabin crew were turned into women's only jobs because they were conditioned to be more compassionate and patient .


    Otherwise ,women can be as ruthless and cruel as any man .
     
  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @yellowmango,

    Thank you very much for your first response. Both men and women have some male and feminine qualities in them and based on which one is nurtured most takes a prominent position. Women can be ruthless in some circumstances and similarly, men can also be compassionate at certain circumstances. We all have read a lot of such circumstances in this forum.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019 at 8:00 PM
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  4. Srama

    Srama Finest Post Winner

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    Dear V sir,

    a very interesting topic to discuss and one we do quite bit at home, for personal reasons mostly about schools from low income areas - we understand and see a need for children to see men as role models, yet we do not know how to get them to sign up. That said, here's a link I found very interesting - Why Don't Men Volunteer as Much as Women?

    Some of the high lights of the article are -

    Again, no matter the income level, age or working status, women are more likely to volunteer.

    Energize Inc., a consultancy for nonprofits, published an entire guide dedicated to helping volunteer organizations recruit men.

    Women are more likely to volunteer through religious organizations, education groups and health-related organizations, while men are more likely to be involved in civic organizations (such as Rotary International), a sports group or public safety organization.

    “Women are attracted to the community aspects of volunteering. Volunteering is a chance to meet like-minded women. It’s a social event where they can be at ease.” To attract men, she has found it is more effective to “frame volunteerism as professional development.” She finds that talking about the practical benefits of developing skills and creating a network appeals more to men.

    I see how men like Buffet and Gates are compassionate at heart and are able to do better as philanthropists (that is their way of volunteering) I think because of what is being said above - the practical benefits! Hopefully will come back with more inputs as I continue to watch and learn as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019 at 1:33 AM
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  5. rgz

    rgz Gold IL'ite

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    Haha take it from warrior YM, Viswa :grinning:
    But yes, both genders are equally capable of compassion as well as cruelty. Humans are humans, can be a villain or hero - irrespective of gender.
     
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  6. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Yes, they are but the question is who is more compassionate or should I ask who is mostly compassionate? I wish to see rationale behind thoughts and not just statements.
     
  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sabitha,

    Thank you for sharing your insight along with some researched content. I will read leisurely and respond to you as I am tied up today with Akhanda Bhajans. I was looking for such responses.
     
  8. SpringB

    SpringB Platinum IL'ite

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    Are Women More Compassionate Than Men? -
    I would say probably men are less expressive than women and yes they might be less emotionally involved and that could be reason for less participation in hospice volunteering. Generally speaking men come forward in raising funds for a cause by participating in walkathons 1/2 marathons bike rides or volunteer in Boy Scouts or volunteer where physical effort is involved. All school related stem activities mostly consists of volunteering men. Another important aspect is when lady of the house is volunteering men mostly can’t or won’t. Only one per family can devote time. This is my general observation.
     
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  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sabitha,

    I read the article this morning and it is a well researched article you have shared. I understand about those who have babies and those who are doing multiple jobs not having time to volunteer, but men not volunteering as much as women at all ages should be because of a good reason. Obviously, Altruism is more engrossed into women because of their natural tendency to help others. With women being as busy as men, they find time to volunteer because they find satisfaction in helping others. I have nothing against men but we need to accept this statistics which we see in our daily lives and has been clearly researched and published.
     
  10. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @SpringB,

    Thank you for your insight on this subject. I like your simple logic that if one parent volunteer, other can't devote time. You are right about Walkathons, bike rides, Boy Scouts and those services that requires a lot of intense work. Men are less emotionally involved is difficult to digest for me as a man but may be true.
     

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