ASU study shows disparity in men vs women's actions

Are women able to express their frustrations or passions as freely as men? If they do, how is it received? Or is a forceful woman labeled angry, while a man is considered strong?

- Are women able to express their frustrations or passions as freely as men? If they do, how is it received? Or is a forceful woman labeled angry, while a man is considered strong?

A new ASU study appears to prove when a woman shows anger she loses influence while a man gets the opposite reaction.

Many have come to love Gorden Ramsey's outbursts of anger. Would he be as popular if he was a woman?

Whether in the restaurant kitchen or the boardroom, there's no question that more women are in positions of power, but have perceptions of a strong woman changed? An ASU study may prove they haven't.

"The takeaway is that women are really stuck," said Jessica Salerno.

ASU Psychologist Jessica Salerno set out to prove what many women feel on a regular basis, that when they express anger or emotion, or feel passionate about an issue, they are perceived differently than a man.

"I saw the results, actually all the time. I was a graduate student and as a woman I was thinking great, now I can publish this paper, and this is such an important finding, and then it hit me. This is terrible, this is awful," she said.

Salerno gathered 210 college students and put them through a computer simulated jury deliberation. There was one holdout juror who passionately and sometimes angrily pushed to change opinions. For each test subject, jurors arguments were exactly the same, the words, the same punctuation, but the psychology changed the gender.

"When they heard an angry man make an angry argument they became significantly less confident in their own opinion. So about 18 percent of them actually changed their verdict to be in line with that angry man's opinion.  But when those exact same comments and expressions came from an angry women, participants not only didn't doubt their opinion but they became more confident in their own opinion," said Salerno.

After the simulation, she asked the test subject why they rejected the woman's forceful opinions.

"People said that they thought she was too emotional, that is how it really is out there in the world," she said.

The study's results did not surprise Lori Clendenin; she works in construction. She shows up to job sites with her pink tape measure and calls the shots for a tile and granite company, pointing out to male workers what needs to be fixed. She's had crews walk off the job, and one male contractor refused to talk to her.

It is not offensive; it is tiresome cause it is the same old every time. Every time I come onto a new site with new crews I have to prove myself. Prove that I know what I am talking about, that I am not just a "dumb girl." and once I gain their respect and trust, then they will listen to me but not up until then. I have to prove myself every single time," said Clendenin.

From the workplace to politics the study's implications are far reaching. This election year we have two women vying for the presidency, one in each party. How closely are they watching what they say and how they say it.

"If you hadn't read the study I know you wouldn't believe me that it happens, it absolutely happens," said Christine Jones.

Jones would know; she has been an executive with Valley based GoDaddy and the only female candidate for Governor of Arizona during the 2014 election.

"I ran for office against 7 men, they dubbed us Snow White and the 7 dwarfs, I didn't come up with that, someone else did. We all could stand for the exact same thing, and it could be perceived as funny by one guy, or compelling, or emotional, but it's completely different when I said it from when the other 7 said it," she said.

Jones says she chose her words and tone carefully during her candidacy, and can imagine what it may be like for women running on the national stage.

"Bernie Sanders can stand up and flail and foam at the mouth, and so can Donald Trump. If Carly Fiorina or Hillary Clinton tried to deliver the same message on their side of the aisle, they would be run out on a rail," said Jones.

With the Governor's race behind her, Jones is now the interim head of the Great Hearts Academies, a large Phoenix-based charter school network.

"For those little first graders who are downstairs today, and they are sitting here giving this interview in 40 years. I want them to say I can actually express a point with force, and it is not going to be perceived 'oh she is just an angry woman." She is actually smart, and she is educated, compelling and she is a leader and she is speaking a point, and I am going to pay attention to it," said Jones.

While it may be easy to blame men, keep in mind none of the women in the study stood up for their fellow angry woman.

Women represent close to 50% of the US workforce, yet only 5% of Fortune 500 CEO's are women. 

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