Does gender matter in the judiciary and in negotiations?

In a follow up to my earlier post, I found this article in which the author quotes some reactions from male lawyers and a female lawyer about how female judges are now being trained in the UAE.  The men stress that females are simply different in a way that would not allow them to be good judges.

On the other side of the world, this article from The Lawyers Weekly also discusses some differences between the genders.  The author provides a summary of a speech by Donna Goodhand, a leadership communications specialist, who recently spoke to the Women’s Law Association of Ontario on legal negotiation styles, including strengths and weaknesses that female lawyers exhibit.  Here’s an excerpt of the article discussing something that I catch myself doing all the time:

Goodhand also recommended avoiding a few gender traps, such as “undermining openers.” These include expressions such as “I guess what I’m trying to say,” “It’s probably just me,” “in my opinion,” or “I’m sorry” when you’re not. Diminishing endings, also a problem, include “isn’t it?”, “right?” or “you know what I mean?” These expressions should all be dropped, Goodhand said.

She explained that the use of these strategies is contextual. If undermining openers and diminishing endings are used in a rapport-building social encounter, they’re absolutely right. If they’re used in a competitive encounter such as legal negotiations, they’re deadly.

No more “undermining openers” for me in 2008 (or at least I’ll try not too)…oh wait, is that an undermining opener?…Oh, crap.

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