Admittedly it was not a question I was expecting, but this happens from time to time in radio and after a split second of thought, I shared my best response.
“While there are still gender issues in the workplace such as pay and leadership roles, and these are changing, I don’t believe there is a larger majority of women who are difficult employees or women who find it difficult to deal with all the difficult men. It simply doesn’t strike me as a gender issue.”
What does happen is this:
Men have been sociologically expected to play the role of the Commander or the one in charge or the stereotypical Type A role. If this is not a role they are naturally equipped to play, they end up acting as if that is who they are. That takes work and effort and is exceptionally draining. This type of masking behavior creates stress and any additional stress can create reactions that we label as difficult.
Women have the same challenge in that they are expected in our culture more so to play the role of the Relater or the one who is more nurturing, emotional and takes care of everyone else’s needs. If they are not comfortable expressing this side of who they are or if this is not who they are naturally equipped to be, this again creates stress and results in the behaviors we label as difficult.
It would be unfair and quite possibly unreasonable for any of us to say that women are making up the majority of difficult people or that men are making up the same. Each person has their own unique ability to be difficult and also their own unique ability to be pleasant. Stress has a large impact on both genders behavior and while the radio host seemed to want to sway me to one side or the other, the truth is we’ve all been difficult, can all be difficult, and will likely all deal with difficulty again.