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Podcast Transcript

Stinky Boys And Giggly Girls

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:10  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. All right, Marsha. "Stinky Boys and Giggly Girls". We are really pushing the gender stereotypes this week, aren't we?

Marsha Clark  0:30  
We sure are! Yes, indeed. And and when we talk about gender differences in our programs, people can start out a little tense because it feels like such a taboo topic. And it kind of reminds me of the, you know, the currently popular song "We don't talk about Bruno" I listen to a lot with my grandchildren. And it's like, if we don't acknowledge that there are differences in how we show up, based on sex, gender, and all the social conditioning that goes along with that, then there won't be any differences. But you know, our reality tells us everyday there are distinct differences. And once we lay out the research, and people start relating it to their own lived experiences, kind of all starts to click into place. And, you know, the bottom line to all of this content is about working more effectively with each other and building on those stronger relationships. And, you know, stinky boys and giggly girls, I just laugh when I say it, so it makes me happy.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:28  
Exactly. It's such a great title. But you know, that's such an important point. We're not doing these episodes to reinforce the gaps between the genders but to talk about those gaps in order to build bridges.

Marsha Clark  1:40  
Absolutely. And I love, love, love that, Wendi. It isn't about picking on people for how they show up. But it really is to better understand how sex, gender and social conditioning influence us and how we can use that to be more effective leaders.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:54  
Exactly. So to kick off this exploration of stinky boys and giggly girls, let's get some clarity around the definitions and distinctions of sex and gender because we're going to be talking about both today. And they're not the same thing.

Marsha Clark  2:11  
Well, it's a really good point. And I learned this, you know, as we moved into this work, and so let me help our listeners understand this as well. So sex is fundamentally biological and it is assigned at birth, based on biological markers like chromosomes, hormones, and physical attributes. And so newborns are assigned as male, female, or sometimes intersex, and this is where it gets really tricky and controversial, if the markers don't specifically line up with male or female. So gender, that was sex, biological, gender on the other hand, is a social construct and has many different facets. And I really liked this explanation that's provided by the World Health Organization. And they say: "Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men. And it varies from society to society, and it can be changed." So if that's the definition, then gender roles, and some societies are more rigid than in others, you know, however, these are not always set in stone, and the roles in the stereotypes can certainly shift over time. But if you think about even how women are viewed in countries, the United States or other countries, you can begin to see where gender can take on different definitions.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:47  
So I think we're definitely seeing more and more of this acknowledgement and acceptance of shifting gender roles, even the way gender is represented in the United States.

Marsha Clark  3:58  
That's right. And, and I agree with that. And I want one of our future episodes to focus on really educating our listeners on how we can better understand and support, you know, all of the gender identities because I know it's confusing right now. And it's, as I said, controversial, and I'm trying to bring some clarity or understanding to it in this session, or in this episode.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:23  
Right. So that brings up a good point, Marsha, for anyone who isn't cisgender, and I want to dive into what that definition is, cisgender or who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth, is there still value in listening to an episode like today's?

Marsha Clark  4:42  
Well, I think it's a great question. And I'd like to think that the answer to that is yes. Regardless of how someone identifies whether it's non binary, gender fluid, gender neutral, transgender or anywhere else along this spectrum of gender expression, there is value in understanding how our biology, our hormones and conditioning impacts how we show up in the world. And how when we better understand that complexity, we can be our most authentic and effective selves. And I want to add one other thing. You know, Wendi, I get asked questions periodically about are your programs for people who are non binary, transgender and does your research include? And what I want to say is we are so much on the front end of the research around this. I don't pretend to know the answer to that question. And so I go back to what I've said, I'm gonna fall back to our values conversation. God made us all, right? And so I want to be supportive and helpful to everyone. And yet, I don't have all of the information because I think there's still so much more to be discovered just like 50 years ago, medical research wasn't done that much on women. We didn't know much about women.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:49  
Still not.

Marsha Clark  4:52  
That's right! And so we've got a whole lot of work to do around all of that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:03  
Right. So what we will be mindful of as we're talking today is to be clear on the difference between talking about sex or biology and gender.

Marsha Clark  6:16  
Right. Right. And so, again, let's make that happen. I don't know how to say that otherwise.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:24  
Right.  So our conversation today, just to reinforce is if you've got Marsha's book, we're mostly talking around chapter two of "Embracing Your Power" and the chapter is titled A Lesson in Contrast. This chapter is focusing on the differences between men and women looking for and looking at both biological and sociological / cultural differences.

Marsha Clark  6:51  
Yeah and today, we're going to laser in a bit on the biological differences between the sexes, and how when they're merged with some social conditioning, it impacts how we interact.  

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:51  
Right. So in the opening of the section on invisible differences we talked about, which we talked about last week in detail, you actually refer to a fascinating study of how our biological differences show up even in the first 24 hours of birth. So share with our listeners that research.

Marsha Clark  7:25  
So those biological differences between the sexes, they do show up immediately. And, you know, this is often, well are we a result of our innate or genetic or biological or are we a part of the social conditioning? And of course, the answer is yes, but yeah, these are some things that show up immediately. And they're often referred to as the pink blanket and the blue blanket study because we know that pink blankets are associated with girls and blue blankets with boys, and just those colors.  So these studies have been done many times in many countries, and the results are consistent. And the studies show that in the first 24 hours of a baby's life, so long before social conditioning has occurred, boy babies notice noise, sound and movement. And so their eyes are drawn to the blinking lights on the monitoring equipment in the hospital nurseries, if you will, or the movement of hospital staff as they crossed the room, sort of the broad movement, if you will, and then any loud noises that might occur. And then, this to me was so fascinating. Girls, on the flip side of that, look at their caregiver's faces in that first 24 hours, their caregiver's faces, their eyes and mouths in particular, 400 times more than boy babies. 400 times.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:51  
400 times? That's... Wow, okay.

Marsha Clark  8:54  
Right. I mean, yes. So, you know, I'll talk later about how these tendencies continue through childhood and, you know, really even into adulthood. And one of the reasons that I appreciate this research finding is, you know, again goes back to it's related to that question about gender differences being made or you know, dependent on socialization and so, I want you to get, this is biological. You are born into the world with this and it makes it clear that certain gender differences are innate and not that social conditioning that we can often attribute it to.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:28  
Right right. So the research you include in the book based on the work of Dr. Louann Brizendine... Okay, wanted to get that one wrong, Brizendine, really helped me better understand some of the biological differences between the sexes, so this might be a good time for you to introduce some of her research.

Marsha Clark  9:52  
Yeah, I really enjoyed reading her work, and this is where she has written two books, - one is on the male brain and one is on the female brain - and some of the things that she highlights that I think are relevant for what we're discussing here today. So first, the female brain is 9% smaller than the male brain and just as a result of that is packed more tightly, so more densely. So it doesn't mean we have less brain power. So when males use that verbal bantering, 'well no wonder we are smarter than you are,' just let it go. Let it go. It's merely a fact that's based on our skull size. So you know, physically, physical stature, women tend to be smaller than men and so our skull sizes are smaller, and therefore that 9%. And so that dense construction, and quite honestly, that more tightly packed helps explain some of the differences of how our brains process information. So the female brain has more neural connections going from the left lobe to the right lobe, which accounts for increased intuition and communication skills. So and you know, you've probably, or may have read some research that says little girls tend to develop stronger communication skills than little boys and at an earlier age, so I want you to get that. So the two lobes are closer together, more neural pathways connecting the left and the right, and even that corpus callosum that connects the two lobes is thicker. So this idea about intuition is the neural pathways move faster. We go from point A to point j, q, r, s, t, whatever, and it goes so fast we can't even tell you where all the stop points were, right? And yet, we get there and we just can't tell you how we got there. So that's what, in a very practical way, what intuition is.

All right. Now, on the other hand, a male brain has more connections front to back within the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. And that accounts for their, that they have skills that are associated with spatial, and then also muscular control. And you often hear about that in terms of large muscle development, and they're more physical. Right, right. And so in females, again, in contrast, the prefrontal cortex is larger. And so this is the brain center for language and communication, and observing emotions, so think about women as far as empathy and nonverbal cues and how we can read those more accurately. And that part has 11% more neurons than the male brain. So physiologically speaking.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:38  
Wow. Yeah, I remember watching a documentary with an experiment where toddlers, and how they responded to being separated from their mothers who were sitting on the other side of a transparent Plexiglas wall. So you've got toddler on one side, mom on the other side, and the boys responded to the separation by running up against the wall and trying to knock it over. Whereas the little girls just stood where they were placed and threw their arms up in the air and cried. I mean, it's so interesting to see how they reacted so differently.

Marsha Clark  13:16  
And basically they're the same condition.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:18  
Exactly. Right.

Marsha Clark  13:19  
And again, these were toddlers, right, not 27 year olds. Right? So that experiment came from actually, it was a Discovery Channel series, that was called The Science of the Sexes. And I remember my son saw it, and he said, Oh, Mom, you have to put this in your classes. So the first video in that two part series was called Growing Up, and it does a really nice job of explaining a lot of the biological differences between boys and girls.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:44  
So even though we can see these differences within the first 24 hours of birth, without any social conditioning interventions, it really doesn't take long for those cultural and social expectations or norms to start influencing our behaviors, does it?

Marsha Clark  14:00  
No, that's absolutely true. So biology and social conditioning with all its gender role expectations quickly collide. Even as we observe children playing when left to their own natural tendencies, and, you know, the biology, how it drives their play. So cisgender boys gravitate towards games involving competition, and a 5050 chance of winning or losing. And these childhood games teach them to take a loss, drop it and move on. And boys learn to relate to one another through conflict and are instructed, if you will, by peers and adults, that it's not personal, you know, you're just trying to win. It's like, they learn to do what the coach says, and to play with people that don't necessarily like. Boys learn not to cry and to mask their emotions, at least the sadness, the fear, the vulnerability, whatever it might be, because when the game is over, it's over. So it's sort of the buckup, suck it up, you know, all of that kind of stuff. Now, I want you to get this in the sense of run the play the coach calls, because I'm going to use a football analogy. All my listeners who know me know this is not an unusual analogy for me. But think about the huddle of a football game, American football. So there's 11 men, and the quarterback has a speaker in his helmet. The coach calls the play into speaker, he then communicates that to the other 10 men in the huddle. And you know, it's something like, you know, yellow button hook left 32, I mean, all that kind of stuff. And everybody claps their hands, goes and gets in position and runs the play.

And so the contrast, and this is what I love, if I were thinking about a group of women, it would be well, you know, I would look around to the other 10 and I would say, Well, what play do you think we ought to run? What do you think? What do you think? We would be collaborating and deciding on what we thought was the best play and by that time the 40 second clock would have run out and we were penalized five yards. So I mean, just that contrast, if you think about it in those terms. And you know, when you think about on the other hand cisgender girls play games that place value on getting along, being nice sharing equally, which is what we're doing with the "What play do you think we ought to run?"  Right? And there's no scorekeeping per se. When you think about playing house or school or doctor, you know all of that,  it's not scorekeeping. And so Dr. Heim reminds us of that. And so we don't understand competition, scorekeeping, or even the winner-loser aspect of this in the same way.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  16:42  
Right. Right. So how does this observation line up with the research on the female brain?

Marsha Clark  16:48  
Yeah, so this is where Dr. Brizendine's work and Dr. Heim's  work really align and reinforce one another. So the wiring and the hormones in a female's brain creates a strong urge to nurture and protect. So this idea that social harmony, why can't we all just get along, is crucial for the female brain. In the nonverbal communications, females are strongly empathetic and score higher on those emotion recognition tests than men. So this is where they do the PET scans that measure the activity of the brain, and you show a woman 10 pictures of different faces, and she doesn't have to use very much of her brain to tell you what that face represents happy, sad, glad, mad, angry, frustrated, whatever.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  17:41  
And the nuances.

Marsha Clark  17:42  
And the nuances. You do the same thing with men, their whole brain lights up trying to figure it out, and they get them wrong. So I mean... do it again.  So how that shows up for us as females, in our play as children, and as colleagues at work, because remember, I tell you, the rules of the playground are the very same ones we take into the workplace, right? We prefer, women prefer a more flat power structure and power dead even approach to these interpersonal relationships. What we're looking to do is form alliances and seek intimacy. And this is in comparison to the hierarchy that emerges more naturally from the games boys gravitate to or play where a leader or best or alpha emerges.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:33  
And I think this is where the research starts to get a little muddy for me. I mean, girls play games that involve competition, girls play sports just like boys do. And they definitely create hierarchies. There's the captain of the drill team. There's the lieutenants and there's the head cheerleader, there's the line, then there's the line squad. So what is it? What about queen bees and alpha females and all of that?

Marsha Clark  19:01  
Yeah. Two things that when you describe it, use those words, I definitely want to do a future episode on queen bees and alpha females because I think that is worthy of its own discussion. And the quick answer is that regarding females in hierarchies, yes, we do create hierarchies, but we do it differently than males do. And the timing and the criteria are the biggest differences. And so that's all I want to say for now. And we'll hold that for a separate episode. But for the sake of staying focused on today's broader topic, I want to share one of my favorite stories for how competition differs across genders. So during some of my programs when I explained that females aren't competitive in the same way that males are, and again, based on brain chemistry and conditioning, I can get some pushback. Both men and women say, well since the passage of Title IX, which was the Education Amendment of 1972 in the US, so hasn't that changed everything? And you know what this federal law did was open up funding for sports for girls. And it certainly changed the playing field for the actual scorekeeping game for girls, basically saying that schools and universities had to spend money to allow, you know, to support girls sports. So now do females compete? Yes. Do they do it differently than men? Here's my story that I like to use to say yes, the answer to that is yes. And so if you've, if our listeners have read the book, they know this story, but so here it is. So Sara Tucholsky played softball for Western Oregon University. And then the last college game that Sara ever played, she came to bat in a zero to zero game against Central Washington. And the game would decide which team would go to the NCAA Division II playoffs. So the ball was pitched and Sara crushed it, sending it sailing over the fence for her first ever home run. Now, as she's rounding the bases, she hurt her knee, as she was coming around first base, and she went down, she just fell to the ground. And she later found out that she had actually torn the anterior cruciate ligament or the ACL is what is often known in her right knee.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:18  
Okay, yeah, she can't, she couldn't have gotten up, right. I mean, she couldn't move on her own.

Marsha Clark  21:24  
That's right. And not only that, the rules of the game that are if one of her coaches or teammates go onto the field to help her, she would have been called out.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:34  

Marsha Clark  21:24  
So with Sara, I mean, if you can envision this, lying in the dirt, the umpires and the coaches you know, are quickly meeting. And, while this discussion was happening, I want you to get this. The opposing team, the first baseman, and her name was Mallory Holtman, asked a simple question, can I help her? I mean, this is that nurturing, caring, you know, moment. And Mallory called on her shortstop Liz Wallace to help her. And so what they did is they they go over and they asked Sara if they could pick her up, right, because she's writhing in pain on the ground. When Sara agreed, they hoisted her, you know, kind of carrying her, you know, her arms around each of them towards second base. And just as she was being lowered, so she can touch second base with her good leg, right, yes, the cheering started and the video cameras fired up, you know. And because the people in the stands realized that they were seeing the rarest of moments, a competitor helping a fallen opponent, get this, even when helping her would hurt their chances to win the game. And when they lowered her went by second base, third base when they lowered her to touch home, Sara said thank you. And together they scored a run.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:34  
Wow. And then didn't that play end up winning some kind of award or recognition or something?

Marsha Clark  21:42  
It did and you know now keep in mind this federal law of Title IX was passed in 1972. So this was 2008 at the ESPY Awards. ESPY are the ESPN Sports stations awards that they give out. And so these three athletes, the woman who fell, Sara, along with Mallory and Liz were reunited on stage and they accepted the quote unquote "Best Moment" award. Yeah, so yes, girls play competitive sports. And we do it our way. And you know, the hormones in females brains are more likely to drive the empathetic healthful behaviors that were fully demonstrated by Mallory and Liz.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:44  
Oh, I love that story.

Marsha Clark  23:45  
I do too. And I want to add one sort of anecdotal piece to this because I love sports and played` a lot of sports and have a lot of guy friends. You know, I'm watching on...with at least 10 guys every football game, right? So I asked them would you have done that? And I've asked at this point hundreds of men. One man has said yes, that he would have done what those women did, what those young women did.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:11  
That I can't even process because...  

Marsha Clark  24:15  
I know I just you know I think again it goes back to fair and just versus what men say, well that's the way the ball bounces, that's just the way the game gets played. And you know, some days chicken, some days feathers. I've heard all those phrases in conjunction with this. it's just the game. It's just a game.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:37  
Wow. Okay. So if the female brain seeks empathy and relationship building, what does the male brain seek?

Marsha Clark  24:45  
So I can't help but smile when you asked me that question, because I know where oh 90% of our listeners really went with that question. And I'll get there in just a moment. But I want to back up just a second. So what the research shows us is that the male brain has evolved to procreate and protect. And in the beginning, the ancient man hunted, we are going back to that hunters and gatherers thing. And he left the tribe for days at a time to stealthily seek and kill game to take care of his family. And he's wired to form alliances that will allow him to provide for his family. So the male's brain center for anger, fear and aggression are larger than ours. And he has a built-in ability to focus on solving problems. Now, this is not to imply that women can't solve problems because we can, but we do it differently. The wiring to protect lends itself to the dominance, the competitive and even the hierarchical approach. So just think about that. If I'm going to protect I've gotta be on top right? Protecting the family is, quite honestly, somewhat akin to protecting the business. So it would make sense that if you think about competition in a broader sense, he is competitive at his core. And that winning is something that matters, especially when the stakes are high.

You know, as I said earlier, males score higher on the spatial skills test and greater control over their large muscles, you know, earlier than females. So then when you go back to the original question, the answer is probably what most every woman out there listening thought when you first asked the question. In addition to all that I just covered in the male brain, there's an area called the, and I hope I get all these words right because they're big and long. The ventral tegmental area is the motivation center in all humans. And it's more active, in a male brain it's more active than in the female brain. And there's an area called the medial preoptic area where our sex drive lives. And that takes up two and a half times more brain space in the male brain than the female brain.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:02  
Okay, so the motivation center of the brain is more active in male brains and the medial...

Marsha Clark  27:12  
The medial preoptic area.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:15  
Okay, so the sex drive area has two and a half more brain space in the male brain than the female brain. That explains a lot.

Marsha Clark  27:23  
Doesn't it? Again, we're kind of doing this tongue in cheek, and it's kind of laughing and I don't mean to make anyone, any of our listeners feel uncomfortable out there. But it's like, well, there you go.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:36  
Yeah, yep. So that was one of the other fascinating differences that I learned about with the male and female brain differences with how during puberty our hormones really do drive us towards different outcomes. Will you share the highlights of that from Dr. Brizendine's work?

Marsha Clark  27:56  
Yes, yes, yes, yes. So during puberty, a girl's brain sprouts, reorganizes and prunes neuronal circuits. She is struggling for independence and identity and connects through talking. How many of us think of the stereotype of a teenager on the phone or texting, right? Her once stable brain now experiences hormonal fluctuations through a monthly cycle, and quite honestly, this is all about her primary interests being finding a mate, love, and some career development. Yeah, get that thrown in there. Now, in contrast, and again, we know that this is also when a girl's menstrual cycle is is starting. And the hormonal fluctuations requires great patience on everyone's part who's around that girl. Yeah. So for males, his brain experiences, get this, a 20 fold increase in testosterone during puberty. And that's the most, the biggest surge ever in a male's life other than when they are in the womb, and the testosterone surge is what prompts them to be a boy baby. Right. Okay. So I think that's the simplest like way of saying that. So he also has a jump in something called his vasopressin as well. So he is looking to avoid his parents and challenges authority. This is the, you know, striving to be the alpha male. As a young adult, his primary interest is on finding sexual partners, remember that two and a half times more brain space, and focusing on his job, money and career development, which is a way for him to take care of.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:48  
Right. Right. So this isn't a surprise to anyone who's listening.

Marsha Clark  29:52  
Well, I doubt it. You know, if you've got daughters and sons or you know, I mean, and you've had this live or if not, go back to your own memories. And so I also want to say I remember there being a couple of other surprising tidbits in my mind from Dr. Brizendine's work about the male brain and puberty is that one of the things she explained is that the hormones and the adolescent male brain will literally find the scent, the odor, the smell of his mother repulsive, biologically repulsive.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:32  
Okay, during this time, like this 12 -13-14 year old timeframe. Okay, why is that?

Marsha Clark  30:38  
Well, this is a beautiful thing, I think. It's nature's way of ensuring that the male isn't attracted to his own mother.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:45  
Wow. Okay.

Marsha Clark  30:47  
Sexually is what I mean. And it forces him to look for other females in his search for a partner. Mother nature at work.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:54  
Well. And now I know why it's called stinky boys. Maybe we should call it stinkier moms?

Marsha Clark  31:01  
Yeah, maybe.That would definitely get some attention., right?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:05  
So I guess the last question then around all of this is how does this play out for us in the workplace? What do we need to understand about these differences between men and women as it relates to us working together?

Marsha Clark  31:17  
What I've been describing so far is the what, the biological differences, now let's talk about so what now what. So the females brain, the social sensitivity is significant. So think about that in terms of team performance. And women tend to score higher on that as being a team player, if you will, supporting the team, helping the team, they score higher in this area, than men, and placing a greater number of women on teams can actually increase a group's emotional intelligence. So get that. And we know there's other studies that show that emotional intelligence is more important than IQ. Right?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:56  

Marsha Clark  31:56  
Right. So females tend not only to express their emotions more openly, but they also exaggerate the emotions they're experiencing empathetically from others. So they're reading the room reading the group, tapping into that. So companies that have three or more women in executive leadership, it can be their board or their C suite or their executive leadership team, are statistically more successful by most organizational metrics.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  32:25  
Wow, that's really encouraging.

Marsha Clark  32:28  
Well, and it says, it's not just an altruistic move to promote women into roles as well. Now in male brains, the circuitry is highly specialized to quickly process emotions or to get to a fix it fast solution. And how many of us as women have come to want to just have a conversation with a man and he's tried to fix it every single time. And so in the context of team performance, his type of fix often involves much less use of collaboration. I don't need to ask anybody, I don't need to talk to anybody, collaboration that doesn't run as deep in terms of the social sensitivity. So, you know,  males often master what's referred to as the "guy face", an expression that can only you know, reflect confidence and strength, but never fear or doubt.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  33:14  
Okay, now, I'm going to be paying even more attention to the faces of men and women I work with to watch for those differences, I mean especially if we're in a tense, high risk situation.

Marsha Clark  33:23  
That's right. So we do have an episode that's planned specifically to look at risk taking and how men and women you know, manage risk a little differently. Now, what Dr. Brizendine's research shows us is that our female circuitry is wired for safety and fear, and activates far more than male brains in anticipation of fear or pain. So women, this to me is really important and it's something that's changed over the 20 plus years I've been doing this work and how women are seen in this regard. Women are smarter about risk taking and contingency planning. So we've got a plan B because our hippocampus, where the emotions and memories are stored, is larger than in a male brain. It helps us remember what works and what doesn't work and therefore we plan accordingly.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:17  

Marsha Clark  34:17  
Now I want to say the practical aspect of this. It was viewed before that men took more risks than women. Because women have a plan B, when studied further, deeper, because women have a plan B, it looks like we didn't take as much risk because we're not falling off the cliff without a parachute. And so I want our listeners to really get that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:40  
Exactly. And just because there's a plan B doesn't mean it wasn't a risk. That's right. Yes, that's right. Yeah.

Marsha Clark  34:46  
So let me say one other thing, just because this is sort of, you know, there's always two sides to every story. So that same wiring that hippocampus where emotions and memories are stored is larger. It is also why we as females can and do tend to hold grudges a bit longer.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:46  
Oh, my. Okay. Yes.

Marsha Clark  34:46  
So I mean, there's two sides to this, that emotional memory center.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:12  
Right. So the reflection question you have at the end of this content in the book basically asks us to consider what new insights did we gain around the differences between men and women and how we're wired differently. And how this information helps us to know ourselves better. So what would you want to add as a final takeaway, or two or three, for everyone on this topic today?

Marsha Clark  35:38  
Yeah, I think there are a couple. And you know, first is just the critical reminder to understand the difference between sex and gender, right, that those are two different things. And they're not to be used interchangeably. And I, you know, when I even first started doing this work, I used them interchangeably. When we're primarily exploring the biological difference between men and women, it's the sex that's identified to them at birth. So it's biological. And then I think it's important to lean into the content with an open mind looking for the ways that accurately reflects the behaviors of the different people around you. So holding the intention of better understanding my own, your own biological differences, and how that drives us and being more aware of and understanding others. So if I understand my own differences, I can better understand those in others. And where your lived experience doesn't line up with what we've talked about today, consider how even that difference may be helping or possibly hindering your effectiveness in relationships with others. So, you know, I want us to understand this, and that if we begin to understand ourselves better, and then understand others better, our relationships are going to be more effective.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  37:00  
Um hum. Right. Right. So this has been a really helpful refresher for me. And it reminds me to consider how some of these basic differences, even if subtle, could really get in the way of achieving the results, you know, that I want to achieve at the end of the end of the day in the workplace. So thanks for being able and willing to tackle such a sensitive topic.

Marsha Clark  37:24  
Well, it is a sensitive topic, and it's controversial, and we're still learning. And you know, that's a piece of advice I would also give or thought that I would give to our listeners is keep reading, keep learning, because a lot more's going to become obvious to us even when we think about how much we've learned about brains in the last 50 years is more than we had learned about brains in the previous 2000 years. So, brains, hormones... I was having lunch just this past weekend with the woman who wrote the book, Brain Styles, and she was telling me about a study. And I'm gonna do a little bit of a contrast here. So back in the 50s, when people were dying early in their lives from heart attacks, Boston College did a 20 year longitudinal study on a group of, and guess what they were all men, on the heart and out of that longitudinal study came everything from blood thinners, cholesterol medicines, and so on, because of the concentrated effort to look at our hearts and learn more about how it operates. Right. This study that's going to be done is on the brain.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  38:35  

Marsha Clark  38:36  
So think about that. These biological differences, many of which we've talked about being related to the brain today, we're gonna learn a heck of a lot more and that I learned even in looking at Dr. Brizendine, Dr. Heim, and I read brain stuff all the time, because it's like, to me, it's like the new frontier. But the more we're going to learn about that, and the role that hormones play, and the mixture of hormones and the different kinds of hormones and how this one impacts this, and that one impacts that and the surges of hormones, and so on and so forth. We didn't talk about this today, but a woman's brain gets remapped three different times in her lifetime. One is in puberty with the beginning of menstruation. The second is if we have children, that changes the hormonal and remaps our brains, and the third is the menopausal, and different things happen to us at different times. And if you want to read more about that Dr. Brizendine's work is great and she's got a new book coming out and I don't know the name of it, but we'll maybe offer that at a future time. But go look for her work because she continues to study and the gender differences in the brains I think is really, or the sex differences in the brain. I've got to say biological differences.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  39:53  
Right! Well, this has been a fascinating conversation today, as they all are, but yet this is kind of, this one was the root of us it felt like you know. So thank you listeners for joining us on our journey of authentic powerful leadership. Please download, subscribe and share this podcast wherever you like to listen but share it with your friends, share it with your other female leaders in your life. And visit Marsha's website at for links to all the tools, other resources we talked about today, subscribe to her email list and also again if you haven't gotten her book, please get her book, "Embracing Your Power" and connect with Marsha on her social media.

Marsha Clark  40:39  
Yes, so thank you again listeners for joining us today and for sticking with us and and hopefully gathering and taking in some new information and again encouraging you to continue reading, learning along the lines of this whether it be biological, psychological, emotional, social conditioning or whatever. It is a big part of how we're going to be more effective leaders and dare I say human beings in the world. So thank you for joining us. We hope we'll see you again next week. And here's to women supporting women!

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