Are women more compassionate than men?

We all agree that the world would have been a much better place to live in, if humans were compassionate to each other instead of being obsessed with selfies.

Perhaps, the root cause of humans not being compassionate enough as they should be is in the evolution of human beings.

My intention of writing this post is not meant to be preaching about compassion and how the reader reading this article must live her/his life and interact with people as I am fully aware that nothing in this world will change just because I wrote an article on compassion.

Things are way they are and there is a reason for it. Partly, due to human evolution and the way God designed us.

Most living species, ever since life existed on earth found a partner to mate so that their species continued to exist till date though many have become extinct. They were meant to be nurturing their offspring until they were grown up to hunt for food for themselves.

 

Humans were no different except that they possess the most complex of His creations in the universe – the human brain. What differentiates humans from other living beings is emotions – anger, jealousy, happiness etc.

 

What is compassion really ?

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Compassion is not the same as empathy. Compassion is about suffering together and making efforts to alleviate the suffering.

Compassion is not only about the self-motivation to go out of the way to help another person but understanding the reason why someone behaved in a particular way instead of assuming that the person is selfish or inconsiderate.

Most humans are innately compassionate, however, they are also complex creatures. They behave differently with different people and this applies to both men and women:

  • Most humans are likely to be compassionate to their loved ones and people they know well such as friends or acquaintance. There will always be exceptions.
  • The true test of how compassionate is how they treat strangers and when they hold position of power e.g. as a supervisor.
  • There are different forms of expressing compassion. It is not necessarily being kind and nurturing.

So, are women more compassionate than men ?

We need to understand how both men and women are brought up differently.

It is understood that biologically, Oxytocin produced during childbirth triggers the bonding and nurturing behaviors in mothers.

Most girls even until their teens and adulthood are attached to their mothers. Girls during their teens get involved in family discussions along with their mother and understand more about difficulties another family members are learn how to respond to such difficult situations. They become emotionally stronger.

Boys are discouraged from being attached to their mothers. They then spend time with other boys of their age, who are unlikely to be mature and demonstrate a behavior of kindness and compassion to others. Boys do not share their pains with their father too and hence they are left alone to solve their own problems. Crying is seen as a sign of weakness and not being a man by society.

Our personality is shaped based on what we learn in childhood, the environment around us, our upbringing, how our parents behaved and who we interact with.

There are other factors that contribute to the differences in the way boys and girls are brought up differently.

Due to the stereotypes in most societies, girls in their teens are likely to be encouraged to stay at home while boys spend outdoors playing sports.

Most girls develop the habit of reading books at an early age. These could be about relationships, self-help or any genre but reading books develops a habit of understanding another person’s view point, thoughts and pains they experience and how to cope with them.

Boys read books too but usually about cars, gadgets, sports, stock market and a very popular topic (you guessed it right!). Boys who wish to sit at home and read books at home are most likely going to be discouraged from doing so by the women in the home e.g. their mother or sister.

Men express compassion differently. Even men in tough jobs like the army are known to demonstrate compassion when they lose their colleagues.

Does an individual’s profession reveal whether they are compassionate or not ?

Yes. I believe so.

Conservationists, writers, counselors, leadership coaching, human resource are professions that care about others.

Conservationists and animal rights advocates demonstrate that compassion is not only for other human beings but all living beings on earth.

Writers tend to read and research a lot about others experience and then share knowledge with their audience to live a better life.

Can humans who have never been compassionate become compassionate later in life ?

Yes. In India’s history there was an emperor who was well known to be cruel to his people who gave up everything and started preaching Buddhism to the world.

Compassion is not gender based. They depend on individuals, their self-awareness and what kind of life they want to live.

It is now understood by all that living a compassionate life in a narcissistic society is the key to happiness for all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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46 thoughts on “Are women more compassionate than men?

  1. I don,t think its just about gender and upbringing. I have a son and a daughter, and they got similar upbringing. But I think my son is not less compassionate than my daughter. Maybe you are born with some traits. He is more caring as well as more emotional. Maybe when they grow up, their personalities will change (though they are adolescent, not little children).

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  2. Dear Sudhir,
    I agree that many factors in ones genetics and upbringing can influence a persons propensity for compassion. There is a great article written about this (http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/are_women_more_compassionate_than_men). One great point in this article is that perhaps women are perceived as more compassionate, because compassion is often measured in mostly feminized terms (kindness, softness, nurturance). However in reality, men and women are equal in their compassion, we just express compassion differently.
    Laura

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know where I stand in terms of whether women are more compassionate than men. What I can tell you is that I’m raising 2 boys and 1 girl the same way. Exposure to all types of books, dramatic play, art,music, sports from an early age and all the way through. Are my boys more compassionate than the girl? That remains to be seen. My oldest also stutters he has since he was 6 years old. I find that he is extremely compassionate towards other human beings, especially those who are very different than him. He loves to talk about social justice issues, inequalities in society, reads any type of book you put in front of him- just finished to kill a mockingbird and he was disturbed by the injustices of the courtroom scene. I think it’s our job as parents to teach our kids to be compassionate adult individuals Regardless of whether they are male or female. Makes the world a better place.

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    1. Thank you so much for your deeply thought comment. I was actually hoping people expressed their deep thoughts and personal experience instead of just hitting like.
      You are doing the best you can.
      However, the challenge will be when he is on his own with the external world.
      A lot of people think being compassionate is being nice to others and sweet words. It is not. Compassionate people put in a lot of effort to understand the problem and offer a solution. They consider other’s problems as theirs.
      Men grow up with ego too that comes from achieving fame, success at work and then it becomes all about them. That is a common challenge for their partners and themselves too. Women tend to share with other women friends and it becomes a habit to listen to others too. It is too complex a subject. I wanted to elaborate but hit publish. Maybe write another post.
      Thank you for your comment once again !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmmm. Interesting. Keep writing and exploring in the subject. You are right- it is complex. Reading your definition of compassion- I feel like my husband is more so than I am!!! Ha ha. It’s interesting because it’s hard for him at work because he is very thoughtful always in how he treats and interacts with others but doesn’t feel like anyone else is. He has a very tough time with corporate America. It’s very cold environment and it seems that you get ahead only by climbing on top of others. He won’t do that so others may perceive him as not playing the game. Naive. Keep writing!

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      2. I would have definitely loved to work for your husband. Sadly, people I worked for in the U.K. treated me like a dog. I cut off from the outside world, society, potential employers and even my own family. Totally broke down. Then my start up failed and then car accident and chronic depression. This blog is a slow process to connect with people again. Thank you for your kind words. Wish you a lot of happiness for you and your family.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hang in there! I think the blog is a great idea to help you along your journey. I too have had a rough couple of years. Father in law died of stage 4 cancer after only five months, my husband was unemployed for a year and a half and he is primary breadwinner and now we had to move thousands miles away from our friends and family. I just try to be grateful for everything I do have and try to be positive as much as possible. Some days most days it’s tough. But I think I’m a better person for all the trials and struggles. Blessings to you and your family!

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  4. Honestly, I agree with you. When the Boys don’t cry initiative was taken up, there is a video and it is worth a watch, that was when we all realised how we abused young boys. They are told not to show any emotion otherwise they are weak.
    Women are encouraged to feel and show, that is why they need to be protected.
    I believe if we stopped teaching our children this, the world would become a much more compassionate place.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know the scientific and hormonal impacts.

    But I don’t believe gender has got anything to do with compassion. Though, as you said, the upbringing, family background, the society in which people grow, the type of things they read & watch, their company & that bit of themselves that is a part of their soul determines it.

    Ultimately, it is the body that has gender isn’t it? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey..Thanks for your comment.
      No..biologically, gender shouldn’t. It is the stereotype of the society. Also, women have the nurturing ability because of the way God has designed and men were supposed to be hunting but they show compassion in aggressive form and not the feminine type that we associate compassion with.

      Liked by 1 person

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