Gender and the Resolution of Conflict

Mara Olekalns

Two males sit apart, staring at each other from the corners of their eyes. A female approaches one, takes him by the arm, and pulls him toward the other male. She alternates between the two and eventually brokers peace. In a different scenario, two males are again in conflict. A third male inserts himself between them, screaming at them or physically separating them to prevent the conflict from escalating. He keeps them separate and harangues them into submission (de Waal, 2009). Female as peacemaker, male as peacekeeper. These examples fit with our intuitions about how gender might shape the way that conflicts are resolved. Women, with their stronger ...

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