NAYA | Fact or myth: Women are better at multitasking

Their findings indicated that men are equally capable of and equally bad at multitasking when compared to women.
by Chrystine Mhanna

17 June 2019 | 20:15

Source: by Annahar

  • by Chrystine Mhanna
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 17 June 2019 | 20:15

(Photo via AP twitter)

BEIRUT: The conception of women being better than men at multitasking is quite common.

Although many studies have proven this to be true, there remains a number of other examinations that suggest varying results.

This begs the question: are women biologically better at juggling several jobs at once? Or are they simply set under more social pressure, which pushes them to multitask?

Contrasting results on women’s progress in multitasking

“I don’t find it necessary that women are better at multitasking than men at my workplace,” Fernanda Ghazarian, an office manager told Annahar. “But, I think women are more capable of simultaneously controlling several situations at one time.”

According to study published by “BMC Psychology” journal, both sexes struggle to cope with everything at once but on average, men suffer more.

Another study reported by BBC Science Focus suggested that women are more calm, organized, and planned. These traits, according to the research, increase women’s ability to balance between several tasks at once and switch between one and the other easily.

The research described this type of multitasking as clever multitasking.

Nonetheless in 2018, Julien Laloyaux, Frank Laroi, and Marco Hirnstein’s research results opposed the former belief.

Their findings indicated that men are equally capable of and equally bad at multitasking when compared to women.

The study examined the way 66 women and 82 men handle a series of events that required multitasking. In other words, it tested their ability to swap rapidly between tasks. Results indicated no difference between men and women.

The contrasting list goes.

Another laboratory test conducted by BBC Science Focus Magazine showed that men and women are equally good –and not equally bad –at multitasking.

What makes women’s skills more recognizable then?

Regardless of the diverse research results one thing stays true: women remain considered culturally more capable at juggling several tasks at once.

The cultural influence therefore, cannot be neglected.

“We are raised watching our mothers work, cook, deliver children, and bear psychological and biological pressures. This enforces the idea that most women have to be strong to handle this fast timeline in their daily lives,” Lea Kassouf, a social and medical worker, told Annahar.

Kassouf continued to explain that men’s tasks have always been oriented towards one job at a time, while women had to handle several.

Professor Keith Laws from the University of Hertfordshire bases this current perception on the old hunter-gather hypothesis. The hypothesis focuses on the influence of the traditional representation of house-wives performing several tasks at home, while men only complete "linear" tasks on today’s world.

Of course, in today’s world women and men have equal potentials.

Nonetheless, the current understanding of women’s diverse duties can be linked to social pressure and practices according to Laws. She considers the former to be a major reason behind the belief that women are better at multitasking, even if this might not be entirely true.

“Put simply –if women couldn’t multitask, we wouldn’t be here,” Gijsbert Stoet, PhD, professor at the University Glasgow, said while highlighting the power of women throughout this process.

-------------

Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations. Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.farhat17@gmail.com

Naya on Social Media

Twitter: @BeirutNaya

Instagram: @NayaBeirut

Show Comments

An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.