It is suggested that women agree to take on tasks even when they might not have the time or energy, simply because they feel guilt when saying no.
This was the hypothesis of Julianne Wurm, founder of TEDxEast, who wrote an article on March 11 explaining the research that lead her to her hypothesis.
Wurm did extensive research conducting a poll that was answered by roughly 500 people. She asked both men and women questions that pertained to saying yes or no to a request. Wurm’s main focus was whether or not people felt guilty when turning down a request. At the conclusion of her research, the results indicated women felt guilty when saying no to an individual’s request, while men typically did not feel much remorse.
The article went on to explain that women will take on a task, even when they are bogged down with too many projects of their own. The pattern of the research suggests that women will go out of their way to please whomever made the request in order to avoid disappointment.
When asked how they respond to requests or tasks, several Purdue women had similar responses but also said they would stand their ground and say no if it is necessary.
“If someone needs help, I will try my best to help them,” said Natasha Carr, a senior in the College of Education. “(If I am very busy) and an acquaintance asks me (for help), I will be more likely to say no, but I will still say yes if a family member asks me for help.”
According to Wurm’s research, it is common for women to take on projects in order to not offend or let down the person who asked for assistance.
“Women are raised to be helpers,” said Michelle Campbell, a PhD student in the College of Liberal Arts. “It’s more difficult to say no to people who you are in contact with long-term.”
Even if they are turning down a request, women tend to feel some remorse, leading them to provide an explanation.
“Usually, I will tell them my reasoning (for turning down a request), so it’s not just a flat out no,” said Jacqueline Reising, a freshman in the College of Agriculture.
The article stated that if they turned down the request, most women would try and find some way to make it up to that individual.
“I always try to compromise,” said Carr. “I find that compromise is very helpful. I’ll say, ‘If I help you, can you help me with this later?’”
Wurm’s research proved women think things through and, a majority of the time, ultimately choose to complete the requested task at hand because of the feeling of fulfilling a promise and helping a person in need.
“(Saying yes) depends on risk-benefit analysis,” said Campbell. “Women tend not to see the benefit from agreeing to a task immediately after, but eventually it may pay off.”