Gender Differences in Emotional Intelligence of University Teachers
Shumaila Shehzad and Nasir Mahmood,
Quaid-e-Azam Campus, University of the Punjab, Lahore
Conventionally, some typical emotional states are attached with gender i.e. females are considered to be
emotionally more expressive whereas males to be emotionally cool and stable. The present study seeks if this
difference exists even when they are at their workplace. Therefore, this study is aimed to explore the university
teachers’ emotional intelligence level with regard to their gender. Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory Short
Version (EQ-i:S) (Bar-On, 2002)was administered to conveniently selected university teachers (female= 399,
male= 480)in Punjab, Pakistan to assess their emotional quotient (EQ). It comprises five sub-scales:
interpersonal, intrapersonal, stress management, adaptability, and general mood. Findings of the study revealed
that female teachers’ mean score (M= 39.47, SD= 6.75) was significantly higher than that of male (M= 38.36,
SD=6.38) only on interpersonal skills t (879) = 2.518, p= .012, with small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.017). Both
gender groups were similar as far as remaining sub-factors and overall Emotional Intelligence (EI) are
concerned. The results clearly indicate that both male as well as female teachers are equal on EQi scores and
may handle all the difficulties in a similar way.
Keywords: emotional intelligence, motional quotient, Bar-On EQi:
Changing needs of the society, influenced by industrialization,
urbanization and globalization compel women for a changing role.
They are no more house hold ladies only. They have stepped out
into the outside world to become a considerable part of work force.
They are engaged in getting higher education to go side by side with
men on their work place. According to Higher Education
Commission (2011), male enrollment percentage was 59.15 in year
2006 which decreased to 55% in 2010. Contrarily, female
enrollment percentage increased from 40.85 % in 2006 to 45% in
2010. With an increased number of female students in higher
education, the number of female teachers is also increasing day by
day. There were 747 female teachers in 1993 in higher education
institutes. The number increased to 1375 in 2003 (Pakistan
Economic Survey, 2011-2012). A few of them have gained eminent
posts as well. Now they are teaching side by side with their male
counterparts. Teaching is an emotional endeavor. The researchers
declare that teaching is an intense emotional work (Hargreaves,
1998; Liljestrom, Roulston & deMarrais, 2007). It does not only
demands content knowledge and pedagogical skills but also
emotional intelligence to be successful in the field of teaching
(Hargreaves, 1998). It becomes important to recognize which
gender group is more emotionally intelligent and adjusts better in
the university environment. It is also important to realize which
group makes others (students, colleagues) feel comfortable working
with them, and which group better solves the work place problems.
It will ultimately let us know whether inclusion of female teachers
in university workforce will be beneficial or not.
Generally, it is believed that woman is an emotional sex who not
only feels/senses the emotions of others easily but also expresses
her own emotions more intensely (Brody & Hall, 2000). Contrarily,
man is not socially allowed to express his emotions as strongly. He
is always portrayed as a dominant being; one who can better
Correspondence concerning this paper should be addressed to Nasir
Mahmood, PhD, Associate Professor and Chairman, Department of
Research and Evaluation Institute of Education and Research Quaid-e-Azam
Campus, University of the Punjab, Lahore Phone No.(0092)3218400427
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
manage stressful situations; and one who is more adaptive and more
assertive (Sanchez-Nunez, Fernandez-Berrocal, Montanes &
As this is the case of a common man and woman. The present
study is designed to find out whether this situation prevails in men
and women working in the university sector as teachers, having the
similar academic qualification and enjoying the same economic and
social status. The present study aims to assess if female and male
university teachers have similar profiles of weaknesses and
strengths in different skills of emotional intelligence.
It has been discussed since long what emotional intelligence
actually is and which sub constructs it comprises. The formal
history of emotional intelligence starts from 1872 with Darwin’s
work on the importance of emotional expression for survival (Hess
& Thibault, 2009). In the later century, although cognitive aspects
of intelligence were emphasized, yet quite a few leading researchers
recognized the significance of non-cognitive aspects as well. For
example, in 1920, Thorndike (1936) employed the term social
intelligence. Thereafter, every researcher in the field of EI has
described it in his own way. Salovey and Mayer (1990) describe EI
Emotional intelligence involves the ability to perceive accurately,
appraise, and express emotion; the ability to access and/or generate
feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand
emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate
emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth. (Mayer &
Salovey, 1997, p. 10).
The theory of EI touched the climax of fame after publication of
Daniel Goleman’s bestselling books Emotional Intelligence: Why It
Can Matter More Than IQ in 1995 and forth coming book, working
with Emotional Intelligence in 1998. He delineated EI as “the
capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for
motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves
and our relationships” (Goleman, 1998, p.317).
Bar-On (2006) characterizes EI as “a cross-section of interrelated
emotional and social competencies, skills and facilitators that
determine how effectively we understand and express ourselves,
understand others and relate with them, and cope with daily
demands”(Bar-On, 2006, p. 14).He has given five sub skills of EI.
These are (a) intrapersonal skills, (b) interpersonal skills, (c) stress
Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology
2013, Vol. 11, No.1, 16-21
management skills, (d) adaptability skills, and (e) general mood (see
Emotional intelligence has two parts in common. On one hand, it
entails recognition of individual’s own emotions and then managing
them to facilitate emotional competence. On the other hand, it
includes their capabilities to handle other persons’ emotions to
create healthy social relations. Like many other professions,
teaching is the field that needs both the competences. Teachers not
only have to manage their own emotions but they also have to
manage their relations with students, parents, colleagues and
administrators. To become successful in this field, they need to
enhance their emotional intelligence (Viin, Juust & Tooman, 2010).
Teachers, in educational organizations, come up with not only
“the head (cognition)” but also with “the heart (emotion)” (Day &
Qing, 2009, p.17). Therefore, the educational organizations are no
more thought to be rigorously cognitively-directed settings. There is
an emergent recognition of emotions in teachers’ life. Their
emotional intelligence has been recognized as a skill that makes
them perform better in different dimensions of teaching for instance
classroom management, student teacher relations and decision
making (Bay & McKeage, 2006).
Although an immense body of research present there which
aimed at exploring the gender differences concerning EI yet it is
unable to provide the reader with a lucid picture of the situation. A
greater part of research affirms that females score significantly
higher than males on a number of emotional intelligence sub factors
for instance interpersonal EQ, emotional self-awareness and overall
emotional intelligence (Palmer, Manocha, Gignac & Stough, 2003),
emotion perception and the experiential area (Kafetsios, 2004),
intrapersonal and interpersonal skills (Parker, et al., 2004),
interpersonal scale (Alnabhan, 2008; Wessell, et al., 2008), overall
EI, perception, and understanding and managing emotions
(Ciarrochi, Chan & Caputi, 2000), expressing their emotions and
predicting consent feelings (Mayer & Geher, 1996), perceiving
emotions (Mayer, Caruso & Salovey, 1999), sensitive to the
emotions of others, have better recall of emotion-laden information
regarding others and have a more extensive vocabulary for
emotions (McIntyre, 2010) to be searched yet, interpersonal scale
of EQ-i and managing emotions branch of the Mayer, Salovey and
Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test(MSCEIT) (Austin, Farrelly,
Black & Moore, 2007), interpersonal and stress management
(Esturgo-Deu & Sala-Roca, 2010), perceiving emotions, facilitating
thoughts and managing emotions (Bay & McKeage, 2006),
experiencing EI and strategic EI subscores on theMSCEIT
(Brackett, Mayer & Warner, 2004), understanding emotions
(Gardner, 2005), empathy (Tapia & Marsh, 2006), assimilation,
understanding and regulation (Zeidner& Olnick-Shemesh, 2010)
and overall emotional intelligence (Grubb & McDaniel, 2007;
McIntyre, 2010; Penrose, Perry & Ball, 2007).
In opposition to it, men have been found to be better than their
counterparts on adaptability and emotions regulation components
(Alnabhan, 2008), Self-control (Sánchez-Ruiz, Pérez-González &
Petrides, 2010), stress tolerance, impulse control (Bar-On, Brown,
Kirkcaldy & Thome, 2000) intrapersonal and stress management
scale (Wessell, et al., 2008).
There subsists another slice of research which declares that both
the gender groups are similar regarding emotional intelligence
(Castro-Schilo & Kee, 2010; Gurol, Ozercan, & Yalçin, 2010;
Ngah, Jusoff & Abdul Rahman, 2009; Rastegar & Memarpour,
Gender differences in EI are extensively documented. A major
portion of research pronounces that females are better than males as
compared to a minor portion which declares males to be better than
females or equal to them. Still they do not reach a certain
conclusion. Use of different research instruments to measure EI
may be one of the causes of different findings. But cultural
difference also matters. Findings of those studies are also not very
similar which are using the same EI measure. That is why; the
findings of a study conducted in one culture cannot be generalized
to any other culture. There are some eminent scholars in Pakistan as
well who have worked on emotional intelligence and have
developed their own indigenous scales to measure emotional
intelligence (Batool & Khalid, 2011; Dawood, 2007). Still, their
focus was not on gender differences in EI. Keeping this in view, the
major objective of this study is to compare the gender specific
profiles of university teachers’ emotional intelligence in Punjab,
This study is descriptive in nature and survey method was used
for data collection.
Sample consisted of conveniently selected university teachers in
the Punjab, Pakistan (N=879), of whom 399 (45%) were female
and480 (55%)were male. There were 591 (67%) teachers from
public sector and 288 (33%) from private sector universities. Their
mean age was 34.83 years (SD=9.98) ranging from 23 to 73 years.
Their mean teaching experience was 8.69 years (SD=8.63) ranging
from 1 year to 48 years. Qualification levels ranged from post
graduation to PhD (40% post graduates, 36% M Phil, and 24% PhD
degree holders). They were representatives of all the teaching
designations (63% lecturers, 26% assistant professors, 8% associate
professor, and 3% professors.
Demographic data sheet
Keeping in view the nature of survey, a questionnaire was
developed by the researcher to obtain information about teachers’
demographic characteristics such as teaching disciplines, teaching
experience, qualification, university type (public or private), gender,
age, marital status and rank.
Bar-On EQ-i: Short. Bar-On EQ-i: Short was used to measure the
university teachers’ emotional intelligence level. It is a 51 items self
report measure which assesses total EQ in addition to five
constituting factors: intrapersonal, interpersonal, stress
management, adaptability and general mood. It includes a positive
impression scale and an inconsistency index as validity measures.
The former is meant for determining if respondents are attempting
to provide an exaggerated impression of them. The latter is used to
detect contradicting or careless responses. Description of subscales,
their scope, serial number in final scale, number of items, example
items are presented in table 1.
The data were analyzed to find out the internal reliability
coefficients of the scale. Bar-On EQ-i: Short (Bar-On, 2002))
appeared to be reliable enough to be administered in Pakistani
culture. Internal reliability coefficients for Bar-On EQ-i: S scales.
(by gender and age) are given in table 2
Description of Subscales, Their Scope, Serial number of Items in Final Scale, Total Number of Items and Sample Items of Bar-
On EQ-i: Short
Serial Number in final Scale
ability to know and manage yourself
ability to interact and get along with others
ability to tolerate stress and control impulses
ability to be flexible and realistic, and to solve
a range of problems as they arise
concerns your outlook on life, your ability to
enjoy yourself and others and your overall
feeling of contentment or dissatisfaction
A validity measure
An array of non-cognitive capabilities,
competencies, and skills that influence one's
ability to succeed in coping with
environmental demands and pressures
All the items except those in positive
* Example items are selected on the basis of highest correlation with total scale in present study
Note. Source : Bar-On, R. (2002). Technical Manual Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory: Short. Canada: Multi-Health
Internal Reliability Coefficients for Bar-On EQ-i: S Scales (By Gender and Age)
α¹= reliability reported in technical manual of Bar-On EQ i: S
α²= reliability in present study
The data were collected with the permission of chairpersons of
the departments in public sector universities and registrars and
rectors in private sector universities. Even after permission from
concerned authorities, consent from the teachers themselves was
also sought. The Bar-On EQ-i: Short was distributed to almost 1200
teachers across 13 universities with the help of research fellows.
Some of the teachers returned the questionnaire at the same time
and the others took a week or two to return it. 882 teachers returned
the forms back. Return rate was 74%. The forms from three
teachers were discarded as they did not mention their demographic
information and returned it incomplete.
18 EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OF UNIVERSITY TEACHERS
Psychometric Properties of the Major Study Variables
positive impression scale
Total EQ score
Gender wise Comparison of University Teachers’ Emotional Intelligence Score
EQ-i: S Scales
Note. * p < .05
Data were analyzed with the help of SPSS-15 software package.
Mean score of respondents on Bar-On EQ-i: Short was calculated.
Independent sample t test for measuring gender differences in EI
The mean, standard deviation and range (potential as well as
actual) for each factor and overall EI is given in Table 3. Potential
range is the minimum and maximum possible score range on any
variable whereas actual range is the score range which was
calculated on the present data.
Table 4 compares the mean EI score of male and female
university teachers. It is evident that female teachers’ mean score
(M= 39.47, SD= 6.75) is significantly higher than that of males
(M=38.36 , SD=6.38 ) only on interpersonal skills t (879) = 2.518,
p= .012, with small effect size (Cohen's d= 0.017) whereas male
teachers could not surpass their counterparts significantly in any of
the EI sub skills. Both the groups gained equal score on rest of the
four skills and overall EI.
Findings of the study revealed that females are better than male
teachers in interpersonal skills. Female teachers are more
emotionally self aware, and are more empathic, in interpersonal
skills. These findings are in accordance with those of Bar-On
Roots of these differences can be sought out in socialization,
societal expectations (Naghavi & Redzuan, 2011) and teaching of
emotions (Sanches-Nunez, et al., 2008) as parents share emotional
talk and use more emotional terminology with their daughters than
with their sons (e.g., Adams, Kuebli, Boyle, & Fivush, 1995;
Fivush, 1991, 1998; Fivush, Brotman, Buckner, & Goodman, 2000)
. Brody (1997) also affirms social process including (a) power and
status imbalances, (b) dissimilar gender roles, and (c) different
socialization history of both the groups to be responsible for gender
differences in EI.
Females’ motherly nature may also cause their better relations
with others especially with their students. In Pakistan, joint family
system is part of her culture. Parents start preparing their daughters
mentally since their adulthood that they have to cope up with joint
family after their marriage. They are trained to build relations and
show patience all through their life (UNESCO,2011).
On the other hand, male and female teachers scored equally on
rest of the EI skills and overall EI. Both of them are equally aware
of their emotional state, are equally adept in managing their stress,
can adapt to the changing environment equally well and have the
similar general mood. These findings correspond with the views of
Goleman (1998) who argues that neither females nor males surpass
each other as far as their emotional intelligence is concerned. Every
individual has a personal EI profile with one’s own strengths and
weaknesses. He further argues that both the gender groups share
more similarities than dissimilarities. Some females may be as
adaptive as are males and similarly, some males may be as sensitive
and expressive as are females. When their profiles are averaged out,
there remain no sex differences in overall EI. That is why, no
gender differences appeared in overall EI in this study as well as in
that of Bar-On (2002).
It may be so because both the gender groups are in the same
profession and their professional requirements make them equally
emotionally intelligent. They enter the profession with the same
academic qualification and their job demands are similar as well.
Findings of the study are encouraging for females in teaching
profession in higher education. In a male dominating society like
Pakistan, they do not lag behind their male counterparts as far as
their emotional intelligence is concerned. They can meet the
demands of teaching profession equally well and can handle all the
difficulties successfully they have to face during their job
Use of Bar-On EQ-i: Short, a self-report measure, was one of
major limitations of the present study. This study may be replicated
by using any ability based instrument e.g. Mayer, Salovey and
Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) (Mayer, Salovey &
Caruso, 2002) for better understanding of teachers' emotional
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Received September 19, 2012
Revision Received March 12, 2013