Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Students make more work demands and requests for special favours to their female rather than male professors‚ according to research by Eastern Washington University in the US.

Data from 88 professors and 121 students was analysed. It found that students "who believed they were deserving of academic success‚ irrespective of their actual performance or the effort they put in‚ were particularly likely to ask a female professor for extra favours and react negatively if those favours are denied".

The researchers said men were considered "more respected and authoritative"‚ making students unlikely to oppose their decisions.

"They might even believe that it would be counterproductive or fruitless to oppose male professors and to keep on nagging‚ because they are not easily swayed."

Lecturer Karen Nair said students sometimes took advantage of "the softer‚ patient‚ motherly side that female lecturers display".

"Male lecturers are most often stern and tend to say no easily‚ whereas female lecturers are softer and pay attention to each student’s particular problem. They are easier to talk to."

Nair said students often lie about circumstances to get a chance to rewrite tests‚ hand in work or even attend classes late.

"From my experience‚ female lecturers overlook most of these situations. We often make a plan. My husband lectures at the same college as me. His response to students is the total opposite of mine. He is stern and straightforward. He feels that he has things in control that way."