Not every woman likes to shop and has 523,000 pairs of shoes. Not every man watches sports and refuses to ask for directions. But being aware that the genders are often different in fundamental ways can help writing them. No matter what you’re writing (unless it’s kid’s fiction), men and women are going to play prominent roles and interact with one another. Being able to learn the ways that men and women speak and act differently can enrich writing.
I read an article once that men speak with more action words and objects, and women speak more with emotion words and statements about people. One thing that might help illustrate this is to take a passage in a story you’re working on (or as an exercise, just take something out of a book). Try to rewrite it from a “male” perspective and from a “female” perspective.
Another good exercise is to go sit at a coffee shop and eavesdrop on someone’s conversation, preferably between a male and female. Take notes on what they say and how they say it.
To help you, I’ve included some resources. The first one is called “The Gender Genie.” It uses different words to give you “male” or “female” points and tells you which gender it seems to fit better. The second one is a funny link showing how men and women see color and take pictures.