Susan Pinker, psychologist and award-winning columnist, has written a groundbreaking and controversial book that reveals why learning and behavioral gaps between boys and girls in the classroom are reversed in the workplace.
Pinker examines how fundamental sex differences play out over the life span. By comparing fragile boys who succeed later with high-achieving women who opt out or plateau in their careers, Pinker turns several assumptions upside down: that women and men are biologically equivalent, that intelligence is all it takes to succeed, and that women are just versions of men, with identical interests and goals. In lively prose, Pinker guides readers through the latest findings in neuroscience and economics while addressing these questions: Are males the more fragile sex? What do men with Asperger syndrome or dyslexia tell us about more average men? Which sex is the happiest at work? Why do some male college dropouts earn more than the bright girls who sat beside them in third grade? After three decades of women's educational coups, why do men outnumber women in corporate law, engineering, physical science, and politics? The answers to these questions are the opposite of what we expect.
A provocative examination of how and why learning and behavioral gaps in the nursery are reversed in the boardroom, this illuminating book reveals how sex differences influence career choices and ambition. Through the stories of real men and women, science, and examples from popular culture, Susan Pinker takes a new look at the differences between women and men.
Why, according to 2003 figures, do women constitute 49% of law school graduates but only 27% of practicing lawyers? Defying taboos, Pinker, a psychologist and columnist for the Globe & Mail, presents a compelling case for a biological explanation of why men and women make different career choices. Drawing on comprehensive scientific and social evidence and case studies, she proposes that hormones are a determining factor. The hormones predominant in men lead to action, focus and, often, to competitive and rigidly hierarchical professions such as law. Women's hormones lead them to focus on empathy and social interaction, and careers as teachers or social workers. Thus, despite their early advantages girls have better language skills and discipline, while boys are more prone to dyslexia, autism and Asperger syndrome and other difficulties women tend not to seek out "the highest status or the most lucrative careers": They're reluctant to take jobs whose demands won't allow them the choice to focus on other aspects of their lives. Pinker says she isn't calling for a return to the 1950s housewife model. She emphasizes individual differences among men and women, but hopes that wider recognition of gender differences can lead to greater workplace flexibility and room for women's professional advancement on their own terms. She may draw a great deal of fire for this book, but her strong evidence could also open a better-informed discussion of the issues. B&w illus.
Pinker does a fabulous job in providing research and evidence to support her arguments. This book helped me understand many misconceptions about sex differences. Give it a read and you won't be disappointed.