I know I said that yesterday’s post was the last word, but we all know that women always have the last word.
This male blogger listens attentively . . .
Glass ceilings, glass floors, the pinking of corporate landscapes; much of this can be explained by the differences between men and women.
There is some argument over whether women average the same level of intelligence or men have a slightly higher average. Estimates range from the same, to around 3 points, to 5 points, to as high as 8 points. What is more accepted is that the spread of female intelligence is lower (on average, women are more average). It is also generally accepted that women tend to perform better on verbal measures while men tend to perform better on visio/spatial measures.
Those not having a political axe to grind will probably agree that women tend to be affiliative, while men tend to be competitive. Women prefer to win the group, while men prefer to win the battle. Indeed, in choosing romantic partners, men tend to prefer women who are good at winning friends and women choose men who are good at winning battles (status), a nice symmetry.
We could blame sexism for the different outcomes between men and women, but the above explain those outcomes just as well. Fewer women will suffer very low intelligence (no Sarah Palin jokes, please), and thus fewer women will fall beneath the glass floor. On the other side of the bell curve, fewer women will have the very high visio/spatial intelligence required by physics, engineering, and mathematics. Even small differences in averages or standard deviation, can have huge effect on the ends. The slight advantage in male averages, coupled with their wider spread, mean that vastly more men end up with the abilities needed to perform at a high level in the sciences. What we would expect is what we get: vastly more men at high levels in the sciences.
While extreme level of intelligence may not be required to reach the upper levels of the corporate world, high levels of competitiveness are. Friendliness will get you so far, but at some point you will be in competition with another. You cannot group-hug your way to the CEO position, you have to beat off competition. The more competitive nature of the average man means more will win those battles, indeed more will care enough to fight them. Even if high corporate positions do not require extremely high levels of intelligence, they still require above average levels. Even many women will be smart enough, it is likely their numbers will be proportionally smaller than the men. What we would expect is what we get: many more male CEOs and other high executive officers.
With their more cooperative nature, and more average intellect, we would expect to see women perform well in the great middle. Indeed that is what we do see; women competently fill a broad swathe of mid-level roles. Many corporate roles require cooperation, moderate intelligence, and a willingness to follow conventions. The modern corporate environment is well suited to many women. Many men will also find a place here, but may find the conventions more stifling. The better men will use their competitive skills to move up, the others may end up shipping out (in frustration). What we would expect is what we get: women equaling or outperforming men in large swathes of the economy.
Despite all the grrrl power and politically correct nonsense, here are some predictions for the next 100 years: men will continue to be the vast majority of CEOs; men will continue to win the most Nobel science prizes; the majority of inventions and discovery will be invented and discovered by men; in the majority of endeavors, it will be men who occupy the top slots. Where objective measures of performance are weaker, women will do well: increased awards for literature (driven by politics and fashion), greater representation in politics (forced quotas and grrl power myths), and continued majorities in non-scientific education.
And, of course, women will continue to have the last word . . . while men continue pretending to listen.
Yeah! I did deliberately create the Last Word post before this one, just so I could force the joke.
Of course, there is no such thing as the last word on the Internet but this series really has come to an end for now. Even on the topics I did cover, I realize I left out lots of things. I may add to it, but more likely will just comment on regular or Random Thoughts style posts.