It's no secret that male and female brains are hard-wired differently.
Years ago, I saw a documentary that showed a couple having sex in an MRI or similar scanning machine.
While the man's brain was red hot in one segment of his brain, the woman's brain was various densities of pink all over. This was interpreted to mean that men's brains are more specialized -- ie. with different sections responsible for different neuro- or motor functions -- while women used more of their brains, or at least greater parts of them.
I joke to my friends that, during sex, guys are focused on the deed while women are thinking stuff like ''Oh God, look at my stomach jiggling''' and/or ''I hope the kids stay asleep'' and/or ''Better remember to pick up the dry cleaning tomorrow'' and/or ''Geez, how did I miss those cobwebs on the ceiling?''Whatever. These basic differences, the doc explained, could be why women have a better chance of recovering normal verbal or movement abilities after a stroke. Other sections of their brain would take over those functions -- while men were left with gaping neurological deficits because a pertinent part of their brain was wiped out.
I suppose you could explain this all with evolution. Women are generally better multi-taskers because they have to be. Through the ages, they minded the kids, tended the fires, gathered the nuts and berries, made the clothes, and all that other ''work is never done'' work. They also had to, as the weaker sex (at while least pregnant or nursing), be better able to get along with others in order to survive.
Men had to be more single-minded in order to seek and hunt down dinner -- or to fend off the neighbouring marauding tribes.
Following this logic, it would explain why men are more aggressive and/or assertive than women. Survival of the fittest, the biggest, the loudest, the most confident ...
[W]omen in general, and the women whose educations I am responsible for in particular, ... aren't just bad at behaving like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks. They are bad at behaving like self-promoting narcissists, anti-social obsessives, or pompous blowhards, even a little bit, even temporarily, even when it would be in their best interests to do so. Whatever bad things you can say about those behaviors, you can't say they are underrepresented among people who have changed the world.
Now I don't know what to do about this problem. (The essence of a rant, in fact, is that the ranter has no idea how to fix the thing being ranted about.) What I do know is this: it would be good if more women see interesting opportunities that they might not be qualified for, opportunities which they might in fact f**k up if they try to take them on, and then try to take them on. It would be good if more women got in the habit of raising their hands and saying "I can do that. Sign me up. My work is awesome," no matter how many people that behavior upsets.
Now this is asking women to behave more like men, but so what? We ask people to cross gender lines all the time. We’re in the middle of a generations-long project to encourage men to be better listeners and more sensitive partners, to take more account of others’ feelings and to let out our own feelings more. Similarly, I see colleges spending time and effort teaching women strategies for self-defense, including direct physical aggression. I sometimes wonder what would happen, though, if my college spent as much effort teaching women self-advancement as self-defense.
Gotta say, there's something to that. Instead of women spending so much time on Oprah admonitions to self-improve, maybe they'd be better off acting like it's everybody and everything else that needs fixing -- and they are just the -- irony alert! -- man for the job.
Bet that wage gap (PDF) would narrow really fast.
Fun multi-media extras! Click here for a 1950 CBC Radio forum on pay equity. The struggle continues.
And go here to see if your brain is more male or more female.