It's a Good Thing That Women Don't Think Like Men

From my experience — and being a husband and the father of daughters — I value the fact that women think differently than men.

I am fortunate to be in a work environment where the overwhelming majority of my direct reports, coworkers, readers and most of the decision makers at the companies who do business with DiversityInc are women. From that experience—and being a husband and the father of daughters—I value the fact that women think differently than men.


There is no doubt in my mind that Larry Summers, head of the White House National Economic Council, was right when he said as President of Harvard University at the National Bureau of Economic Research Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce on Jan. 14, 2005: "There may also be elements, by the way, of differing. There is some, particularly in some attributes, that bear on engineering. There is reasonably strong evidence of taste differences between little girls and little boys that are not easy to attribute to socialization."

Where he went all wrong in that infamous speech, which eventually cost him his job at Harvard, is assuming that anything other than

discrimination is the cause of there being fewer women in science than men. Even worse is his implicit assertion that the system that

produces the discrimination is righteous, beneficial and sacrosanct. But that's the thinking in our male-dominated society. Somehow,

men don't seem to relate the problems that the world currently faces—the financial disaster we're all in, for example—with blatant

discrimination. The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article about the folks who were paid the highest bonuses at Merrill Lynch for their work in 2008. The men in the photo were all white men. It doesn't seem natural in our male-dominated society to connect the dots between that discrimination (which is fairly consistent with all the banks and brokerage companies involved with this disaster) and the worst market disaster since the Great Depression (a time when only white men were running things).

I think Summers put the final nail in his Harvard-presidency coffin with his follow-up written apology: "My January remarks substantially

understated the impact of socialization and discrimination, including implicit attitudes—patterns of thought to which all of us are unconsciously subject."

This is a profoundly illuminating statement. Summers would have been far better off to run with his first thought in his original speech—there are differences between little girls and little boys, as well as men and women, that are not due to socialization. To lump socialization with discrimination implies that all the ways that women are socialized are wrong. I'm not referring to socialization that is sexist and imposed; I'm describing the socialization that occurs due to the differences in thinking between genders. These different "patterns of thought" are not a "problem" unless they're viewed exclusively through a male filter. Actually, the "patterns" are just what they are—different.

The world would be far better off accepting differences—accepting femininity as equal—and changing the system to give us defacto equality as a predestinated and absolutely required outcome. If we did this, the very nature of how we do things would change forever. If we relentlessly force the system to adapt to human nature, both male and female, where would we end up?

There's a need for conscious and forthright acceptance of gender difference as an absolute—and one that must be treated as absolutely equal. We could then go on to properly credit the exponential progress our world has seen in the past several decades: Remarkable increases in literacy, reductions in hunger and the fact that we're living in a period of less war per capita than ever before in human history, for example. I believe these benefits to all people have a cause: They're directly due to a simultaneous increase in rights for women. Justice delayed is progress denied.

 

Luke Visconti's Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

REUTERS

New York's 'Fearless Girl' to Stare Down the Stock Exchange

"Fearless Girl," whose message is for a bigger role for women in corporate America and whose appearance in lower Manhattan on the eve of International Women's Day last year sparked a social media sensation, will be moved by the end of 2018.

(Reuters) — The bronze statue of a little girl that became a tourism phenomenon by staring down Wall Street's massive "Charging Bull" sculpture is to be moved to a nearby spot where its stern gaze will be on the male-dominated New York Stock Exchange, city officials said on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
REUTERS

Senate's 'First Baby' on Hand for Confirmation Vote

A swaddled 11-day-old Maile Pearl Bowlsbey arrived on the floor of the chamber carried by her mother, Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

(Reuters) — A little history was made in Washington on Thursday — little in the form of a newborn who became the first baby ever to appear on the floor of the U.S. Senate during a vote.

Read More Show Less
Nike CEO and Chairman Mark Parker/ REUTERS

Nike's Head of Diversity and Inclusion Leaves Amid Executive Scandal

The company not only has a problem accelerating women into leadership roles but also has a boys-club culture.

As Nike Inc. continues to fail in hiring and retaining women at leadership levels and grapples with the alleged sexist behavior of executives, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Antoine Andrews has left the company.

Read More Show Less
INSTAGRAM

Beyoncé Brings Black Pride to Coachella

The superstar made African American culture the star of the show.

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has carved a place in Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival history as the first Black woman to headline the event. The traditionally hipster/bohemian festival took a journey into Black America with Queen Bey at the helm.

Read More Show Less

Pay Gaps Persist For Female And African American Physicians In US

Overall, African American physicians earned an average of $50,000 less per year than white physicians. African-American women made nearly $100,000 less than male African-American physicians.

(Reuters) — Although salaries for U.S. physicians edged higher in 2018, gaps in compensation remained unchanged for females and African Americans, according to Medscape's latest Physician Compensation Report, online April 11.

Read More Show Less