Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Women don't like to compete?

Yet another NY Times article designed to alleviate any societal guilt about gender gaps. (If you recall the last one was about how women don't make it to executive boardrooms because they get bored and need more mental stimulation! )

This article states that men seem significantly more inclined to put themselves in competitive situations than women. Of course the stakes at risk in the little experiment was $1 vs. $.50, so perhaps not very analogous to the real world of Corporate America.

I actually don't have a problem if studies show that gender generally react differently to different situations. I don't have a problem appreciating that the majority tend to behave in predictable ways. This is true anyway you slice and dice society...that's how statistics work. There is always going to be something that the majority does or does not.

All I'm saying is let's not use statistics to marginalize, minimize or otherwise turn our backs on real-life exceptions to the rule. Let's not decide we don't have to worry about issues faced by the minority, no matter how significant that minority, simply because the behaviors/actions/goals of the majority let us off the hook. If you don't know any stories of real-live, flesh and blood, talented, ambitious, competitive, driven women hitting that glass ceiling, I'd be happy to tell you some.

Even if 99% of women were content to never make it past Manager or Director level...if one woman is swimming with the sharks and gets treated differently than men of equal or less ability/skill/knowledge/talent/name the quality here...that's still wrong. Doesn't matter what the other 99% are doing.

And there's just something self-satisfied about the tone of this article that wants us to pat ourselves on the back, pat the little ladies on the rump...and walk away.

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