Saturday, February 15, 2014


article imageI have never understood the male bias against women—though I have encountered it often enough.

In fact, when I was in business (as if writing is not a business) I regularly promoted women over men for the practical reason that they seemed to be more effective. Of course, that depended on the individual, but I noticed that—generally speaking—they are better listeners, better at detail, and better at inter-personal relationships. That said, I have worked both with, and for, some truly unpleasant specimens—but they tended to be exceptions. Also, I said “more effective”—I did not say “nicer.”

But are women nicer than men? I have absolutely no idea. Since I like women—and they have been the predominant influences in my life—I probably find them pleasanter personally—but given that I have some rather wonderful male friends, I am not even sure of that. I will say they are easier to communicate with. We males tend to adopt a persona at an early age, and then hide behind that. Women, by and large, are more direct.

I will confess I find attractive women distracting (and I find most women attractive in one way or another)—sometimes extremely so—but, since I have long been aware of that bias, I have never regarded it as a reason to keep women in their place (whatever that is). Working out how to get them into bed is another matter. And I think that’s all I’ll say on that subject.

My housemaster at school—who went on to become the abbot—once commented that there is no such thing as a platonic relationship between a man and a women—an insight that made my eyebrows shoot up. Now I think he may be right—because the sexual dynamic almost always colors the relationship, however much it is kept suppressed. Nonetheless, that is still no excuse for not treating women as work equals; and paying and promoting them accordingly. It is just plain wrong to do otherwise.

In fact, if I had my way, we’d split everything between the sexes—Congress, corporate boards, academia, and definitely the church. As for the presidency, since we can’t slice people in two and glue them together (as yet) I’d have them alternate.

This comment was sparked off by a piece in the Washington Post.

In new study, nearly a third of science and tech leaders think a woman can’t reach the top

The problem of getting more young women into science and high-tech fields is getting a lot of recent attention, from a newly launched national mentorship program for budding female scientists to Super Bowl ads for engineering toys designed for girls.

But keeping them in those fields — and helping them reach the top — may be an even bigger challenge. A new report to be released Wednesday afternoon from the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), the research think tank founded by economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett, finds that U.S. women working in these fields are 45 percent more likely than their male peers to leave the industry within the year.

In addition, the study also found that nearly a third of senior leaders — both male and female — who work in science, engineering and technology fields reported that a woman would never reach the top position in their company. “Even the senior guys who are in a position to make change for the women in their company don’t feel like they can do it,” says Laura Sherbin, the director of research for CTI. When that’s the case, she asks, “what’s left?”

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