I may as well court death; this topic is highly controversial.
The feminist movement has gained considerable ground (maybe we should thank Beyonce); the salary gap is bridging ever closer, more women are in top executive roles, more women are heard. Based on what I’ve read, I will attempt to paint a fair picture.
The notion of equality is a farce, we can never be equals. It is true that men hold most of the top level jobs; however it is also true that they hold many of the lower level jobs (watch one episode of Dirty Jobs and you will come to appreciate what I’ve meant). Women are largely positioned in the middle. For any given job between the sexes, the income disparity boils down to the average number of hours worked in a lifetime; women on average work lesser hours due to menstrual MC, childcare, maternity and pregnancy leave. All these means that they are largely overlooked in positions that require important executive decisions (ABC has launched a hostile takeover, we need to act! What, she’s on leave?!). The difference is in a sense innate; men and women are biologically different. Women, who bear children, have to consider the pros and cons of juggling a career against a family (flexible hours, middle level jobs).
What does the sentence ”Men are better in spatial skills” mean? Before you label me a sexist, I assure you that it is merely a reflection of our innate differences. On average, men are better in spatial skills, but that does not mean that I am immediately better in spatial skills than the women sitting across me. If we would recognize such differences, we would better appreciate life. Similarly, women perform better when it comes to episodic memory, but I wouldn’t get into a fist fight over this comment. Stereotypes typically reflect the average properties of a group, including sex, but are not necessarily true when applied to its individual members.
Perhaps I shall touch on sexual selection. For a male to propagate his offspring, the strategy would be to copulate with as many females as possible, to perpetuate his genes (I can already hear sniggers). Signs of fertility and good genes include the size of breasts, face symmetry, which would explain why men ogle at women; men are obsessed with such. You have heard of ‘head turners’. Women on the other hand, faced with the prospect of a pregnancy of 9 months, would be foolhardy to follow such a strategy. Instead, they look for men with resources and status to ensure the perpetuation of her genes. The dude with the car? Actually, these behaviors can be observed in the animal kingdom; the stickleback fish, or more commonly the peacock.
Sexual selection is highly controversial, in the sense that it was thought to justify rape. It isn’t, but with better education we could construct better policies. Indeed, the law heavily penalizes rape, to deter such an act. In fact, the law recognizes the potential vulnerability of women. Alimony, unique to our species, penalizes men heavily in event of a divorce. It is also the case in domestic violence. However men are often the subject of abuse; lower numbers are reported simply because men are less likely to report being abused for an array of reasons, including the loss of self esteem.
The motivation for my article comes largely from the failed relationships experienced by people around me. We hear “all men are pigs” or “all women are bitches” all the time. Without an iota of doubt, I would say that such comments are largely unfounded, fueled by emotions in the heat of the moment. Some men are pigs, some women are bitches, but if we were to apply them to every single member of our species, this world would be a rather uninteresting place.