Women Are Not Men: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

FRK-0192-13 Freakonomics Feb_Women Are 72

This week’s podcast is a rebroadcast of a show about all the ways that “Women Are Not Men.”  (You can subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) We take a look at the ways in which the gender gap is closing, and the ways in which it’s not. You’ll hear about the gender gap among editors of the world’s biggest encyclopedia, and what a study conducted in Tanzania and India has to say about female-male differences in competition. You’ll also hear about the female happiness paradox and one of the biggest gender gaps out there: crime. Which begs the question: if you’re rooting for women and men to become completely equal, should you root for women to commit more crimes?

Audio Transcript

[MUSIC: Nathan Mathes; “Cheer On” (from Bellwether. Arbutus)]

DUBNER: More than half of all college students in the U.S., about 57 percent, are female. As of January 2103, women were no longer barred from combat positions in the United States military. The male-female income gap is tightening. Women hold about 20 percent of the seats in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives– the highest proportion ever. Three of the last five Secretaries of State were women. One of them, Condoleezza Rice, recently became one of the first female members of Augusta National Golf Club, one of the oldest and goodest good ol’ boy clubs in America. Equality of the sexes has long been a goal, and in many ways that goal is being met. But, as you’ll hear on this program, the variance between men and women on some dimensions is still large. In other words: women are not men.

[MUSIC: Euforquestra; “Elegua” (from Explorations in Afrobeat)]

DUBNER: In some ways obvious—And in other ways less so. Patents for instance: Women file only about 7.5% of all patents.

Jennifer HUNT: Well, I was amazed because in many other areas, women are really closing in on men and this gap is just so enormous.
DUBNER: That’s Jennifer Hunt, an economist at Rutgers. She argues that if more women were to patent, it would add nearly 3% to our per-capita GDP. And why, we asked her, do so few women patent?

HUNT: Men are more likely to be in jobs involving design work or development work, so the “D” in the R&D.
DUBNER: Let’s see, what else can I tell you about the differences between women and men? Did you know that women are far less likely to get struck by lightning?

John JENSENIUS: Typically, 80 to 85 percent of the lightning fatalities across the United States are men. 
DUBNER: That’s John Jensenius, a lightning specialist at the National Weather Service.

JENSENIUS: We think the reason for that is that men tend to be outside more than women and they also tend not to go inside when lightning threatens.
DUBNER: Men are also more prolific at drowning.

Julie GILCHRIST: Males have almost 4 times higher drowning rates than females.
DUBNER: That’s Julie Gilchrist from the Centers for Disease Control. It’s not just that men spend more time in the water. They also overestimate their swimming abilities, and drink more. Alright, what else? Women are half as likely as men to become alcoholics, but twice as likely to have a phobia. And women are more likely to kill off a bad marriage—they file for roughly two-thirds of divorces. And here’s an amazing statistic I’m sure you don’t know. We uncovered one thing that women and men do in exactly the same proportion: they listen all the way to the very end of each episode of Freakonomics Radio. So have a seat.

[THEME]

ANNOUNCER: From WNYC: This is Freakonomics Radio, the podcast that explores the hidden side of everything. Here’s your host, Stephen Dubner.

[MUSIC: Pearl Django; “The Conversation” (from Modern Times)]

DUBNER: On today’s show we’re talking about the ways in which women are not men, for better and worse. We’ll start online. Here’s John Riedl, he was a professor of computer science at the University of Minnesota.

John RIEDL: We know that women have been increasing dramatically as percentage of participation on just about any Internet site you can imagine.

WOMAN 1: The retweet, it’s like viral gold.

WOMAN 2: I’m going to go through a couple of things that you need to know as a new member of Tumbler.

WOMAN 3: Pinterest, the hottest social media site going right now.

RIEDEL: So for instance, females now outnumber males on Facebook and Twitter, and that’s been true just about across any aspect of the Internet you can imagine. Including much to many people’s surprise, online games.

WOMAN 1: Here are a few completely incorrect stereotypes about female gamers. We are ugly. We don’t like violent or scary games. We are only playing games because we lost our way to the kitchen.

DUBNER: But there’s one online realm where women are not so well-represented. Bourree Lam, the editor of Freakonomics.com, has the story.

Bourree LAM: Wikipedia is by far the largest encyclopedia in history. It has more than 24 million articles in 275 languages. Launched in 2001, it’s run by volunteers who call themselves Wikipedians. Now what does this have to do with women? For years not much. But in 2011, a New York Times article, by Noam Cohen, argued that only 1 in 6 Wikipedia editors were women. John Riedl was a bit skeptical, so he decided to run a study.

RIEDL: Much to our shock, we found out that not only was his overall message right on but that the best data we could get suggests that things were even worse in terms of the amount of female contribution. He had reported that about 16% of the editors were women, and we found that to be true. But we found that those females only made about 9% of the edits, which was even more surprising and disappointing.

[MUSIC: Das Vibenbass; “Third Tongue” (from Mindwrestling)]

LAM: It might help to explain how editing on Wikipedia works. As a volunteer, you can click on any article and unless it’s a controversial gated article, you can edit it and add new information. But later, other Wikipedians can delete your edits if they don’t like your changes. That’s called reversion. And if your article is deemed irrelevant, it can be deleted.

Sarah STIERCH: When I started editing Wikipedia, I never really thought that I was the only woman.

LAM: That’s Sarah Stierch. She’s been a Wikipedia editor for nine years. Back then, it had a mere 1 million articles. Stierch remembers the first article she edited.

STIERCH: My first article was deleted; I can proudly say that. I wrote it about a guy in a band that I knew, and it’s no longer on Wikipedia.

LAM: This past year, Stierch has been serving as a Community Fellow for the Wikimedia Foundation. She’s been working on the gender imbalance. She’s trying to get more women involved by hosting meet-ups like this one, not too long ago in Oakland.

[OAKLAND WIKIPEDIA EDITING TAPE]

LAM: But why are women so underrepresented on Wikipedia, especially when that’s not the case with other big sites like Facebook and Twitter? John Riedl says the Wikipedia imbalance bothers him because….

RIEDL: The first place we all go these days is to Wikipedia, and it really worries me to think about half of all of humanity being left out of creating this information resource, which is the greatest encyclopedia in the history of humanity. And half of humanity is being left out of writing it. And we know for a fact that that half of humanity is getting short shrift.

LAM: It turns out that men even dominate the Wikipedia articles that would seem to be of greatest interest to women. Sarah Stierch again:

STIERCH: There’s the more trivial subjects.

[OAKLAND WIKIPEDIA EDITING TAPE]

STIERCH: But then there are things that women know the most about next to our doctors, so to say. Pregnancy, abortion…

[OAKLAND WIKIPEDIA EDITING TAPE]

STIERCH: …those articles are mainly written by men. And they are a contentious subject, oddly enough, pregnancy, yes, is a contentious subject.

LAM: So that seems odd, especially because one in four American doctors is female, along with half the medical school population. So why aren’t women editing Wikipedia?

STIERCH: When I’ve spoken with women around the world, the biggest reason I hear is often, I don’t have time. And that always intrigues me. I mean I get it, I just wrapped up a full time masters working two jobs, you know I’m busy. People who have children, we’re all busy people.

LAM: Men do, in fact, typically have more daily leisure time than women. In the U.S., it’s about 40 minutes a day. And women do tend to do more housework, so, maybe that’s taking up their time. But John Riedl has another explanation.

RIEDL: We know from a bunch of psychology studies that women tend to be made more uncomfortable by conflict than men are made uncomfortable by conflict. And so one of the ideas is maybe in Wikipedia where the fundamental nature of the site is that if you want to correct what someone else has done, the way you do that is you delete it and write them a really mean message. Well, maybe that’s creating a culture of conflict that is driving women away. They just don’t find it a place they enjoy being, and so they go places where they’re happier.

LAM: I remember you told me that there was some backlash to your report?

RIEDL: Yeah when we put the report out one of the things we notice was that a bunch of bloggers—all male, we should say—came out and said, “Well, this is a waste of time. No one needs to be told that there aren’t women editing Wikipedia. They should just suck it up and be tougher and come in and join, there are no technological limitations and so it’s their fault for not participating more.”

[MUSIC: Dave Chisolm; “C-Minor” (from Calligraphy)]

LAM: But Riedel says there’s something else built into the structure and the ethos of Wikipedia that might be discouraging women.

RIEDL: It’s not a model that everybody has to agree on the content of any one piece of information on Facebook. And I think that on Wikipedia, by contrast, there’s this very different ethos, which is, the job of the community is to make sure that these articles are as high quality as they can, I think that’s a very good thing, and the way we get there is we delete each other’s work when we don’t like it. And that creates a very different style of site, a place where people are constantly being engaged by other people rejecting their work.

[OAKLAND WIKIPEDIA EDITING TAPE]
[MUSIC: Airbus; “Deep In A Dream” (from Ghosts)]

DUBNER: So John Riedl’s evidence suggests that women and men may have very different appetites for conflict, which might keep some women away from a place like Wikipedia. Hmm. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if somebody out there had looked at this in the context of —well, of men and women competing against each other.

Uri GNEEZY: We looked at competitiveness.

DUBNER: Ah. There you go. That’s Uri Gneezy.

GNEEZY: I’m Uri Gneezy. I’m a behavioral economist at the Rady School of Management at U.C. San Diego. My main research interest is around incentives, how they affect people, and gender differences, some deception, anything that someone can find interesting.  

DUBNER: Freakonomics producer Suzie Lechtenberg has the story.

LECHTENBERG: Uri Gneezy has three kids: two girls and a boy.

GNEEZY: We really tried to raise them in a gender-neutral environment. So we bought our daughters dolls and trucks and they were very happy. They put the dolls on the trucks. So the truck was used, you know, as a stand. My son was also very happy to get the dolls. He smashed them to the wall and ran them over with the car.

[MUSIC: Eleggua Productions; “Diosa”]

LECHTENBERG: But it was unclear to Gneezy how much of this gender difference is nature and how much is nurture.

GNEEZY: When we drove back from the hospital with the babies, I drove and my wife sat near the baby. So socialization starts, you know, at the hospital or when you leave the hospital and the baby is a few days old. And it’s almost impossible to disentangle this from actual behavior.

LECHTENBERG: Gneezy began to think about the salary gap between women and men. It’s well-known that women earn less—the Labor Department says about 82 cents for every dollar a man earns—but why? Well, there’s a lot of research out there. It suggests that, yes, there is discrimination, but also that women have different preferences than men, in work and in family. But what if there was another, overlooked factor that could help explain the gender gap?

GNEEZY: We thought that maybe a big and important difference is how willing men and women are to compete and how do they react to competitive incentives.

LECHTENBERG: To test if men are more competitively inclined, Gneezy and some economist colleagues, wanted to do a field study. They wanted to get away from Western society to see if they could learn how much culture is a factor in how competitive we are.

GNEEZY: We wanted to go to real cultures in the real world and see how they behave. So we took two very extreme cultures. The first one was the Masai in Africa, in Tanzania.

LECHTENBERG: Gneezy and a group of researchers traveled to Arusha in Tanzania. Arusha is near the Kenyan border, not far from Mt. Kilimanjaro. From Arusha, they planned to travel to two Masai villages. The Masai are cattle herding nomads. They are, perhaps, the archetypal African tribe with their beaded jewelry and brightly colored robes. And, as Uri Gneezy says, “Masai culture is very unkind to its women.”

GNEEZY: The Masai is a very extreme patriarchal society in which is you ask a man how many kids he has he will tell you how many boys he has. Women cost about 10 cows, so they are the property of their husband. If the husband doesn’t like what the wife is doing, he can beat her, he can abuse her.

LECHTENBERG: The men are usually in their late 20s to 30s when they marry and they often have multiple wives. Their brides, generally teens, undergo female genital mutilation before marriage. Women do much of the hard labor. As one woman said, “Men treat us like donkeys.”

[MUSIC: Euforquestra; “Obatala” (from Explorations in Afrobeat)]

LECHTENBERG: Uri Gneezy has studied competition before. Once, he and some colleagues had people compete, solving mazes on computers. He planned to do something similar, with the Masai, except he’d have them solve the mazes on paper, using pens. Right from the start, though, things didn’t go according to plan. The very first Masai woman wasn’t having it…

GNEEZY: She said look, I’m 30, I’ve never held a pen in my life, I don’t see a reason to start now.

LECHTENBERG: Clearly, they needed a plan B.

GNEEZY: The wooden maze that we came up with, that was the next solution.

LECHTENBERG: They spent 12 hours building a maze out of salvaged wood.

GNEEZY: But I’m not a very good carpenter. I’m happy I’m not a carpenter because that would have been really bad.

LECHTENBERG: And were you able to solve your own maze, or?

GNEEZY: No, no, no it had a mistake, it was unsolvable.

LECHTENBERG: (groan)

LECHTENBERG: So this was a little bit stressful…here the researchers were, ten thousand miles from home…

GNEEZY: We have hundreds of people waiting for us in the field and we don’t have a task. On the way to the hotel I see tennis balls in the bucket. Who would have imagined that in Arusha you would see tennis balls in a bucket in a store? But I did. I bought those tennis balls in the bucket and turned out to be a perfect task.

LECHTENBERG: This is what they’d have people do: Participants were asked to toss a tennis ball underhanded into a bucket about 10 feet away. They had 10 chances. They were matched with another unidentified person playing the same game on the other side of the building.

GNEEZY: The experimenter explained to them the task, you know, throwing the ball into the bucket and asked them a very simple question: Do you want to be paid say one dollar per every success? It wasn’t a dollar, but it was equivalent to that. Or, you can be paid three dollars for every success that you have for every ball that lands in the bucket, but only if you do better than the person behind the corner.

LECHTENBERG: Basically, if the player picked the more competitive option, they could get paid three times the amount of money. Gneezy says it wasn’t long before word got around that these “ridiculous Americans” were paying villagers to throw tennis balls into buckets. People came from all over the village to play. And what happened?

GNEEZY: Many more men chose to compete than women. About twice as many men chose to compete than women did, which is very much in line with what we observe when we run it in the U.S., or any Western society.

LECHTENBERG: Fifty percent of Masai men chose the more competitive option. Meaning they chose to be paid more money if they made more baskets than the person around the corner. The women had less appetite for risk. Twenty-six percent of the women chose the more competitive option. Now, this may not come as a huge surprise, that men raised in an extreme patriarchy are more competitive than women.

GNEEZY: So the next step was to go to our anthropologist friends and ask them what’s the other extreme? Where can we find a society in which women are in charge?

LECHTENBERG: All of these anthropologist friends pointed to the Khasi in northeast India. The Khasi are one of the world’s few matrilineal societies, where the youngest Khasi daughter inherits the family’s money and property, men move into their wives’ houses when they marry, and children take their mother’s family name. Overall, life for the Khasi women is pretty good.

GNEEZY: In the Khasi Hills where they live, they clearly have a much higher standing than probably anywhere else in the world. The women are in charge. The women decide what kind of crops they’re going to raise. They are in charge of deciding how to spend the money, the family’s money. The household decisions are theirs. They go to the market to sell the items. When you go to visit their home, they will greet you. They are just used to being considered equal to the men.

[MUSIC: Pearl Django; “Eleventh Hour” (from Eleven)]

LECHTENBERG: The Khasi Hills are really rainy. The region holds the world’s record for the most annual rainfall. There is something else unusual about the place that Uri Gneezy noticed when he arrived.

GNEEZY: And as an economist we try to quantify everything and try to say, oh they are nice seven or something like that. I don’t know how to do that, but just the feeling was very nice. So we walked around in the nights in the middle of the rice fields. And people are just nice to each other.

LECHTENBERG: People are so nice to each other, he says…

GNEEZY: At one point I had sixty thousand dollars in cash in my suitcase and I left them with the cook over there in the house that we rented in the village without any worry. You know, the guy could have taken the money—that’s like taking $60 million for me—and disappeared somewhere in India. I didn’t have to worry about that.

LECHTENBERG: And so, in this place where prize money left untended in a suitcase is fine, and the kindness is unmeasurable, the study began.

GNEEZY: Same experiment that we did with the Masai. Everything is the same. I took the buckets the same balls from Tanzania all the way to India.

LECHTENBERG: They started with two opposing hypotheses.

GNEEZY: The first one is that culture is not really important. It’s the same story as my kids. We are born differently and we just react to this. And the alternative hypothesis is that when women are brought up in a culture in which dealing with money, making decisions is part of the daily routine and that’s what they observe as girls, they’re going to be just as competitive as men.

LECHTENBERG: And what did they find?

GNEEZY: And that’s what we found. We found that culture was extremely important.

LECHTENBERG: Before we delve into the results, remember how the game worked: players had two options. They could get paid x amount for every time they made a basket. Or, they could pick the more competitive option and get paid three times that amount if they did better than their anonymous opponent. So how did the Khasi people do? Fifty-four percent of Khasi women picked the more competitive option. Thirty-nine percent of Khasi men made the same choice. Khasi women were more likely to choose to compete than even the super-patriarchal Masai men we heard about earlier.

GNEEZY: So the implications are clear. It’s not that men and women are not born differently. I’m sure they are. And you can come up with good evolutionary stories about why men are more competitive than women. What we showed is that’s not the only factor that goes in, which again is not a big surprise, but the other factor, the culture is so big, can be so big that it can just overturn the results. So if you grow up in a matrilineal society, women are actually more competitive than men. So it can completely override any evolutionary explanation, any nature kind of reason. Nurture could be that big. And I think that’s the main result of this study is that in the right environment, women are going to be just as competitive as men.

LECHTENBERG: In other words, as Uri Gneezy and his co-author John List say, “nurture is king” or in this case “nurture is queen.” So, what’s the solution? How do we begin to re-socialize our girls? Gneezy says, not so fast.

GNEEZY: I’m not convinced, for example that I want my daughters to be more competitive. I’m not sure that it’s actually good. Maybe we should concentrate on making boys less competitive.

[MUSIC: The Jaguars; “Snake Charmer” (from The Jaguars)]

DUBNER: Coming up on Freakonomics Radio, we take a look at something puzzling that has happened to women’s happiness. Why?

Betsey STEVENSON: First of all, we call it a paradox because we don’t know the answer. 
DUBNER: And later, if you’re rooting for women and men to become totally and completely equal, should you root for women to commit more crimes?

Jennifer SCHWARTZ: If you look at all different types of crime that the police enforce, 75 to 80 percent of those offenders are male.

[UNDERWRITING]

ANNOUCNER: From WNYC: This is Freakonomics Radio. Here’s your host, Stephen Dubner.
[MUSIC: 3 Leg Torso; “B & G’s” (from Astor in Paris)]

DUBNER: Today’s program is called “Women Are Not Men.” Now, there are about a million ways to think about that simple sentence, a million ways to argue with it. We’re not trying to start any arguments. We’re just trying to look at the data that show differences between men and women, try to figure out why those differences exist, how meaningful they are. What you need to know for this next story is that there is a lot of research that ties income to happiness. Generally, more money means a higher level of happiness, or well-being. Over the past 30 years, women have made big gains in education and the workforce, which means they’re making more money than ever before. And so, the thinking goes, women should also be happier than ever before. Shouldn’t they? Betsey Stevenson is a an economist who shuttles between University and government jobs. Along with Justin Wolfers, her domestic partner and fellow economist, Stevenson wrote a paper exploring female happiness.

STEVENSON: Women are reporting life satisfaction levels that are lower than they were in 1970. Now, there’s a couple things to note. One is that women told us that they were happier with their lives in the ‘70s than men were, so we had a happiness gap in the ‘70s where women reported greater well-being than men. And what we have now is a new gap where men report greater life satisfaction than women. The magnitudes here aren’t huge, but it’s the fact that the directional shift is the exact opposite of what we would have expected given that it’s women’s lives that have really become more expansive, more options, and a greater ability for them to choose the type of life that would make them best off.

DUBNER: So how do you explain it, Betsey? I mean, women were given a larger choice set, which economists tell us larger choice sets to a degree are really good. Women were given and accomplished in a lot of other areas that we would associate with, you know, benefits of different kinds: financial benefits, psychic benefits, and so on. How do you account for the decline? How do you account for the paradox? What are the mechanisms by which that paradox exists?

STEVENSON: Well you know, first of all, we call it a paradox because we don’t know the answer. What we found was this decline in women’s well-being relative to men was seen not just in the United States, but was seen in Europe, it was seen in every country where we were able to get a long-enough time period to be able to look at several decades of trends in well-being. And it occurred in countries where the gains for women differed substantially. So I know a lot of people would like to say, Oh, this goes to show that, you know, women entering the labor force has been very difficult for them and it’s reduced their well-being. But, you know, our research doesn’t make that case because we saw the declines in well-being relative to men in countries where women had very little change in their labor force participation, and similar changes in countries where women had very large gains in their labor-force participation.

DUBNER: You make the point that women’s happiness declined as they entered the workforce in greater and greater numbers and started to earn more money relative to men, although still less relative to men, and that gains from women yielded greater happiness for men relative to the women. Could it be in some way that men get happier for whatever reasons because there are more women in the workforce?

STEVENSON: Well let me clear, we put that out as a hypothesis, not that there’s evidence that that’s definitely what’s happening. I mean, what we know is the correlation is that over a time period where women have gained more autonomy, more financial power, more market power, more responsibility and power within their families that they have become less happy and men have become slightly happier. And so one possibility is that somehow this sort of revolution in our lives has actually benefited men more than it’s benefited women. And, you know, the comment that Steve Levitt made to us was, of course women have become less happy, they’re living their lives like men, and now they’re just as happy as men, which is not as happy.

[MUSIC: Das Vibenbass; “The Beast” (from Animals & Robots)]

DUBNER: All right, so Betsey, no offense, but this is a little depressing. So, do you have any good news, or at least advice about what can be done? What are some things that people can do, that women can do to recapture or get more happiness in the modern world?

STEVENSON: You know, I agree with you, the whole conversation is a little bit depressing. And I think that, you know, trying to be maximizers in everything might not lead to the greatest happiness. And so trying to figure out what it is that’s really important to us and letting other things slide and feeling okay about that, feeling like it’s okay that I’m doing the thing that’s most important to me, or that I’m not giving my all at work because I’m splitting my energy between work and my kids and I’m okay with that. You know I…But I also, you know, I also hesitate to say that there’s definitely a problem here.

DUBNER: What about earning more money though, would that be a good idea? Would the median woman become a bit happier if she were able to earn more money?

STEVENSON: I think that sometimes people get a little bit confused about the data on this, but what we see really strongly in every data set you look at is that richer people are happier than poorer people. And what we see is that over time, when countries get richer, their citizens get happier on average. And so women putting themselves in positions where they have a greater ability to earn income is really important. Now there is this other thing, which I think I should mention, which is that often women are underpaid. And they’re underpaid because they simply don’t ask. They don’t ask for the raise they should get. And there’s really compelling research on this that women tend to not negotiate as hard, tend to be less likely to ask for a raise. And so if you could be earning more doing the exact same job that you’re doing, I think you’d be better off. So you should go out there and ask for that raise.

[MUSIC: Vagabond Opera; “Hanumonsoon” (from Sign For Your Lives)]

DUBNER: That was the economist Betsey Stevenson on the gender gap in earnings, and in happiness. Now there’s one more difference to look into today. An activity that we should be very, very happy that women do much, much less frequently than men.

SCHWARTZ: So where we see the starkest gender differences are for homicide, rape, robbery, those sorts of major felony-typse violence.  
DUBNER: That’s Jennifer Schwartz. She’s a sociologist at Washington State University.

SCHWARTZ: And I study gender and crime. Mainly I’m interested in why females offend. Why they don’t offend. If they’ve changed the types or amount of offending they do. 
DUBNER: All right, then how much offending do women do?

SCHWARTZ: If you look at all different types of crime that the police enforce, 75 to 80 percent of those offenders are male.

LEVITT: There are only two crimes in the United States today for which women get arrested more than men.
DUBNER: Steve Levitt is my Freakonomics friend and co-author.

LEVITT: One of those is prostitution. And it turns on the other is being a runaway, that if you’re a juvenile and you run away from home, you can get arrested for that, and it turns out girls get arrested more than boys for running away from home. Other than that, men run the table on women when it comes to crime.
DUBNER: For Jennifer Schwartz, the idea of thinking about women and crime was a natural outgrowth of thinking about the feminist movement.

SCHWARTZ: I think the hook for me was, you know, taking the common sense, or what seemed like common sense, that as women gained more freedoms and as women had more access to opportunities that they would engage in more crime. And that seemed to be what the common sense notion was, but once I started looking at the data it seemed the opposite was true, or at least there was no support for this idea that women’s liberation would increase their offending. And so I think that sort of puzzle made me want to know—Well, why women are offending in the first place and why aren’t they offending any more given that we think women have come so far and have so many opportunities what’s holding them back from offending if they are making gains in other avenues in legitimate work, why aren’t they making gains in the underworld, I guess. So that was the hook for me, trying to figure out that puzzle of why aren’t women offending more given that their status in society has, you know, bettered for the most part.

[MUSIC: The Mackrosoft; “The Immortality Project” (from Antonio’s Giraffe)]

DUBNER: Now, to be fair, women have started committing some crimes more often. Forgery, embezzlement, even auto theft, a little. But compared to men, their rates are still very low.

SCHWARTZ: I know, I have a little bit of mixed feelings because that, you know, when I think about it I say I’m not rooting for women to become more criminal or have more criminal opportunities. I guess it’s just another form, or another context in which women are blocked from, you know, achieving at high levels. But, you know, it’s a, it’s sort of a difficult thing to unpackage, I guess.
DUBNER: It may be difficult to unpackage but let’s be clear: it’s a good thing that women, having closed a lot of gender gaps over the past few decades, aren’t rushing to close the crime gap. There are other gaps that one might hope will be preserved or, better yet, closed but in the other direction. Men should aspire to get to where women already are. Did you know, for instance, that a man is much less likely than a woman to do you a favor? Men are much worse at washing their hands, which, if you’re thinking about a hospital setting in particular, can be bad news. There’s also research showing that men, if you ask them a question, are thoroughly incapable of simply saying “I don’t know” even if in fact they don’t know the answer. Now, why is that? Let me betray my gender here for a moment and simply say this: I don’t know.

[CREDITS]

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  1. Cyril Morong says:

    Do women blog less than men? It looks like all of the contributors to Freakonomics are male

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    • Diane Merriam says:

      I’d bet there’s a lot more male economists than women. Obviously there’s some, given Yellen’s position at the Fed, but I don’t think I’ve run across many other women personally that have any interest at all in economics. Note – I’m not an economist myself and haven’t taken any formal classes in it in about 30 years (but lots of books), so it’s just a guess based on my personal experience.

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    • NZ says:

      Maybe you’d support a law stating that any categorizable group of people, of any size and at any level, must follow current U.S. census proportions. Presumably this should include not only economists, but sports teams and breastfeeding instructors.

      Do you also think Jerry Seinfeld should be forced to have more black and female comedians on his new show?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 12
  2. Ray says:

    I had a though re why women’s happiness relative to men may be decreasing. Perhaps today’s women are like the silver medal winners – instead of being happy that they are better off than the bronze winners (yesterday’s women), they are eyeing that gold medal, i.e. today’s men.

    To put it in different terms, a woman who grew up before the women’s liberation movement had certain expectations for their potential and where they could end up in life. These expectations were relatively small compared to today’s options and so women were more likely to achieve some or all of them leading to greater satisfaction with life.

    Women growing up during or after women’s liberation have a much larger set of potentials and expectations for their lives and may have more difficulty achieving what they want. Plus many still carry the “baggage” of pre-liberation expectations of family obligations, etc. which men do not share.

    (Not to be construed as an argument against women’s liberation.)

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    • Diane Merriam says:

      First a disclaimer – I’m not a biologist or anthropologist or anything like that. My degrees are in engineering.

      When you look at the necessities of survival in the ages we evolved in, of course men and women have different roles. When we’re heavily pregnant or have a noisy baby to nurse, it’s pretty hard to go hunting, especially with primitive weapons. We can gather though. But we HAVE to rely on others to do the hunting part or to take care of our children so we can get back to hunting during our fertile years.

      Hunting requires patience, silence, and concentration. You’d better not let emotions get in the way. Depending on others for survival for any significant length of time requires emotional awareness and reciprocity. Different survival tactics for the different sexes working together as a species.

      One’s not better than the other, and these days most of those considerations don’t come into play, but it’s still the environment we evolved in, so those differences are still there. Nature and nurture are still half and half.

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    • NZ says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • jbp says:

        Your answer doesn’t actually address her point. She never said women aren’t as smart as men. She said that they have different emotional profiles.

        As for your point on hunting and scavenging, you’re taking one side that hasn’t been settled by science. I would submit that the better evidence is that we were hunters. Two million old sites show humans eating large numbers of antelope. These animals are typically entirely devoured by predators within minutes of being hunted, so there’s not much opportunity to scavenge them. Also modern man does not appear to have the ability to safely eat rotting meat. It may be that we lost that ability, but given that eating rotten meat is a big survival advantage, it’s unlikely.

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      • NZ says:

        @jbp:

        Oops, I was addressing Ray with one point, Diane Merriam with another. I accidentally worded it like I was talking to one person.

        I never said anything about women’s vs. men’s smarts either. To use Ray’s analogy, I said that there were plenty of silver medalists in the past, but that most of the bronze medalists back then didn’t care about being gold medalists. Today, women are heavily indoctrinated with the idea that if enough of them don’t win the gold then they are Losers who have been defeated by The Evil Patriarchy, who themselves only won by cheating (or something like that).

        Regarding hunting vs scavenging: sorry to make such a blunt correction on you here, but two million years ago there were no humans. (Our species is only about 200,000 years old.)

        The first serious way for our hominid ancestors, meanwhile, to assert physical dominance must have been rock-throwing in teams, since crafting sharp-tipped weapons is much more technically complicated, and we needed a significant projection of force to deter large predators. We needed a serious means of asserting physical dominance early on, because bipedalism is otherwise really just a bundle of huge risks.

        It would be very difficult to hunt outright with rock-throwing, even in teams, but scavenging large game would be feasible, since the target is moving way less. Team rock-throwing also explains much of human social and neurological evolution quite elegantly. (And, given what we know about aggressive teams and throwing ability, I’d say the smart money is on these teams being comprise almost entirely of males.)

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      • John Ledbury says:

        Hi while genetic inheritance is important to a degree, I think you overlook the competitive nature of the male as opposed to the female. Males compete for females because females do the mate choosing because the female investment in reproduction is so much greater than the males. So males are always going to try harder and succeed further. It doesn’t mean that males will always occupy the top slots, just most of them

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      • jbp says:

        NZ,

        Fair enough. I expect the point was mere confusion.

        As for age of humans, a lot depends on how you define it. But our history goes back a lot longer than 200,000 years.

        Humans were actually creating hearths 300,000 years ago: http://www.examiner.com/article/oldest-evidence-of-the-repeated-use-of-fire-found-israel

        I’ve actually seen artwork that is dated back to 275,000 years ago.

        And here’s a story about our ancestors going back a couple of million years ago: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/sep/23/human-hunting-evolution-2million-years

        Here are a couple of

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      • NZ says:

        @jbp:

        One of the things about newspaper science sections is that they frequently feature writers who either are not actually scientists, or who know they must dumb down a lot of the content for average readers. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it just means that you can’t take those articles as gospel to the letter (not that you should take anything in newspapers that way).

        So, when these articles talk about “ancient man” or “ancient humans” you have to realize they’re not actually talking about our exact species, but one of our hominid ancestors, most of whose names are unpronounceable by average readers (even average readers of the science section).

        Anatomically modern humans are only about 200,000 years old.

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      • jbp says:

        NZ,

        I was probably a little cryptic with my remark about definitions, but the point is that those people were our ancestors. Evolution is a gradual changing. Nobody flipped a switch and said “let there be anatomically modern humans.” The people who existed 210,000 years ago were very similar to the people who existed 190,000 years ago. And indeed, if they were building hearths 300,000 years ago, they were behaviorally closer to modern humans than apes. And they were our ancestors. So in the context of our discussion, this point is irrelevant.

        The exact point that we can be called homo sapiens doesn’t change that we evolved from hunters.

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      • NZ says:

        @jbp:

        You have to keep in mind that there isn’t a single lineage from early hominins to modern humans. Our ancestors from >200,000 years ago produced cousin species that died out later and/or were subsumed into the human genetic pool (e.g. Homo Neanderthalis).

        So, some of the traits that a newspaper article tells you existed among humans were actually those of other non-ancestor hominins, and it may even have been our NOT having those traits that better positioned us for natural selection.

        And we likely evolved as scavengers first. See my rock-throwing theory above.

        The point of my bringing up the rock-throwing theory was that it’s a much bigger leap from primate knuckle-walking to bipedalism (of which rock-throwing is the first obvious payoff) than from rock-throwing to crafting hunting-grade weapons. Since more behavioral traits are hard-wired in during bigger leaps than during smaller ones, I was contesting the idea that women participated significantly in hunting (because they likely did not participate significantly in scavenging-by-rock-throwing), and thus that women likely relied on men to provide meat even while they were not pregnant.

        And, thus, that the hard-wired codependence Dianne Merriam wrote about is even stronger than she proposed.

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  3. Darson says:

    If men and women were alike, ONE of us would not be needed.

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    • Nonsumdignus says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Phil Persinger says:

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  4. Li Zhi says:

    There are so many problems with this show that there is no good place to start.
    There are no matriarchical societies. There is no clear evidence there ever were any matriarchical societies. Speaking about crime, the assumption seems to have been made that enforcement as well as the statutes are gender neutral. There are a dozen other issues I have with the show. And this is supposedly one of the more popular episodes?? Wow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equal opportunity [as long as it doesn't require surgery (which is a whole other subject)]. I am curious about one thing, as it happens…there are a lot more female senior citizens than male…yet the show claims that men have more leisure time? Does that add up? Or do we have to be selective in who we count?

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  5. NZ says:

    If women today are less happy it’s because Feminism and the sexual revolution has totally screwed them over. Women used to give away sex only in exchange for marriage (lifelong support and protection, not to mention assistance raising the resultant babies) or, in the case of a small few, for money. Think of it as a cartel on access to the vagina, and it benefited women enormously.

    Now, most women give sex away for free, and those who don’t get skipped over easily. It’s never been a better time to be a guy looking to get laid, but it’s never been a worse time to be a woman facing the old ticking clock. Add to this the fact that many have gone into careers and been too busy to settle down throught their peak childbearing years.

    Of course, most women will never realize that Feminism and the sexual revolution have any role in any of this. Men will be blamed instead. Men don’t mind though, because they know the prescribed solution will be more casual sex and less traditional marriage.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 22
    • Frank says:

      last time I looked alpha males attracted the lion’s share of attractive females – while low pay low education low skill low status males typically failed to attract any

      conversely the fecund young low status female easily moves up the status chart – and can be jumped from slum poverty if attractive enough (Wendy Deng anyone ?), while high achiever females typically have trouble finding suitable males who are ‘above’ them on the status chart

      so winners are hot males and females – while low achiever males and high achiever females tend to have trouble finding a suitable mate …

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      • NZ says:

        I’ve said this before: the Evil Old Patriarchy primarily benefited women and beta men at the expense of alpha men. The New Feminist Utopia of Autonomy and Self-Determination primarily benefits alpha men at the expense of everyone else.

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    • dmol says:

      So many words used, yet nothing of merit was provided.

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    • Udon Nomaneim says:

      Everything doesn’t revolve around sex and babies, though .__.
      You need so much more to be happy.

      I’d side with Ray at this point: yesterday’s women couldn’t expect much from life, so they settled with what they got. Today’s women want more, and they should!

      I’d add that serfs are believed to have been relatively stress-free, along with other lowest-members of any cast system, because they knew what their life was gonna be like. As far as serfs are concerned, they even had heaven waiting for them after a shitty life! Yay!

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      • NZ says:

        My point was that yesterday’s women COULD expect much from life, since plenty of women back then accomplished great things (I listed a few of the most notable). The key difference was that most of yesterday’s women were happy with their CHOSEN expectations of being wives and mothers. Today, women are told that this choice is defeatist and that those expectations are inferior.

        Serfs, by contrast, had no choice.

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    • Nonsumdignus says:

      Women’s roles as wives and mothers were not freely chosen, in many cases at least. They were determined by biology and lack of birth control and the female status of being property of their fathers and then their husbands. It is wonderful now that beating women, although it still happens, is a crime; it used to be part of a husband’s rights. It is also good that wives can say “no” to sex if they wish; they used to not have that right and a husband could force her without repercussion.

      We have a vestige of this in the traditional wedding in which the father “gives” the bride to her husband. No one gave away the man because he was never property. Until recently, when a woman married, she lost control of any money or property she had–control of it went to the husband.

      Feminism has totally NOT screwed me over. Because of it, I can now buy a house/car/property without a male cosigner. I can work at a career earning money, which allows me to control my own fate rather than being completely dependent on the goodwill of another for my survival. I could control if and when I had children, either with medication or surgery and do it without having to have “permission” from someone.

      I can be identified as a person with a name, eg “Jane Doe” rather than “Mrs John Doe”, or even not change my last name if I do not want to do so.

      Women do have stress, though, because they are still carrying a larger amount of the activities of daily living in addition to working outside the home, though there has been some improvement.

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      • NZ says:

        @Nonsumdignus:

        Where’s your evidence that any significant portion of women in the past became wives and mothers by force? With this and other statements, you are perpetuating myths:

        - If women were property, why did the bride’s father pay a dowry to the groom’s family instead of the other way around? Why does the father of the bride still traditionally pay for the wedding, when all the groom’s family pays for is the rehearsal dinner?

        - Most men throughout history were extremely poor. If women were property, how could so many men afford wives?

        - If you had the right to beat your husband or force him into sex, would you exercise it regularly–keeping in mind that you had to spend the next day with him, not to mention rest of your life? If not, why do you paint a picture of typical wives of the past walking around with black eyes and rape trauma?

        - You can buy a house. Great. So could unmarried women in the past.

        - You can keep your maiden name. Fine. But do you deny the beauty of the act of devotion of a woman taking her husband’s name? Don’t you see the strangeness of marrying someone (i.e. combining your individualities into one entity for the purposes of starting a nuclear family unit) only to keep your identities separate?

        - You still can’t control when you have children: you pretty much have to have them by the time you’re in your 40s, otherwise you’re looking at a lot of expensive fertility treatment and much higher rates of birth defects and pregnancy complications. Plus, the older you get the harder it will be to attract a guy who wants to make you the mother of his children. You’ll run into what I call the “Liz Lemon syndrome”. (Or if you prefer, “The Mindy Project” also deals with that same issue.)

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      • Enter your name... says:

        > – You can buy a house. Great. So could unmarried women in the past.

        Actually, NZ, your claim is false. In some places, such as pre-Christian Ireland, women were not allowed to own land, full stop. In others, they could buy land, but could not inherit it. This was the case in England (unless there were no possible male heirs) until 1910, aka the year that the imprisoned suffragettes’ hunger strikes forced some changes to how female prisoners were treated.

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      • NZ says:

        @Enter your name…

        It’s possible to find all kinds of examples of various of institutions that were oppressive to one group or another, but it doesn’t make them relevant to a discussion about OUR society’s history. In the United States–the country in which the latter waves of the Feminist movement started–women could buy houses.

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  6. Man says:

    I think a better question may be, “should we root for men to commit LESS crimes?”

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  7. Men make up the bulk of the homeless population. Men are more likely to die from heart attacks and violence. Men rarely receive custody of their children in court disputes. Men make up the majority of the prison population. Men die disproportionately to women in war. Men work more hours over their lifetimes than women.

    Society expects way too much from men. The chimera of equality would mean even more ugliness. But really the only equality women want is financial. If that comes to pass, which it won’t, women would finally be satisfied and we’d have nirvana.

    So, let’s get to some honesty in this navel gazing and discuss what’s really possible instead of the feminized complaint machine dictating the terms of conversation.

    Women and men aren’t going to ever be “equal” in any matter. Women should be told–just as men are told–to keep their noses to the grindstone and stop asking for stuff not afforded any other group (even though there are no groups as those are manufactured by the left and college prof’s).

    Finally, if women really seek equality, they’ll push to repeal Affirmative Action. Without full exposure to competition in a capitalist and merit-based economy, women will remain suspect in the professional non-female dominated workplace, even if they can outsmart, outwork and outdo men on a level playing field.

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    • NZ says:

      I agree with the gist of this, but I have disagreements with a few specific points:

      -Society doesn’t expect too much of men; men should be expected to get honest jobs, get married, and support their wives and children. Currently this expectation is diminished, with disastrous consequences.

      -Women (well, feminists anyway) have made it clear that they don’t really know what kind of equality they want. Give them financial equality, and some other kind of equality is demanded. Grant that equality, and then it’s another one, and so on. They will never “finally be satisfied”. That’s the whole point, I think.

      -Women are indeed the main benefactors of Affirmative Action, and it’s good that someone pointed this out. The problems with Affirmative Action are even broader than what you’ve described, though. For example, imagine how many women are quota-hires. That is therefore the number of men who have lost out on a job–men who then cannot provide for their own families, while many of the women who usurped them will work fewer hours, take months or even years off for maternity leave (while having their positions guaranteed to be waiting for them), and may eventually leave the workforce altogether, only to be replaced by other quota-hired women. (In other words, the women who DID get those jobs aren’t commonly providing for their families either–many of them may in fact have husbands who do most of the providing!)

      The basis of society is the nuclear family, but it can’t work if we try to rewrite the gender roles according to what you correctly imply is a false doctrine of equality. Non-destructive exceptions to the rule should be tolerated, but in general, nuclear families function best when men earn money and act as the main authority while women keep house and tend to the kids.

      It’s a basic economic principle called comparative advantage, which many economists (and laypeople who claim to be interested in economics) seem to selectively forget.

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      • James says:

        “The basis of society is the nuclear family…”

        Only if you’re so ignorant that you really believe that all of history & culture was exactly like ’50s America. In fact, outside of that highly artifical culture, the stereotypical “Father Knows Best” nuclear family was a rare thing, as it still is in many parts of the world. People lived in clans & extended families, with several generations living together.

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      • NZ says:

        Sure, James. Let me rephrase:

        The basis of OUR society is the nuclear family.

        Maybe you want to live in a different society, or you’re sick of the one we’ve built and are eager to do away with it. That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but it’s helpful if we keep terms clear.

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      • James says:

        Sorry, but unless you’re still living in the 1950s, the nuclear family is emphatically not the basis of society. Quite apart from the sizeable numbers of people who are quite stable/happy/successful despite not living in nuclear families, only a modest fraction of society has anything at all to do with families of any sort.

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      • NZ says:

        James, you’re right so long as you don’t stop to think about it at all.

        First, consider that most personality and cognitive traits, or at least the most important ones like intelligence, are half genetically determined. Genetics you to both your parents. You + both your parents = the nuclear family.

        But then consider the other half of this determination: nurture. The single most influential stretch of nurture in most people’s lives is the household in which they spend the bulk of their first most formative two decades. The research on the effects of intact vs. fractured nuclear families on the outcome of this nurture is vast and well-known.

        Since adults do not spontaneously materialize out into the world but rather enter it after being raised in their parents’ households, they carry with them the combination of these nature and nurture effects. These impact much of everything the adult then does as an adult. A society’s traits thus will resemble those of the bulk of its families. This has to do with everything from how well governments function to the efficiency and productivity of markets. You cannot separate the quality of society from the quality of the nuclear family any more than you can separate the quality of lumber from the quality of trees.

        Regarding your ad hominem comment, I wasn’t alive during the 1950s (or 60s, or 70s), so I can’t still be living in them. Never having lived in the 1950s, I have no opinion on whether it would be desirable to, and you’ll notice I have made no claim to that effect. I do know that during the 1950s intact nuclear families were a much more common feature of our society, and the benefits of this were readily beheld.

        It is interesting, though, that any time someone talks about the importance of intact nuclear families (a rather non-controversial line of reasoning, considering the ample evidence for it) a critic invariably sneers “You’re still living in the 1950s,” as if the 1950s were the most dystopian and backward period in the history of the universe. No support is given to why the 1950s ought to be held in condescension.

        By the way, another feature of arguments against mine on this thread, I’ve noticed, is latent but fanatical
        materialism. The concern is only on what is tangible in the pocket. Nonsumdignus, for instance, cares only that she is able to buy a house and not be pressured to change her legal name. You seem to care only about the way the surface of the adult world looks (sure, your parents aren’t physically there with you at your job or at the grocery store). But the truth is that the legacy of your nuclear family IS there, in immaterial but no less real ways. The impact of your family choices are also there–immaterial and material–in not only your immediate interactions but in the indirect consequences that domino forth across your community and your culture.

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      • James says:

        I think you’re the one who’s not really thinking about things. Start with genetics: sure, there’s an egg and a sperm, but those don’t have to come from people who spend the rest of their lives forming a nuclear family, and in reality they frequently haven’t. Remember what Homer said: “It is a wise child that knows his own father.” (And on a personal note, might explain why I’m a tall green-eyed blond while the rest of my nuclear family are shorter, and have brown eyes & hair.)

        As for the nurture half, you’re still using the ’50s “Father Knows Best” stereotype. Not all nuclear families are like that, nor were they in the real ’50s. (I was around then.) When Mom’s an abusive shrew who takes out her resentments over being forced into marriage instead of a career on everyone around her, and Dad’s mostly out getting drunk… Well, maybe some of that IS reflected in society, but I can’t really see it as a benefit. If there was a legacy, I think I’ve finally overcome it.

        As for you living (mentally) in the 1950s, not a problem. I spend a lot of my time in the 17th and 18th centuries, culturally, and mostly work a couple of decades in the future.

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      • NZ says:

        @James:

        The vast majority of nuclear families consist of two parents and their children. Children raised by neither biological parent are quite uncommon, and children raised by only one biological parent for reasons besides the death of the other one were also quite uncommon until recently. (And again, the long-term outcomes of this are well known to tend towards devastating.)

        Of course not all families fit the ideal in the 1950s. For all I know, a majority did not. However, the reason people like to sneer at the 1950s is NOT because it failed to live up to the ideal (what decade doesn’t?), but because it had such an ideal at all.

        The “Father knows best” ideal, after all, contains hierarchy and authority, and what could be worse than everyone not being a special Equal snowflake whose enlightened, liberated, autonomous, independent self-determination should be held above criticism no matter what it yields?

        I don’t live in the 1950s or any other previous decade mentally. You brought up the 1950s, not me. Now that I think of it, you’re also the one who brought up the 17th an 18th centuries. Living in the past seems almost an obsession among those who are quickest to accuse others of living in the past.

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      • James says:

        “The vast majority of nuclear families consist of two parents and their children.”

        Sorry, but ALL nuclear families consist of two parents (and these days I suppose we have to specify one male, one female) and their children, BY DEFINITION. Therefore, I would argue (though I don’t know of any actual compiled data) that most people in most societies throughout history (and today) don’t live in nuclear families, and most children aren’t raised in them. The nuclear family is basically an artifact of the industrial revolution.

        The supposed devastating long-term outcomes of growing up in a non-nuclear family are strongly associated with single parenthood and the associated poverty. But the same effects are seen in poor nuclear families. Raising kids well takes more resources than one or two people usually can provide.

        As for your hierarchy and authority, what are they worth when they’re conferred by the accident of having a Y chromosome, not earned by any sort of merit?

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      • NZ says:

        @James:

        I think most people do live in nuclear families through their formative years. I don’t know why you’d say they don’t. I suppose the qualifier here is “at least” their nuclear families? But living with your mom and dad and then your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins is very different from living with just one parent and your siblings.

        People have often been poor, but only when single parenthood became so widespread did we start to see all the associated problems become so widespread as well. That’s a big part of what Charles Murray wrote about in “Coming Apart.”

        Much in this world is conferred by accident of birth, but that doesn’t make it worthless, or even worth less. Our evolutionary heritage, which includes distinct gender roles and emergent hierarchy, exists precisely because it has been, and continues to be, worthwhile.

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    • Nonsumdignus says:

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    • Sarah says:

      “Finally, if women really seek equality, they’ll push to repeal Affirmative Action. Without full exposure to competition in a capitalist and merit-based economy, women will remain suspect in the professional non-female dominated workplace, even if they can outsmart, outwork and outdo men on a level playing field.”

      This has got to be one of the most ignorant posts I’ve seen. If women WERE actually being exposed in a real “capitalist and merit-based economy” then when I went to the police to report the terroristic threats made against me by a former employer those fat old boys would have arrested him. After playing the recording of said threats those worthless fat old cops did nothing. The worst companies by far are those with the Good Ol’ Christian patriarchal business plan.

      Treat your female employees like crap, harass them when they complain, pay them less than an unqualified male, then wonder why they sue you or leave. Or BOTH. Gee, if there were anything in this country that was actually merit-based and run on a true capitalist model as you falsely proclaim it to be then women wouldn’t be working toward extending the language Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 to allow women to act against an employer paying them less than a male coworker.

      The reality for women is very ugly indeed when boys continue to live in fantasies at our expense, and the expense of real progress. There are petitions now working to overturn any pointless privacy of listing salaries or sharing hourly wages with coworkers so women can sue before their 180 days is up. Not only that, but it’s absurd to hide what people make anymore. If anything it will force management to actually justify giving a boy a raise when women earn raises they are passed over for repeatedly because the boy in question is a “good buddy” without having to actually justify his raise.

      I’ve gone to a supervisor every four months and when the performance review is due. If they tell me no at the four month mark without even considering a raise, I cut back on productivity, find another job and leave. Why waste my time and skillset working for or with those who don’t value me? Perhaps that’s the question women should be asking the most. I’ve presented the facts that prove as a productive worker I should get X amount for a raise and when I’m laughed at I go work for a competitor and then the whiny male manager (good old sexism) is annoyed I left.

      I know what I’m worth and it’s the same as a male employee and in some cases more. If you refuse to provide equal opportunity there is a consequence for it. You’ll lose business since women make and influence 85% of ALL purchasing decisions. I refuse to shop at companies that discriminate against women and the Hobby Lobby in my city is now financially hurting. Boys discriminate and make weak excuses for their behavior every single time while complaining about the consequences of their actions. Women weren’t allowed to enlist and many who did fight as spies were not honored in this country’s history by the way. When people are denied opportunity and equality then society hurts as a whole and progress is slowed to a crawl.

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  8. Obi says:

    I always find it interesting that when someone claims a behavior is more nurture than nature the intellectual curiosity stops right there. No one ever questions where nurture came from. Is it random? Is it a product of nature both in terms of our natural environment and genetics? Is it a product neither randomness nor nature, a something else we have yet to identify?

    I mean coming upon a society of pigmy people with a cultural difference that was somehow related to their lack of size doesn’t immediately tell me height was a product nurture. It is still nature driving nurture. In the same vein finding a matriarchal society (a rarity) where women behaved more like men doesn’t tell me they do so because of some nebulous cultural influence. The more likely explanation is that the women of that society are simply and naturally more like men. Gender exists on a continuum and manifests probabilistically, you would expect cultural pockets where by mere happenstance the women there will all cluster around the male end of the continuum. The culture would then follow from that outlying nature.

    But seriously though where is it that we believe nurture originates from that makes us so confidence to not even consider ever posing the question?

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    • NZ says:

      Well said. And to look at it the other way using a computing analogy, you can program whatever software you want, but it will always have hardware requirements.

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