Women Are Not Men (Ep. 116)
Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast is called “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 here; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)
As Stephen Dubner says:
DUBNER: 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. … We’re not trying to start any arguments. We’re just trying to look at the data that show differences between men and women to figure out why those differences exist, and how meaningful they are.
The first story you’ll hear is about the gender gap among editors of the world’s biggest encyclopedia. Bourree Lam (the editor of this blog) looks at why only 16% of Wikipedia’s editors are female — which is puzzling in that women outnumber men on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even in online games.
Next, you’ll hear about female-male differences in competition. Economist Uri Gneezy and a group of researchers got to study competition in the Masai tribe in Tanzania (which is extremely patriarchal) and the Khasi tribe in India (one of the world’s few matrilineal societies). When it comes to competition, Gneezy says, nurture is key:
GNEEZY: 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 is not a big surprise, but the other factor, the culture can be so big that it can just overturn the results.
(It’s worth noting that Gneezy and John List have a book coming out this fall, which includes a chapter on the Khasi and the Masai; Steve Levitt is writing the foreword.)
Next, you’ll hear from economist Betsey Stevenson about the female happiness paradox — that is, why is it that women’s happiness is in decline even as they are earning more money and gaining more opportunities.
Finally, Steve Levitt and sociologist Jennifer Schwartz talk about one of the biggest gender gaps out there: crime. Leave it to Freakonomics to wonder: if you’re rooting for women and men to become totally and completely equal, should you root for women to commit more crimes?