When Larry Summers noted the real-world discrepancies between men women in math and the sciences, he was pilloried by the Leftists in the MSM, who took offense at his assertion that the differences do exist. The most easily excitable ones immediately interpreted his comments to mean that he thought women were dumb.
Well, now some research has indicated that perhaps women simply don’t like the subject as much, which Larry never disputed:
The women in the study opted out of a math tournament more often than the men did, despite the fact that many of the women performed the problems better or equally well. By declining the chance to compete, the women also turned down a shot at higher pay.
Most men, even those who performed poorly, chose to compete.
Wow, what a shocker! Men like to compete, and competition helps hone skills. Who’da thunk?
The real surprise, though, was that the New York Times saw fit to publish a commentary on the study. But, of course, the Gray Lady, like most Leftist outfits, abhors competition, and the inherent risks in it. So it opted for this sop to its Leftist fanbase:
The women in the experiment who didn’t want to bother with a five-minute tournament are not likely to relish spending 16 hours a day on a Wall Street trading floor. It’s not fair to deny women a chance at those jobs, but it’s not realistic to expect that they’ll seek them in the same numbers that men will.
For two decades, academics crusading for equality in the workplace have been puzzled by surveys showing that women are at least as satisfied with their jobs and their pay as men are. This is known as “the paradox of the contented female worker.”
But maybe it’s not such a paradox after all. Maybe women, like the ones who shunned the experimental tournament, know they could make more money in some jobs but also know they wouldn’t enjoy competing for it as much as their male rivals. They realize, better than men, that in life there’s a lot more at stake than money.
I wonder if John Tierney has ever tried living a full social life without money. The fact of the matter is that men, in their social role as providers, are going to be more about the money than women. What this means is that money isn’t as big a priority for women (although the things that money can buy are) as it is for men.
But, if not money, what will men compete with each other for? Men are biologically programmed to compete, so compete they will. And in the end, on a primal level, it’s about competing for women; or, more specifically, about competing for the chance to mate and thereby pass genes on to the next generation. As men make millions of sperm all the time, they are more wont to cast their seed far and wide. Similarly, as women make very few eggs, they are in the biological role of being the chooser, and ultimately nurturer, which doesn’t assign as high a priority to competition.
Of course, most of us learned about this difference between boys and girls even before we entered puberty. Some of us have fought against the roles; some of us have sought to straddle both roles. But few of us deny that these roles exist, or that they are rooted in both our biological and social evolutions.
For such a Leftist rag, you’d think that the Gray Lady would be more appreciative of the biological fact of sex.
By the way, the Calico Cat figured all along that there was more to Larry’s remarks than the MSM were giving him credit for:
You will also notice that he is trying to spin his remarks as meaning “I don’t really know if innate differences cause men to be better at math, but I’m just saying that it should be investigated.” However, he knows that it’s a politically incorrect statement, he would never have said unless he really was already convinced.
My conclusion is that Lawrence Summers is personally familiar with research studies in this area, and he has drawn his own conclusion that they prove that there are innate differences between men and women related to mathematical ability.
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]