Men are from Mars, Women Venus? Well not really.
We often get caught up in gross generalities because it makes our world easier to manage. If I can categorize someone, then I can figure out how to respond quickly without thinking. Our brains do this to save precious energy (brains are energy expensive).
It’s therefore efficient to categorize work according to gender. It smooths things out, makes it easy to decide who should do what.
But it’s costly in our more complex, knowledge rich world. When we categorize what people can do based on gender, our decisions are less effective. For example, a manager has three candidates, all equally capable, but doesn’t choose the woman because she has three young kids. The manager is making a decision based on an assumption: she can’t handle it right now. But does the manager know? Why not just ask the woman?
Yet when we peel back the layers, we find that the gender differences are actually not that big. Think of it as two parallel bell curves overlapping. At the edges, yes the differences are wide – from here we get the stereotypes. But most of us are in the middle. And in the middle, the differences between two people are much wider than the differences between genders.
Be careful of these gender studies. They are often based on pseudo-science. Want more debunking? Check out the Top 10 Myths About the Brain
It’s maybe efficient to divide the world by gender but it ain’t very effective.