This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Are Women Smarter Than Men? Essay

3568 words - 15 pages

Yes, men's and women's brains are different. But new research upends the old myths about who's good at what. A tour of the ever changing brain

There was something self-destructive about Harvard University President Larry Summers' speech on gender disparities . In his first sentence, he said his goal was "provocation" (rarely a wise strategy at a diversity conference). He called for "rigorous and careful" thinking to explain the gender gap among top-tier tenured science professors. But he described his pet theory with something less than prudence. The most likely explanations, he said, are that 1) women are just not so interested as men in making the sacrifices ...view middle of the document...

Thanks to new brain-imaging technology, we know there are indeed real differences between the male and the female brain, more differences than we would have imagined a decade ago. "The brain is a sex organ," says Sandra Witelson, a neuroscientist who became famous in the 1990s for her study of Albert Einstein's brain. "In the last dozen years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of studies that have found differences in the brain. It's very exciting."

But that's just the beginning of the conversation. It turns out that many of those differences don't seem to change our behavior. Others do--in ways we might not expect. Some of the most dramatic differences are not just in our brains but also in our eyes, noses and ears--which feed information to our brains. Still, almost none of those differences are static. The brain is constantly changing in response to hormones, encouragement, practice, diet and drugs. Brain patterns fluctuate within the same person, in fact, depending on age and time of day. So while Summers was also right that more men than women make up the extreme high--and low--scorers in science and math tests, it's absurd to conclude that the difference is primarily because of biology--or environment. The two interact from the time of conception, which only makes life more interesting.

Any simplistic theory is "doomed to fail," says Yu Xie, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan. Xie's research on women in the sciences was cited by Summers in his statement, and Xie has spent every day since trying to explain the intricacy of human behavior to reporters. "I don't exclude biology as an explanation," he says. "But I know biological factors would not play a role unless they interacted with social conditions."

Unless one appreciates that complexity, it would be all too easy to look at the latest research on the brain and conclude, say, that men may not in fact make the best university presidents. For example, studies show that men are slightly more likely to say things without realizing how their actions will affect others. And as men age, they tend to lose more tissue from a part of the brain located just behind the forehead that concerns itself with consequences and self-control. Generally speaking, the brain of a female is more interlinked and--if one assumes that a basic requirement of the post is to avoid dividing the faculty into two sweaty mobs--may be better suited for the kind of cautious diplomacy required of a high-profile university leader. Of course, to borrow a line from Summers, "I would prefer to believe otherwise."

Now that scientists are finally starting to map the brain with some accuracy, the challenge is figuring out what to do with that knowledge. The possibilities for applying it to the classroom, workplace and doctor's office are tantalizing. "If something is genetic, it means it must be biological. If we can...

Other Essays Like Are Women Smarter Than Men?

Men and Women Are so Different When Shopping

581 words - 3 pages Men and Women are so Different when Shopping M. Vanessa Millan INFO 103: Computer Literacy I Shane Lauber July 16, 2012 Searching for information on Google is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Is that true? Was the library of the 19th century more efficient? Explain. I will disagree on the fact that searching for information on Google is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I will sustain my disagreement, because if

Gap In Gender Pay: Why Men Make More Money Than Women

1290 words - 6 pages Introduction:Although women are steadily making their mark in the business world and heading major corporations, the question remains, are they still earning less than their male counterparts? Throughout time there has been a definite difference between men and women and their median income. This wage gap cuts across a wide spectrum of occupations. However, in 1963 the Equal Pay Act was signed making it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages

Why Are Women in Most Countries Now Having Fewer Than Two Children on Average?

1296 words - 6 pages Essay Question 1: Why are women in most countries now having fewer than two children on average? “People will always want to have children” – Winston Churchill and Konrad Adenauer The above mentioned famous words were unquestioned until today when more than half of the world population has fertility below replacement level, i.e. less than two surviving children per woman (Wilson, 2004). Based on the recent developments, we can expect that

Argumentative Paper About Women And How They Are Claimed To Be A Weaker Sex Than That Of Males

1202 words - 5 pages are able to rise above her. Many women are as capable if not more capable than some men for certain jobs. Yet these women are overlooked for their male counterparts. Women do not get paid as much as men and they do not get the career opportunities that men get. A woman holding the same position as a man can get paid up to 20% less than her male counterpart. The glass-ceiling is very present in most big businesses in the United States today.The


717 words - 3 pages actually larger in proportion to their bodies than men's” (148). The anatomists then claim that since women are closer to the children whose heads are also proportions larger to their body size; they do not grow completely yet as children. The women also have their heads which are proportions larger to their body size. Since the children's intellectual capacities are inferior to men, which also make the women mentally inferior. Then the anatomists

Reflection paper on gender

414 words - 2 pages well as men, or whether or not women are as smart as men comes up a lot in discussions about gender and you showed us some of these examples. In my opinion anyone can do anything they set their minds to whether they be male or female. It is obvious that men and women are different physically, but I don't believe there is scientific evidence that says men are smarter or more superior than women in anyway.This image of women being inferior is slowly

Dogs Versus Cats : Which to Choose?

518 words - 3 pages In my opinion dogs are better than cats. I will tell you of why in my opinion dogs are better than cats. I will tell you some disadvantages of having a dog. Also, I will tell you some disadvantages of having a cat.One advantage of having a dog is that they are smarter than cats. Dogs are smarter because if someone is breaking into your house, a dog will protect you. As of a cat, it would probably just watch the intruder or go back to sleep

Ethnic Groups and Discrimination

1035 words - 5 pages over their own lives than do the members of a dominant or majority group. Women are a subordinate gender group because they experience prejudice and discrimination based solely on their gender (Race and Ethnic Groups, 2006). Discrimination is defined as “the denial of opportunities and equal rights to individuals and groups because of prejudice or for other arbitrary reasons” (Race and Ethnic Groups, 2006). I experienced discrimination

assess sociological explanations of gender differences in the patterns of crime

628 words - 3 pages Official statistics show that men are the likely suspect to a crime rather than women, as the figures show that 4 out of 5 offenders are men. Also by the age of 40 about 32% of men commit supposed to only 9% of women. Not only do the figures differ between men and women the crimes they commit are also different, as men commit more serious crimes (i.e. assault, murder and rape) whereas women commit minor crimes (i.e. shoplifting, pick pocketing

The Differences Between Men and Women

574 words - 3 pages important in men's lives than in women's. For example, men would not take care of their children more then women do. They usually don’t cry easily and they more often judge by using their mind and the intellectual sense. Furthermore, men are different from women in interest. For example, men like having sport cars. They like hard sport based on their abilities, and they do take care of their jobs and try to collect money as could as they can. As a

The Truth Between the Lies

1280 words - 6 pages (Ericsson, 169). If the U.S would have considered the warnings and taken the necessary precautions instead of ignoring the plain facts then perhaps they could have avoided the attack. Likewise, people who believe that black men are dangerous, or women belong only at home haven’t considered any alternatives. They haven’t gone and explored for themselves or even questioned the ideas proposed to them. This is often the case with racism and sexism

Related Papers

Women Are Better Parents Than Men

925 words - 4 pages Women are better parents than men, discuss. Do you know the word ‘family’ came from these words ‘Father And Mother I Love You’? A family consist of a father and mother; one who begets or one who gives birth to or nurtures and raises a child are what we call parents, parents could also refers to a relative who plays the role of guardian. So, women - by nature, they have feminine qualities for nurturing children. As such, they are found

Women And Men Are Born Not Raised

1908 words - 8 pages Women and Men are made not born. Debate. Human differentiation on the basis of gender is a phenomenon that affects every aspect of person’s daily life. Women and Men are neither born nor raised, but instead are a complex tangle of biology and sociology. Firstly, the term ‘gender’ refers to the socially constructed categories of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ and the attributes and behaviours that are assigned to the categories by

Why Women Earn Less Than Men In Oced Countries

3491 words - 14 pages equality for men and women, such as the Equal Pay Act in 1963 in the US, or the article 119 of the EEC treaty. Nonetheless, women continue to earn less than men in all OECD countries. There are different ways of measuring this. Comparing annual or monthly earnings shows the difference between what both sexes “take home”, which is interesting from a sociological perspective. However we shall focus on the “gender pay gap”, defined as the “the

Is Jealousy Different For Men Than For Women?

1976 words - 8 pages logical inferences men and women conclude about the extent sexual infidelity implies the emotional infidelity or how emotional infidelity implies sexual infidelity. This idea is supported by research conduct by Harris and Christenfeld (1996) and DeSteno and Salovey (1996) that think people men are more likely than women to have sex in the absence of an emotional attachment but think that men are less likely than women to form an emotional attachment in