„Wie Frauen und Männer Erfolg definieren“

Susan Pinker, die mit dem Buch „Sexual Paradox“ bereits einiges zum Thema geschrieben hat, hat sich in einem Artikel damit beschäftigt, dass man bestimmte Bewertungen eines „erfolgreichen Lebens“ vornimmt, die für den einzelnen gar nicht dem entsprechen, was er will.

When I was in Amsterdam in 2008 to talk about my recently published book, The Sexual Paradox, I was interviewed by a senior editor of a major daily newspaper. She had reached the age when she was unlikely to have small children at home and as the executive editor of a major daily, she was at the pinnacle of her career. Despite this executive status, she worked part time and had always worked less than a full week. I asked why. „Wednesdays are for my family and friends,“ she told me, „and Friday is piano day. Practicing the piano is essential to my happiness and I want to make sure I have time for it.“

Das ist eine Sache, die beim Gender Pay Gap immer wieder zu kurz kommt: Wer andere Sachen als Karriere priorisiert, der kann das ganze bewußt machen, weil ihm sein Leben so besser gefällt und mehr Geld oder mehr Status seine Zufriedenheit nicht erhöhen.

I was stunned. Working full time—if not at least 60 hours a week—is de rigueur for professionals in North America. Not so in the Netherlands, where almost half of the population works fewer than 40 hours a week. This is especially true for Dutch women, over 76% of whom work part time. Legislation enacted in 2000 protects the jobs of anyone who wants to work part time in the Netherlands. If they move from full to part-time for any reason, they can neither be fired, nor refused benefits. Yet even if this arrangement is open to women and men alike, the number of women who take advantage of it eclipses the number of men. While three-quarters of all women in the Netherlands work part time—two-thirds of whom have no children at home—that figure is only one-quarter for men.1

It is one of the most egalitarian societies in Europe, yet most Dutch women want something different of their working schedules than most Dutch men. The assumption that women would always choose what men choose—if it weren’t for the social and cultural forces holding them back—is a presumption I question in The Sexual Paradox. Nine years after its publication and 50 years after the sexual revolution of the 1970s, I’m wondering what has changed. Do we still expect the majority of women to adopt male-determined goals as their own? Or do most women in industrialized nations have something else in mind when they make life decisions?

Das ist eine interessante Frage, wenn aber unvollständig: Denn wenn man soziale und kulturelle Faktoren weg denkt, dann würden vielleicht beide Geschlechter sich anders verhalten. Aber in der Tat ist die Annahme, dass Männer den Standard bilden und das ein Abweichen davon Diskriminierung ist, bereits in ihren Grundannahmen fehlerhaft.

We should look at other measures of success aside from the male-typical indices of sheer earnings and positions of power when we consider what women want.

Man sollte allgemein überprüfen, ob andere Faktoren neben Geld und Status wichtig sind, das ist nämlich für Männer und Frauen der Fall. Es haben ja auch gerade nicht alle Männer ihre Berufe auf Geld und Status optimiert, nur eben deutlich mehr als Frauen.

I propose that we look at other measures of success aside from the male-typical indices of sheer earnings and positions of power when we consider what women want. Astronomical salaries and C-suite positions are grand if those are one’s life goals. But what if other values are front-and-center for many women? What if we shift our lens from money to measures of personal happiness, feelings of belonging, personal health, and the health and well-being of children?

When we do that it, becomes clear that women in many industrialized nations are still stymied—not necessarily by the patriarchy—but by the expectation that they should „lean in,“ and always choose what a man would, whether it’s a STEM career or the number of hours one wants to consecrate to it.

Es wäre in der Tat begrüßenswert sich von dieser Idee zu verabschieden und schlicht auch zusätzliche Faktoren einzubeziehen.

Let’s take Silicon Valley as an example. Extreme workaholism characterizes work in the high tech sector. „Working 18 hours a day. Every day. No vacations, no going on dates, no watching TV,“ is how the Silicon Valley work ethic was described in the New York Times by Dan Lyons, one of its former denizens.2 No matter how much they might earn in IT, the evidence shows that the majority of educated women put a premium on other life priorities.3 But suggesting as much is to be vilified publicly and to commit professional suicide, as former Google software engineer James Damore discovered when his memo was leaked about why uneven sex ratios persist in Silicon Valley. Fifty years after the birth of second-wave feminism, it is still taboo to express the idea that many women find happiness and fulfillment in ways that might diverge from the male norm.

„Die Männer sind die Norm und deswegen werden Frauen abgewertet“ und „Frauen machen andere Sachen glücklich als Männer und deswegen wählen sie auch andere Berufe“ ist etwas, was im Feminismus selten gemeinsam diskutiert wird. Und wenn dann mit dem Umweg, dass sie dann dennoch das gleiche verdienen müssten, sonst wäre es Seximus

This is an aspirational view. Though gender discrimination does exist and shouldn’t be allowed to persist in a just society, the idea that we are all fungible is not supported by the weight of the evidence. Indeed, the latest scientific data tell us that there are powerful group distinctions between most women and most men, ranging from greater propensities toward overt aggression, zero-sum-game competitiveness, autism, alcoholism and suicide (men), versus covert aggression, wider interests, and a greater propensity to depression and PTSD (women).11 Given the choice, not many people would opt for the other sex’s frailties.

Auch das kommt gerne zu kurz: Frauen wollen sich nicht wie Männer verhalten und Männer nicht wie Frauen. Das deutet darauf hin, dass beide Seiten sich in ihrer Grundsätzlichen Identität wohl fühlen

And these biologically influenced differences help to form distinct life goals and preferences, among the rank and file, as well as among stratospheric achievers. A 2014 study on the careers of 1,600 intellectually gifted 13-year-olds—identified in the 1970s as being in the top 1% of mathematical ability—found that there were many similarities between the adult men and women when the researchers followed up on them four decades later. But there were also some fascinating and important differences. The gifted men were more likely to have gravitated to IT, STEM, and CEO positions. The gifted women were more likely to have chosen careers in health, education, business, finance, medicine, and law. (Only in a world that values men’s choices more than it does women’s would working as a physician, behavioral scientist or a judge be considered a less worthwhile endeavor than working in tech).

In addition to the type of career this gifted cohort chose, there were also remarkable sex differences in values that affected what type of work people wanted to do and how much time they wanted to devote to it. Overall, men as a group valued full-time work, making an impact, and earning a high income, whereas women as a group more often valued part-time work, along with the time for close relationships, family and community involvement. Gifted men devoted 11 more hours to work per week, for the last 15 years than did women, even when both worked full time. If they had their druthers, 30% of the women but just 7% of the men wanted to work less than full time at their ideal job, a finding echoed by other studies of educated women and men working in top drawer careers.12

Da bespricht sie diese Studie, die ich auch immer wieder gerne zitiere:

Mathematisch hochbegabte Männern und Frauen und ihre Leben

„Both men and women overwhelmingly considered their families to be more important than their work and careers,” write the authors, Camilla Benbow, David Lubinski, and Harrison Kells, but:

[M]en, on average, were more concerned with being successful in their work and feeling that society should invest in them because their ideas are better than most people’s, whereas women felt more strongly that no one should be without life’s necessities. Collectively, men were more focused on their personal advancement and on the creation of concrete products, whereas women were more interested in keeping society vibrant and healthy.13

Und das wirkt sich dann eben auch beim Lohn oder bei der Karriere aus.

In the face of data emerging from new technologies, genome studies, social neuroscience, animal studies and hormonal influences—which alter our brain architecture as much as they sculpt our bodies—denying the existence of any biological sex differences is tantamount to denying the existence of science. Moving from science to fashion and culture, if there were no differences between male and female, why would insisting that women act like men, indeed why would the fashion of cross-dressing persist and continue to engage us? Why adopt the habits of a different sex if they are no better or no different than another? When it comes to sex, a world without differences is not only a fiction. It is a more intolerant, unhappy—and ultimately a less democratic place.

Wichtige Punkte aus meiner Sicht.