Glenn T. Stanton:
The Google guy behind the infamous gender memo, James Damore, is a troglodyte. An embarrassing, knuckle-dragging, flat-earther who is under the silly illusion that men and women have inherent differences. Google properly fired him for just being stupid. At least that’s the fashionable story.
But the truth is that it was Damore who got it right. (And his main concern was how to get more women working at Google, after all.)
Most of us know exactly why gender parity doesn’t exist in Silicon Valley. It’s not because they are consciously (or unconsciously) denying employment to women who are seeking jobs there. Actually, quite the opposite. It’s the fact that while women outpace men in college attendance today, those interested in STEM programs lag significantly behind. Other professions tend to interest them more. In fact, the annual U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index reported last year that enrollment among women in such programs declined from 2015 to 2016.
U.S. News reports that “Women may lag behind men in areas like engineering, for example, but they far outstrip men in earning biology degrees.” For instance, women make up 80 percent of the students enrolled in the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Wendy Williams, a professor in Cornell’s Department of Human Development, explains that “Women are choosing to do different things. Everyone doesn’t want to be an electrical engineer or to do computer science, and that’s not a failure or flaw.” Allowing women to choose what they want to do, without external and ideological pressure, is empowerment.
We know that men and women are hard-wired differently—not better, not worse—in part because of the breakthroughs in two very interesting fields of scientific inquiry: one is the hard science of neurobiology and the other is the softer science of cultural anthropology and evolutionary psychology. Let’s first examine the findings of neurobiology from the last two decades or so.
The Case from Neurobiology
Two of the earliest experts to write on this issue are the British team of geneticist Anne Moir and science journalist David Jessel in their groundbreaking book Brain Sex. Based on their own work and that of others, Moir and Jessel explain with equal parts boldness, clarity, and sureness:
… The truth is that virtually every professional scientist and researcher into the subject has concluded that the brains of men and women are different. … [T]he nature and cause of brain differences are now known beyond speculation, beyond prejudice, and beyond reasonable doubt.
Moir and Jessel anticipated the Google meltdown in this observation: “There has seldom been a greater divide between what intelligent, enlightened opinion presumes—that men and women have the same brain—and what sciences knows—that they do not.” Thus, “It is time to cease the vain contention that men and women are created the same. They were not and no amount of idealism or Utopian fantasy can alter that fact.”
This does not necessarily bode ill for women. Northwestern’s Alice Eagly is a feminist scholar emeritus and major contributor to the field of the social psychology of gender difference.