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jimmydasaint

Are We Removing Womens' Rights by Having Separate Sports?

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I would think that the null hypothesis is that, excepting societal barriers, men and women will perform equally in all pursuits of academe, of business, and within society in general - has this been shown not to be the case? Is it ever possible to control for societal and cultural pressures and norms? What legitimacy does the opposing view have that is threatened by my pandering?

Actually, there are quite a few good reasons why women would be expected to not do as well as men in some of the fields you mentioned even without societal discrimination.

 

For one thing, fields like business and politics tend to reward traits like aggression, assertiveness, and confidence, all of which happen to be correlated with testosterone levels.

 

An even more significant factor that limits the number of women who will be highly successful is greater male variability. This phenomenon occurs across species in virtually all metrics. (The evolutionary reasons for this are fascinating. I'll explain in a footnote below.) It means that in traits like intelligence, males and females have virtually the same average but males have slightly higher variability. This means that males make up a greater share of those with well below average IQ's but also a greater share of those with well above average IQ's. The catch is that the relationship between ability and earnings makes this a pretty good deal for men. For example, you mentioned the field of academia. Academics tend to be much smarter than the average person, and because males are over-represented at both extremes of intelligence, they would be over-represented in fields that draw on those at the extremely high end of the intelligence spectrum (e.g math and science.)

 

Footnote:

Imagine generating a graph, where on the x-axis you put fitness in a given trait, like muscular strength or speed, and on the y-axis you put the average number of offspring for individuals with that level of fitness. If you were to generate such graphs for males and females in a given species, for most species you would get radically different graphs for a simple reason: in most species males compete for the right to mate with females, and not the other way around. This means that for females with extraordinarily low fitness, there would be few opportunities to mate, because the chance of surviving to would be effected extremely negatively. As females' fitness improved, we would expect the average number of offspring to improve, until the point where ill-fitness is no longer a determent to survival. However, since females are not competing for mates with each other, improved fitness beyond this point would not improve the average number of offspring by much more than the effect of slightly increased survival. Therefore, the graph of female fitness versus average number of offspring would be expected to be logarithmic, with fairly dramatic increases in the lower ranges and then a steady decrease in the slope. On the other hand if we imagine the graph for males of most species, we would again expect almost no offspring for the very unfit specimens, but as fitness improved, the number of mate would not improve very fast, as the relatively unfit males would still be heavily out-competed for mates by more fit males. Once we passed a certain point, we would expect the slope of the graph to increase drastically, as increasingly fit males out-compete less fit males by even more dramatic degrees. Therefore, we would expect the graph of male fitness versus average number of offspring to be exponential.

 

Now imagine you have a normally-distributed trait that benefits both males and females when its species-wide average increased. Intelligence is an example of such a trait. Imagine what happens to both sexes when you change the variability of the trait. For both sexes, if you increase the variability of the trait you are increasing both the number of well-below-average and well-above-average individuals. Consider the effect this would have on the number of offspring in the next generation. For females, when you increase the number of extremely unfit individuals, you do great harm to the number of offspring generated at the lower end of the spectrum, while at the higher end of the spectrum, increased fitness has little effect on the females' ability to produce offspring, so the upper end of the spectrum does not compensate for the loss at the bottom. For males, increasing variability has the exact opposite effect: the exponential gain in the upper end of the spectrum more than compensates for the increasingly insignificant differences between individuals at the lower end of the spectrum.

 

Therefore, it would seem that you could optimize the number of offspring by making variability for males high and low for females. As you might guess, this is exactly what nature has done. Not only is variability in many traits influences by sex hormones, but in many traits, in many species, when young are born, variability in most traits is relatively low. When males near sexual maturity and male sex hormone is released in vast quantities, male variability skyrockets. Indeed, this is what happens with IQ in humans. Throughout life, males and females have virtually the same average IQ scores. When young children's IQ's are tested, males and females also have virtually the same variability. However, when they hit puberty, the males' variability increases (a difference in spatial and verbal intelligence also develops, but that's not particularly relevant to this point).

 

Footnote to the footnote:

The process of the evolution of greater male variability actually had a greater effect on human evolution than on many other species. This is because of the way many primates mate: with a dominant male who virtually monopolizes mating opportunities until a new dominant male arrives. (It is so with many great apes, and it was also true that for most of human evolution, the most common "family structure" was a single male with multiple females.) Going back to the graphs in the previous footnote: this would have little effect on the female graph, but for the male graph the effect would be huge. For non-dominant males, mating opportunities would be extremely rare and so the average number of offspring would remain quite low, until we reached the point at which males would have a decent chance of being dominant, perhaps to standard deviations above the mean, at this point we would see and astronomical jump in the number of average offspring produced. Under such conditions, greater male variability was virtually guaranteed to evolve.

Edited by bob000555

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How could i possibly direct you to anything other than cod psychology? That's exactly what is used to support the notion that gender is entirely a social construct. Gender feminism being the lunatic fringe i mentioned.

 

Unless you mean you want to be directed to evidence of difference?

 

 

 

I don't disagree. Gender feminism is nevertheless still bullshit.

 

 

 

The opposing view would appear to be in fact your view, assuming that by 'not a straightforward proposition' you mean 'not very well supported by evidence'...

 

"it is not a straightforward proposition to say that men and women are entirely similar apart from societal barriers."

 

...it's just obfuscated by your pandering to gender feminism. Unless, that is, you are actually advocating gender feminism?

 

 

 

I just think your position is slanted. That is all i'm pointing out. I'm not asking you to be strident, just straightforward.

 

You're fighting strawmen here and I agree with the direction of your argument. However you wish to characterise this as a settled area with distinct answers - on that I disagree. There is no reason to be straightforward and treat this as a simple settled matter when it is still the subject of huge amounts of debate, research, and uncertaintu. Bob has introduced a great point about a differing variability around a similar average. His point on aggressiveness in business is also interesting, but is covered by the same variability that he mentions before (risk takers fill out both extremes).

 

 

Jimmy's initial point was "I would argue that women are badly under-represented in academic occupations, in government and in becoming CEO's of well-known companies - but that is a separate issue altogether, and deserves a separate post." I countered this by pointing out less socially desirable areas in which women are under-represented. Now - please tell me the straightforward reason for this. Please note that the simplistic "men and women are different" as a be all and end all is completely unsatisfactory. I don't think there is a straight-forward reason that we can properly claim to have an understanding of at present - we have a melange of the genetic variability factors Bob explained in his really good post, a structural and unthinking weighting for/against traits that are not equally developed between the sexes, deliberate and calculating discrimination, and a multitude of other features.

 

Actually, there are quite a few good reasons why women would be expected to not do as well as men in some of the fields you mentioned even without societal discrimination.

 

For one thing, fields like business and politics tend to reward traits like aggression, assertiveness, and confidence, all of which happen to be correlated with testosterone levels.

 

An even more significant factor that limits the number of women who will be highly successful is greater male variability. This phenomenon occurs across species in virtually all metrics. (The evolutionary reasons for this are fascinating. I'll explain in a footnote below.) It means that in traits like intelligence, males and females have virtually the same average but males have slightly higher variability. This means that males make up a greater share of those with well below average IQ's but also a greater share of those with well above average IQ's. The catch is that the relationship between ability and earnings makes this a pretty good deal for men. For example, you mentioned the field of academia. Academics tend to be much smarter than the average person, and because males are over-represented at both extremes of intelligence, they would be over-represented in fields that draw on those at the extremely high end of the intelligence spectrum (e.g math and science.)

 

 

../ foot note read - but snipped for ease of viewing

Great stuff - and appreciate the footnote. Not sure about the lack of societal structure and discrimination in either business or politics, but I get the point

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