OxBlog

Saturday, July 07, 2007

# Posted 8:15 AM by Taylor Owen  

THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT: FT, on the new Harvard boss, and gender. Of course.
Ms Faust said that leadership experts contend that the female management style, thought to be more collegial and involve more consensus-building, is particularly suited to running an educational institution. Her predecessor, Lawrence Summers, the former US Treasury secretary, resigned as Harvard president amid tensions with faculty over his sometimes blunt style and accusations that he had made comments questioning whether there are innate differences in intelligence between men and women.
I was directed to this wondrous quote, by the uncannily apt-at-identifying-mind-alteringly-absurd-statements, Andrew Potter. Who concludes, as only one could:
In other words: Larry Summers wasn't particularly suited to be president because he suggested that there were innate differences between men and women; Ms Faust is more suited to be president because... there are innate differences between men and women.

Amazing.
Indeed.

I should just add that I also believed Summers' comment was, ahem, ill advised. Not because he questioned innate differences between the sexes. I would not be tremendously surprised if science reveals that there are. Rather, it was his insinuation that this may have something to do with there being fewer tenured female scientists that was ridiculous. A position that would require completely ignoring the far greater influence, in this case, of nurture over nature.

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IIRC, Summers was talking about tenured female scientists at Harvard. Which is to say, making up numbers here, 100 of the top 1000 scientists in the world. Given a tiny innate male advantage in math/science, at the extreme end of the bell curve that's going to express as a huge disproportion. In terms of sex ratios, if there is any innate difference, your Harvard faculty in the subject is going to look like prison, another area where innate differences show up big time at the extremes.

Making up numbers again, if innate differences would indicate 505,000 male scientists out of 1 million, that "edge" would give you something like 900 males scientists out of 1000 at the top. Nurture, culture etc. may play a role in why, say, the Central State science faculty is male-dominated--there your "average" scientists aren't going to show nearly as much disparity.

(Comment removed, edited, reposted.
 
And where does Faust say that management styles are innate?
 
Blar, where does the post show Ms. Faust says that management styles are innate? All three I see in reference to Summers or Faust are presented as either implications of inferences. Actually the first one about Summers actually indicates his comment was presented as an inquiry, perhaps rhetorically.
 
... implications or inferences ....

Sorry.
 
Consider this cross-cultural study of forward thinking societies,

http://future.iftf.org/2007/07/forward-thinkin.html

then cross-examine the front-runners (Singapore, Sweden, Netherlands, Malaysia) with domestic indicators of liberty/emancipation,

http://first.sipri.org/index.php?page=step3&compact=true

Brief observation reveals several key elements within these innovative and highly competitive states:
1) Educational opportunity for women
2) Relatively low corruption
3) Mandatory military service or male dominated enlistment
4) Above average religious influence on state and institutional bodies, expressed as discursive patriarchal limitations on normalized 'democratic liberties'

I would propose that women in management, being 'superior consensus builders' , represent a subtle yet powerful departure from
traditional patriarchal systems that operate along the lines of confrontational resistance to power structures, including: armed resistance, organized strikes, and investigative journalism. Instead, women choose to thrive in the close-knit familial arrangements of corporate and medical fields, even now establishing a power arrangement circumventing established systems of male dominance, by appealing to those systems of greater basic human importance (law, medicine, communication). By utilizing an aggregate of superior tertiary educational achievement vs. age, combined with a trend of collapsing nepotism/patriarchy (read - corruption), women gain an advantage backed by results. In today's neoliberal push towards globalization, results prevail over rhetoric. Men may prevail in the eternal poker game of political gesturing and military maneuvering, but it is liberal woman, who the data supports in long-term humanist progress.
 
If I read Darhan correctly, societies where there are lots of women in business and government won't have labor strife or political strife: the workers and citizens will identify with management and the government and do as they are told. If that is forward-thinking, you can call me backward.

With respect to the original post, Prof. Althouse has pointed out frequently that it is perfectly permissible to say that there are innate differences between men and women as long as you indicate that the female characteristics are superior.
 
In response to anonymous,

I defer to Marx on the topic of labor and political strife. As long as global capitalism remains the dominant system, I'm sure these will remain significant issues.

I only suggest that we are seeing an alternate form of resistance emerge, as emancipated women transform historically regimented institutions into dynamic centers of progress and innovation. Think of it as a 'liberalization of human organization' if you will.

A good point though, on the taboo attached to expressing anything but pro-feminist opinion.
 
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The current race for the Democratic presidential nomination proves that women can be just as good, if not better, leaders than men. Hillary's performance thus far has surpased her fellow men's, proving just this point. Regardless, I would like to see all the candidates address the United States’ commitment to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, which call for cutting world hunger in half by 2015 and eliminating it altogether by 2025. Indeed, it is estimated that the expenditure of a mere $19 billion would eliminate starvation and malnutrition worldwide. In a time when the current defense budget is $522 billion, the goal of eradicating world hunger is clearly well within reach and it is my hope that whoever becomes president in 2008 addresses this pressing issue.
 
The problem with the Millenium plan is that the places which need it most don't qualify.
They need to show transparency and a minimal level of corruption.
Since the hungriest places can't do that, they lose.
Of course, sending them money means they lose, too.
IMO, we should send the cash direct to Switzerland.
 
I was born and bred a few miles from the Harvard Yard and spent 6 years as a student in Harvard. The idiocies that spring from that institution come as no surprise. Faust was elected because she would be a weak president under whom the deans and the poobahs will run wild with the universities enormous financial resources. Used to be a nice place to learn. David Kenney
 
"he had made comments questioning whether there are innate differences in intelligence between men and women."

The above quote means just the opposite of what I think the author wanted to say. If Summers was "questioning whether there are innate differences," then he was doubting that there are such differences. If that is true, then the whole Harvard kerfuffle was "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
 
I know one of the leaders of the march to the Harvard fainting couch.
Believe me, they were actively looking for occasions of offense.
 
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