You will prepare and submit a term paper on Gender Differences: Biological or Sociological. Your paper should be a minimum of 1250 words in length. Although many people were aghast that a leading academician should make such a politically sensitive and incorrect statement, it is equally true that the career paths of men and women differ significantly, and that these differences are not restricted to science alone. These differences are aggravated by the fact that “women also tend to receive less compensation than their male counterparts, advance within the organization at a slower rate, and generally interrupt their professional careers in order to devote time to raising a family” (Gupton & Slick, 1996). It is also believed that women have different leadership styles due, “women’s interests in personal contacts, drive to achieve interpersonal harmony, and their tendency to work and play in egalitarian teams versus men’s sensitivity to social dominance and their need to achieve a rank in real or perceived hierarchies”(EPAA). But whether this difference is biological or sociological remains to be proved.
To address some of these issues, Harvard University’s ‘Mind, Brain Behaviour (MBB) Initiative held a discussion on sex differences between men and women and how these could affect career choices. The MBB debate on ‘The Science of Gender and Science’ was “ …on research on mind, brain, and behavior that may be relevant o gender disparities in the sciences, including the studies of bias, discrimination and innate and acquired differences between the sexes”(ESE). The discussion threw up some interesting points and while many facts and figures were quoted, the interpretations differed, leaving the field wide open.
On a purely psychological level, there are two ways to explain basic gender differences, namely the ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ viewpoints. At the extreme ends of these viewpoints, the ‘nature’ position is that males have certain innate talents and characteristics that make them more suitable for certain types of work.