For all of the completely necessary and appropriate changes in gender rights over the past century, there remain some differences between men and women. In this case, we are truly using the word “different” to mean
“not completely alike” not, “one is better than the other”. “Better” is a word that is completely meaningless out of context, and often completely irrelevant in context as well. There is no good moral argument that men and women shouldn’t have equal opportunities, and it is in that spirit that we can hopefully discuss the differences between men and women without offending. Furthermore, anytime I attribute an attribute or tendency to one of the sexes, I am doing so in a completely generalized way. Of course, not all men are the same and not all women are the same. We are looking for very broad and general terms that do not apply to everyone.
No one can really dispute that men and women can perform virtually all jobs to the same degree of success. The differences between men and women in the workplace are not a matter of results, but a matter of process. For instance, women, in general, are more conservative with their risk taking in certain ventures. The recent recession was caused, in some degree by the aggressive and dangerous risk taking done by the financial industry, which is almost exclusively populated with men at the top levels. Not only are men more prone to aggressive risk taking, this situation is aggravated in competitive, high pressure social situations. This sort of peer pressure heightens the competitive instinct in men and further increases their risk taking. Women, in general, are less likely to be affected by such competition, or, in fact, do the opposite, and become conservative in balance.
Probably the biggest of the differences between men and women is in the treatment they receive from society. Whether it is the workplace, school, or socially, men and women are treated completely different, sometimes obviously, and sometimes much more subtly. You can see these differences between men and women in the classroom, specifically, math class. Ignoring already that society tends to assume that women aren’t as good at math, there are more problems as well. Men (again, in general) tend to hide their inability to problem solve and do it anyway; in other words, they fake it. Eventually, some learn it and some don’t, though more often then not, they do learn it. Women, on the other hand, don’t bluff in this way. When they see that other people are getting it, instead of pretending they do as well (until they actually understand), they assume something is “wrong with them” or that they aren’t “any good”. This difference means that many women give up math before really finding out how good they might be.