Oh goodness do I hope this comes out right. I really don’t want to misrepresent what I’m thinking and end up offending people.
I can be a pretty harsh critic when I want to be. (Good way to start because I can only offend myself and this likely isn’t surprising to anyone who has spent more than 20 minutes with me.) I like to think that I’m getting better at letting things go, but considering where my baseline was set it may be a little while before I’m at a point that could be considered socially acceptable.
That being said, the one thing that I just can’t shake is poor logic. Especially when it’s someone who is publicly talking out of both sides of their mouth, which I guess is why I have such a love/hate relationship with politics.
The reason for the hesitation at the beginning of this post is that I think I have a sound argument about how logic was misapplied in a situation, but the argument is related to a contentious subject and I don’t want to appear to be criticizing the conclusion itself. Only how it was reached in this particular situation.
Just to get it out there, the point that was being made is that women shouldn’t be underrepresented in leadership positions WHICH I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH. There is no good reason the numbers are where they are and only an idiot would argue with the hard facts, which are clearly out there.
Now that you know my unwavering stance, please don’t tar and feather me. This is only a criticism of an individual and how they reached that conclusion.
I was listening to the radio and the guest on the show was a researcher who was speaking about his body of work, which consisted of comparing school grades of boys and girls as far back as about 50 years. In his study the evidence is clear that girls outperform boys in school.
I haven’t seen the study, but that’s ok. I take his word for it.
He then went on to draw the conclusion that it’s clear that women should be at least equal to men in terms of leadership positions and the fact that they’re not is because men control the “entire system,” which I would concede that there is truth to that statement. I do think, however, he didn’t do a good job of linking his research to his conclusion.
Here is what I would like to have heard about:
First, and what is likely the most fundamental thing, is that there should be mention of a proven correlation between a successful leader and good grades. Controlling the study shouldn’t be hard, just separate the data by gender. Are the females with better grades more likely to become leaders? The males?
Without that link then they are just two sets of data that only have one proven thing in common: They compare genders. That’s like saying that on average girls get better grades than boys, which explains why more women than men are capable of childbirth. Both are factually true, but not necessarily related.
What bothers me even more is that “the system” is to blame for women being underrepresented in leadership roles, but is completely omitted as a possible explanation as to why girls outperform boys in school.
I’m not saying this in order to detract from the accomplishments of girls in school, nor men in leadership positions. All of the above have had to work to accomplish what they have, by-in-large. It may also be worth mentioning that so far my life has charted as being pretty typical of an average female. I did well in grade school and am definitely not in a leadership position.
It may be worth exploring the idea that as much business may be an old boys club, maybe education is a young girls club? Considering the influence of women in education, who make up the majority of teachers and the large majority of early years teachers (where a student’s relationship with the school system is established) there is likely a case that as much as women in later years are inhibited the system, boys are in the early years.
All of this to say that the systems need to change. The same way that a woman should never be told that men make better leaders, boys should not be constantly reminded that girls are better students. We should acknowledge that there are different styles of both leaders and students, none better than the other, and it’s these differences that makes working together (at school or in an office) worthwhile.
So to reiterate:
Women underrepresented in leadership – BAD
Boys being told they’re not smart – BAD
Sloppy or outright deceiving research – VERY BAD
Just in case I haven’t said it enough, I hope that I’m not coming off as some sort of misogynist. If you look at the women I have had the good fortune of dating and/or have had friendships with, you can definitely see I’m a big fan of strong women.
All that being said, I know that I have no right determining how people react to this and if there is something overtly offensive I want to know and apologize in advance.