Susan Pinker is a psychologist and award-winning newspaper columnist who writes about social science and interpersonal issues in her column in the Globe and Mail. She has worked as a clinical psychologist for twenty-six years and has taught at the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at McGill University. She lives in Montreal with her husband and three children.
Why, according to 2003 figures, do women constitute 49% of law school graduates but only 27% of practicing lawyers? Defying taboos, Pinker, a psychologist and columnist for the Globe & Mail, presents a compelling case for a biological explanation of why men and women make different career choices. Drawing on comprehensive scientific and social evidence and case studies, she proposes that hormones are a determining factor. The hormones predominant in men lead to action, focus and, often, to competitive and rigidly hierarchical professions such as law. Women's hormones lead them to focus on empathy and social interaction, and careers as teachers or social workers. Thus, despite their early advantages-girls have better language skills and discipline, while boys are more prone to dyslexia, autism and Asperger syndrome and other difficulties-women tend not to seek out "the highest status or the most lucrative careers": They're reluctant to take jobs whose demands won't allow them the choice to focus on other aspects of their lives. Pinker says she isn't calling for a return to the 1950s housewife model. She emphasizes individual differences among men and women, but hopes that wider recognition of gender differences can lead to greater workplace flexibility and room for women's professional advancement on their own terms. She may draw a great deal of fire for this book, but her strong evidence could also open a better-informed discussion of the issues. B&w illus. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Psychologist and Globe and Mail columnist Pinker makes a well-constructed case for interpreting gender-based workplace trends through the lens of gender-based sex differences. Equally conversant in clinical psychology, neurobiology, linguistics, and social science, Pinker engineers this familiar dichotomy, proposing that gendered biological wiring-and not discrimination-is at the root of workplace inequities. She offers evidence showing young males to be more vulnerable than girls, right from frequency of premature birth to behavioral problems, ADHD, and chronic illness. So what happens later on? Why aren't women running more board meetings? Pinker likens men and women to two "software programs that run at different speeds," arguing that subsequent hormonal changes that females experience at puberty lead them along separate professional trajectories. Generalizations throughout the book weaken the credibility of her rigorous research, as when Pinker concludes a section on women opting out of high-powered business roles for more people-oriented jobs by asserting that women demonstrate "a capacity to be attuned to others," a tendency "that makes women feel pretty good." Recommended, with the above reservations, for all libraries as a good basis for continued consideration of the issues it raises.-Elizabeth Kennedy, Oakland, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"Presented with flair, sensitivity, and determination, Pinker's penetrating conclusions shed important new light on how gender differences affect every strata of contemporary existence." -- Booklist "Susan Pinker's The Sexual Paradox is meticulously researched, brilliantly argued and thoroughly persuasive. It moves the debate over sex differences to a new level of sophistication." -- Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys "The Sexual Paradox highlights some central puzzles about exceptional men and women. Why did Einstein never complete his PhD? Or Cavendish, Farraday, Darwin, and Bill Gates never complete their degrees or even drop out of university? And why do high-flying business women not behave like their male counterparts? Susan Pinker's wide-ranging look at the nature of the sexes is a highly readable and welcome contribution to this perennial debate." -- Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University, author of The Essential Difference "All these many years of running a business, I thought I was an anomaly. Susan Pinker's work has grounded my intuitions in reality: a woman's success is going to knock the spiritual stuffing right out of her if she tries to come at it from traditional angles. Instead she must invent a workplace that not only provides food for the table but gives social and emotional meaning to her life. Susan Pinker helps you understand that it's not you that's crazy, it's the system." -- Margot Franssen, social activist and co-founder of The Body Shop Canada "In this marvelous book, Susan Pinker presents a fascinating analysis of "the gender gap," introducing a continuous flow of exciting ideas and new insights into old problems and controversies. It's a pleasure to read a book that is so informative and entertaining about a complex topic that is rarely examined, as it is here, from all points of view." -- Ron Melzack, E.P. Taylor Professor Emeritus, in the Department of Psychology, McGill University "Pinker crafts a biologically based and sure-to-be-controversial examination of sex differences between "fragile men" and gifted women who opt out of successful careers. A valuable demonstration of how discounting biology during the last 40 years has done a disservice, especially to men." -- Kirkus "Fascinating, insightful and deeply captivating. Every thinking man and woman should read this book." -- Louann Brizendine, M.D., author of The Female Brain "Susan Pinker's "The Sexual Paradox" is meticulously researched, brilliantly argued and thoroughly persuasive. It moves the debate over sex differences to a new level of sophistication." -- Christina Hoff Sommers, author of "Who Stole Feminism?" and "The War Against Boys" ""The Sexual Paradox" highlights some central puzzles about exceptional men and women. Why did Einstein never complete his PhD? Or Cavendish, Farraday, Darwin, and Bill Gates never complete their degrees or even drop out of university? And why do high-flying business women not behave like their male counterparts? Susan Pinker's wide-ranging look at the nature of the sexes is a highly readable and welcome contribution to this perennial debate." -- Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University, author of "The Essential Difference"