There are increasing numbers of articles pointing to the (lack of) assumed difference between male & female brains and this piece brings together a lot of interesting references. It also nicely emphasises the need to look at the mosaic of different features that we each bring.
That may go against some of our cultural norms but it's more than just a philosophy. I think that particular challenge is actually captured succinctly in this extract from a New Scientist article :
"Joel envisions a future in which individuals are not so routinely classified based on gender alone. “We separate girls and boys, men and women all the time,” she says. “It’s wrong, not just politically, but scientifically – everyone is different.”
But other scientists contacted by New Scientist don’t think that will ever be possible – as a sexually reproductive species, identifying a person’s biological sex will always be of paramount importance to us, they say."
So that makes me ask where are we going with talent & diversity in organisations?
Perhaps more importantly, are we using such insights and debates to inform our thinking and the future development of our organisations? How do we actually balance cultural values against scientific insights?
Important questions I think.
A new approach Perhaps the mounting evidence that brains can’t be neatly divided into sex-based groups will prompt a game-changing alteration in how we approach this issue.. What is really meant by a “sex difference”? Taken straightforwardly, one would assume a “difference” implies the two groups measured are distinct. That the characteristics true of one are almost always not true of the other, that it’s possible to predict characteristics based on sex or vice versa, or that knowing to which group an individual belonged would allow you to reliably predict their performance, responses, abilities and potential. But we now know that this simply doesn’t reflect reality.