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Gender Differences: Biological Or Sociological - Essay Example

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Speaking at a conference in January 2005, Harvard University's president, Lawrence Summers re-opened the debate on gender differences when he said, " research in behavioural genetics is showing that things previously attributed to socialisation weren't due to socialisation after all"(AP, Guardian)…
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Gender Differences: Biological Or Sociological

Download file to see previous pages... 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 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 behaviour 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). ...
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. On the other hand, the 'nurture' viewpoint is that there are no fundamental biological differences between males and females and that the so-called differences are due to social factors like gender profiling and stereotypes. Diane Halpern, president of the American Psychological Association has stated that, "There aresizeable differences with respect to some cognitive abilities. Socialization practices are undoubtedly important, but there is also good evidence that biological sex differences play a role"(ESE). Thus the 'nature' stand gains some credibility.
Right at the outset, one has to admit that sex differences do exist. Apart from the obvious and purely physical differences are the ingrained genetic ones like being attracted to members of the opposite sex, as well as different levels of skills in various spheres of human endeavor. This in no way implies that women are in any manner inferior to men. In fact, there are many attributes in which women outperform men, e.g. in timed tests. Researchers at the Vanderbilt University found that, " males scored lower than females in all age groups in tests measuring processing speeds[but also that]males consistently outperformed females in some verbal abilities"(VUPR). Further research is planned since the researchers believe that there are, "different paths to competence, and we believe that there are fundamental differences in hoe male and female brains end up getting organized"(VUPR). The follow up studies include using tools such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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