How Men and Women Define Success

Psychologist Susan Pinker believes there are hard-wired differences in how men and women (on average) perceive happiness and success at work (“His Standards or Hers? How Men and Women Define Success”).

When I was in Amsterdam in 2008 to talk about my recently published book, The Sexual Paradox, I was interviewed by a senior editor of a major daily newspaper. She had reached the age when she was unlikely to have small children at home and as the executive editor of a major daily, she was at the pinnacle of her career. Despite this executive status, she worked part time and had always worked less than a full week. I asked why. “Wednesdays are for my family and friends,” she told me, “and Friday is piano day. Practicing the piano is essential to my happiness and I want to make sure I have time for it.”

I was stunned. Working full time—if not at least 60 hours a week—is de rigueur for professionals in North America. Not so in the Netherlands, where almost half of the population works fewer than 40 hours a week. This is especially true for Dutch women, over 76% of whom work part time. Legislation enacted in 2000 protects the jobs of anyone who wants to work part time in the Netherlands. If they move from full to part-time for any reason, they can neither be fired, nor refused benefits. Yet even if this arrangement is open to women and men alike, the number of women who take advantage of it eclipses the number of men. While three-quarters of all women in the Netherlands work part time—two-thirds of whom have no children at home—that figure is only one-quarter for men…

Let’s take Silicon Valley as an example. Extreme workaholism characterizes work in the high tech sector. “Working 18 hours a day. Every day. No vacations, no going on dates, no watching TV,” is how the Silicon Valley work ethic was described in the New York Times by Dan Lyons, one of its former denizens.2 No matter how much they might earn in IT, the evidence shows that the majority of educated women put a premium on other life priorities.3 But suggesting as much is to be vilified publicly and to commit professional suicide, as former Google software engineer James Damore discovered when his memo was leaked about why uneven sex ratios persist in Silicon Valley. Fifty years after the birth of second-wave feminism, it is still taboo to express the idea that many women find happiness and fulfillment in ways that might diverge from the male norm.

“Money is not the only thing affecting people’s happiness; it’s not remotely the whole story,” said British economist Baron Richard Layard in 2014. “People must understand that they would do well to preserve their human relationships; they should give them a higher priority than how much they earn.” As I point out in The Village Effect, this is more commonly a female perspective than a male-typical one.

Some triggered SJW needs to make a violent threat against the Intitute for Family Studies, so that they revoke this article’s publication.

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