commentary by Roger Erickson
Do "males" vs "females" handle problems differently? If so, why? And what should we do about it?
This topic has come up again, in local discussions addressing the "fiscal cliff" idiocy - of all things. It's worth discussing, however, since it is another root of a situational awareness failure that affects ALL topics - not just "money," finance, budgets and economics.
My brief comment at the time was as follows.
"Simple biology. Females do far more of their work targeting developmental care, and support care - where mistakes are far more costly. Males do more of their work targeting adult-integration, where rampant selection markets apply, and mistakes are supposed to [be] made abundantly, frequently and quickly.
Mistakes during gestation or with newborns, or loss of women? Catastrophic.
Mistakes during hunting forays? Males are expendable."
For simplicity, let's leave aside the fact that there's more diversity within all biological categories than between their stereotypes, and instead just look at the context-dependent difference between those arbitrarily defined stereotypes. Even there, the author's question about women vs men isn't adequately phrased, because genders in a social species deal with every REAL context via teamwork. Who says diverse teammates are SUPPOSED to contribute to addressing group outcomes the same way?
Both mistakes & successes are simply changes in context, and swapping old options for a new set of options. Regardless of momentary judgements, the only relevant question is which of the NEW options to explore next, how soon, and how vigorously. Comebacks and novel paths are always possible, so it's only a question of QUICKLY analyzing ALL available feedback, and maintaining optimism vs pessimism.
Deeper point is that this is another educational example, of how we're grossly under-leveraging long available perspectives from our growing ranks of "professions" (not just genders, and not just in this particular research topic) - thereby leaving the bulk of us far too isolated from what is a VERY complex group situation. All data is meaningless without situational awareness, which today means full group-situational awareness.
The simplistic solution is Outcomes-Based Training & Education - but how do we do OBT&E on a NATIONAL scale? Eh? If that were easy, some culture would have done it. Hell. Let's be first!
Why not soon? To do that, we gotta ramp up the kinetics of both appreciating and then depreciating so-called "credentials" - which are only as useful as the last situation. Say, 5 minutes ago? Given our constantly expanding options, where's our joyfull sense of urgency, and our cheerful bias to action? Is that the biggest "mistake" we're ALL making ... together?
Who now - regardless of their placement in our biological "gender" distribution - is still afraid of the big, imaginary fiscal cliff? Note to nation: we got bigger/better/faster options to explore. If there are people with "credentials" in the way, they have to go ... pronto.