After four decades of eradicating gender barriers at work and in public life, why do men still dominate business, politics and the most highly paid jobs? Why do high-achieving women opt out of successful careers? Psychologist Susan Pinker explores the illuminating answers to these questions in her groundbreaking first book.
In The Sexual Paradox, Susan Pinker takes a hard look at how fundamental sex differences continue to play out in the workplace. By comparing the lives of fragile boys and promising girls, Pinker turns several assumptions upside down: that the sexes are biologically equivalent; that smarts are all it takes to succeed; that men and women have identical goals.
If most children with problems are boys, then why do many of them as adults overcome early obstacles while rafts of competent, even gifted women choose jobs that pay less or decide to opt out at pivotal moments in their careers? Weaving interviews with men and women into the most recent discoveries in psychology, neuroscience and economics, Pinker walks the reader through these minefields: Are men the more fragile sex? Which sex is the happiest at work? What does neuroscience tell us about ambition? Why do some male school drop-outs earn more than the bright, motivated girls who sat beside them in third grade?
Pinker argues that men and women are not clones, and that gender discrimination is just one part of the persistent gender gap. A work world that is satisfying to us all will recognize sex differences, not ignore them or insist that we all be the same.
Susan Pinker is a developmental psychologist and journalist who writes about interpersonal and ethical issues in the workplace in her Problem Solving column in the Globe and Mail. She has worked as a clinical psychologist for twenty-five years and has taught at the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University. She lives in Montreal with her husband and three children.
"Fascinating, insightful and deeply captivating. Every thinking man and woman should read this book."
–Louann Brizendine, M.D., author of The Female Brain
"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
"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. … 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."