Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality

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New Brunswick, NJ 2002 Hard cover New. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 288 p. Rutgers Series in Human Evolution.

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Overview


Does biology help explain why women, on average, earn less money than men? Is there any evolutionary basis for the scarcity of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies? According to Kingsley Browne, the answer may be yes.

Biology at Work brings an evolutionary perspective to bear on issues of women in the workplace: the "glass ceiling," the "gender gap" in pay, sexual harassment, and occupational segregation. While acknowledging the role of discrimination and sexist socialization, Browne suggests that until we factor real biological differences between men and women into the equation, the explanation remains incomplete.

Browne looks at behavioral differences between men and women as products of different evolutionary pressures facing them throughout human history. Womens biological investment in their offspring has led them to be on average more nurturing and risk averse, and to value relationships over competition. Men have been biologically rewarded, over human history, for displays of strength and skill, risk taking, and status acquisition. These behavioral differences have numerous workplace consequences. Not surprisingly, sex differences in the drive for status lead to sex differences in the achievement of status.

Browne argues that decision makers should recognize that policies based on the assumption of a single androgynous human nature are unlikely to be successful. Simply removing barriers to inequality will not achieve equality, as women and men typically value different things in the workplace and will make different workplace choices based on their different preferences.

Rather than simply putting forward the "nature" side of the debate, Browne suggests that dichotomies such as nature/nurture have impeded our understanding of the origins of human behavior. Through evolutionary biology we can understand not only how natural selection has created predispositions toward certain types of behavior but also how the social environment interacts with these predispositions to produce observed behavioral patterns.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813530536
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Series: Rutgers Series on Human Evolution
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Kingsley R. Browne is a professor of law at Wayne State University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
Pt. I How the Sexes Differ 11
2 Sex Differences in Temperament 13
3 Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities 25
Pt. II Women in the Workplace 33
4 Once One Breaks the Glass Ceiling, Does It Still Exist? 35
5 Occupational Segregation: Why Do Men Still Predominate in Scientific and Blue-Collar Jobs? 50
6 The Gender Gap in Compensation 68
Pt. III The Proximate and Ultimate Origins of Sex Differences 91
7 Why Socialization Is an Inadequate Explanation 93
8 Hormones: The Proximate Cause of Physical and Psychological Sexual Dimorphism 108
9 Evolutionary Theory and the Ultimate Cause of Biological Sex Differences 117
Pt. IV Public Policy and Sex Differences in Workplace Outcomes 131
10 Difference or Disadvantage? 133
11 A Thumb on the Scales: Changing the Rules to Improve the Numbers 142
12 Mitigating Work/Family Conflict 166
Pt. V Sex and the Workplace: Sexuality and Sexual Harassment 189
13 Sexual Harassment 191
14 Conclusion 215
Notes 219
Bibliography 233
Index 269
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