The world’s greatest thinkers were asked ‘what have you changed your mind about?’ to mark the start of 2008 by Edge Foundation. Helena Cronin, a philosopher at the London School of Economics, confessed to changing her mind about why men are dominant in society. She used to think that patterns of sex difference arose from ‘average differences between men and women in innate talents, tastes and temperaments’ combined with prejudice and barriers such as lack of child-care and unequal pay.
Now she believes that it’s to do with the distribution of those talents, tastes and temperaments. She says, ‘Females are much of a muchness, clustering round the mean. But, among males, the variance — the difference between the most and the least, the best and the worst — can be vast. So males are almost bound to be over-represented both at the bottom and at the top. I think of this as 'more dumbbells but more Nobels'.’ Read her article to get her argument in full and the evidence she uses to support it. The problem, as she sees it, is not that women suffer from prejudice and barriers, but that evolution has determined that there are more outstanding men than there are women and so they naturally take their place at the top.