Sunday, 28 April 2013

What does a big brain mean?

On Saturday 27th April 2013 in the Mail Online Professor Richard Lynn said ”Men are more intelligent than women which is why in some areas men will always achieve more” You can read it here.

He quotes Baroness Greenfield asking the question why there are only 10% of science professors.  He argues that women don’t have and will never have a high enough IQ to be top science professors at an equal 50:50 ratio.  His conclusion is women will get there but a smaller percentage. 

As you can imagine, I disagree.  But why do I disagree?

It’s a fact, women’s brains are different from men’s. 
It’s a fact, men have higher IQ’s than women.  And here’s the thing.  We measure IQ according to male criteria.  They measure reasoning, problem-solving, spatial ability, general knowledge and memory. He agrees women outperform men in verbal reasoning.  Perhaps the IQ test needs to be more balanced across all intelligence.  And there are different tests so I’m not sure how much I trust his data.

I would argue we don’t want to be clones of men at the top of the tree – we want to be equals with a separate and different voice.  Baroness Greenfield argues that you can’t trap in DNA, if you are good or bad at science.  Surely intelligence is also about your curiosity, your ability to communicate across disciplines and so many other factors other than good general knowledge and memory.

As women have more connections between the two sides of the brain and men show tunnel vision in the brain – it is important the two types of brain work together in a modern world. 

I believe the reason we need women at the top is to create a better and stronger team.  There is an argument that the banking crisis occurred because there were too many male led boards, taking risks and not challenging the direction at the time.  Women’s verbal reasoning surely will be useful in similar circumstances. 

This old argument of our brains are different doesn’t stick any more.  Yes we’re different but it’s that very difference that is the reason more women need to be at the top of politics, business, science and technology.

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