Is it possible to write a book which is very firmly based on sociological data but still happens to be a real page-turner? Susan Pinker manages to do just that.
Why is it that women, who tend to do at least as well as men at university, still seem to be stuck when it comes to reach the highest levels of organisational hierarchies? Considering a plethora of gender-specific aspects of our workplaces, the book boils down to a reason deeply entrenched within women and/or our working cultures: whereas men tend to get happier as they move up the ladder, women don´t. This can in principle have two reasons. On the one hand, women have broader aims in life, being less inclined to push private interests and obligations aside in order to reach the top levels. On the other hand, women didn´t “sit on the table” 200 years ago, when the ground rules of our modern work culture have been set, which gave men a head start ever since.
Susan Pinker concludes with an important point to policymakers, which is often forgotten in the highly emotional debate about gender topics on the labour market: equality of opportunity does not lead to equality of outcome. The aim can and should not be to have a 50/50 gender distribution in all subjects from engineering to nursing, these inequalities can be signs of an enlightened society, in which individuals can make their own decisions. So, the page-turner is also a real eye-opener.