Comparison is a thorny business, especially between dissimilar subjects. The hackneyed apples vs oranges debate is a prime example. Are apples better fruit because they are smooth, crisp, and sweet or do oranges win the match because their fragrance and flavor are redolent of sunshine and happiness? Exactly- the accuracy of that comparison is like the story of walking to school uphill both ways- a good yarn, but dubious at best, which is exactly the feeling I took away from Chapter 3 of Manning Up.
Hymowitz’s spends the first 25 pages of the 32 page chapter Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman stringing together gobs of cultural data to show that SYF (single young females) are more focused, more driven, more skilled, and more successful in the knowledge economy then their male age-mates. In the last seven pages, she does point out that it is mainly in careers such as design, fiction writing, journalism, public relations, marketing, event planning, and managing that women achieve such Promethean success. In passing, Hymowitz acknowledges that men outpace women in engineering, finance, IT, and medicine, but does not devote any time or page space to develop the point or discuss this interesting dichotomy.
A vigorous discussion on why men and women excel in different careers would have been fascinating, but we are left once again in the dark, ricocheting around another curve, not knowing precisely what Hymowitz is driving at. I’m tempted to skip to the end of the book to find out, but that ruins the fun. So fasten your seat belts and get ready to read Chapter 4: The Child-Man in the Promise Land.
If you are reading along with us, what did you think of the chapter? Are women outpacing men overall, or should it be viewed on a career-specific basis?