What comes to your mind when you are asked to draw a scientist in the primary school? Most people draw something like a man clad in a white lab coat. How many of us care to consider a woman for the same drawing? It’s a wonder how we tend not to notice the way the world treats women in general seeing as it happens around us all the time.
Women and Society
Women in careers tend to face glass ceilings. But women these days are finding ways of liberation. Back in the 70s when hip hop started, it was a way for the various mass of lower classes to voice their opinions. The same is being applied now….only on a different aspect. In the Arab countries, hip hop by female rappers is what is helping them in their race against discrimination. It is widely becoming a tool for their voice to reach out to the world. Their subjects vary from something as simple and common as society to things as grave as corruption seeping into the community in the form of prostitution. Islam was once a great seat of learning for women. Women were not only treated with respect, the various scholars of Islam were as highly educated as their male counterparts. The same just needs to come back in today’s world. This applies not only to religions though. Most African countries have a law stating the man to be the head of the house. One such country tried to change the law by incorporating the clause that made women the joint head of the house. What resulted was a total dismissal of the government by the president overnight. Is this what society has come to down to?
Genetics and Hereditary
We know that the male and female brain have different structures and certain parts of the brain may be more developed in males than in females and vice versa. A typical example is the fact that many women find it more difficult to park a car and calculate small spaces. The reason for this is lack of visual spatial skills is because the area responsible for this in the brain is absent or underdeveloped in females. Males on the other hand, have fewer nerve connections between the left hemisphere and right brain hemisphere, the corpus callosum. This area is responsible for communication and language and the lack of nerve connections in males explains why males are frequently not as good as females in communication skills and language acquisition.
Is Intelligence Genetic?
The genetic DNA testing for predisposition field for various diseases or traits (see example) is constantly to identify those genes which could be linked to intelligence. Studies have unfortunately proved rather inconclusive and there has been nothing close to identification of “intelligent genes” in the human genome. Estimates and studies have shown that only around 1% of genes can actually be linked to intelligence. This would suggest that much of our intelligence is due to environmental circumstances such as educational opportunities. Moreover, there has been no study that has shown either males or females to be “more intelligent”. Structural brain variations can be linked to different abilities in the sexes but not to intelligence per se. Scientists and psychologists consider intelligence to be too complex a concept as it can entail anything from pragmatic intelligence to academic intelligence to musical intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence to just mention a few. Generally children follow the footsteps of their parents; if they become doctor’s just like one of their parents or simply go on to further their studies, it is not because of the genes they have inherited or of a specific genetic mutation, it is simply because children often grow up to ape that which their parents do.
In the recent years, it is heartening to see various prominent female figures taking the reins of the world into their own hands. Examples are as varied as Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook to Benazir Bhutto, one of the most powerful political figures in today’s world. Sandberg, a mother of two is the first female in the Board of Director of Facebook with 2 degrees from Harvard and a pioneer representing achievement who steered the internet giant through its 100 billion dollar revenue mark.
The most basic thing worth considering in the long run is female education at the root level. It helps in the increase in health awareness for the girl, her children and the society on a wide scale. Not only that, a very interesting piece of statistics has shown that women invest more of their income in their family than their male counterparts. In this respect, various renowned institutions around the world are taking the initiatives for ending discrimination against women in education. One of the most notable examples includes “United Nation’s Girls Education Initiative”, launched in 2000. Its primary aims are gender equality and providing primary education to every boy and girl by 2015.Grants for minority business owners are another initiative for helping every woman stand for herself. The Women’s Empowerment Principles set by the UN are further helping with the establishment of a firm ground for a workplace aiming towards gender equality.
But no matter what, at the end of the day, it falls upon us as responsible citizens, to help the society reach its maximum growth potential. And that is possible only through the equalization of opportunities available to both the genders.
Articles by the author can be found on many blogs and info sites, including the article knowledge base for easyDNA Ireland. Karl M McDonald currently lives in West Sussex, UK with his wife, kids and 2 dogs.