Gender Thinking

“Men and women are like two feet. We need each other to get ahead. But we did not evolve to have the same brain. And we’re finding more and more gender differences in the brain. One of them is women’s verbal ability. Women can talk.

Women’s ability to find the right word rapidly, basic articulation goes up in the middle of the menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels peak. But even at menstruation, they’re better than the average man. They’ve been doing it for a million years; words were women’s tools. They held that baby in front of their face, educating it with words. And, indeed, they’re becoming a very powerful force.

Today 54 percent of people who are writers in America are women. It’s one of many characteristics that women have that they will bring into the job market. They’ve got incredible people skills, negotiating skills. They’re highly imaginative. We now know the brain circuitry of imagination, of long-term planning. They tend to be web thinkers. Because the female parts of the brain are better connected, they tend to collect more pieces of data when they think, put them into more complex patterns, see more options and outcomes. They tend to be contextual, holistic thinkers, what I call web thinkers.

Men tend to — and these are averages —  get rid of what they regard as extraneous, focus on what they do, and move in a more step-by-step thinking pattern. When the male brain works well, it works extremely well. They’re both perfectly good ways of thinking. We need both.” – Helen Fisher


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