My eye was caught by a recent review of the psychological evidence re gender and aggression. Professor Mark van Vugt from the Institute for Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University, has reviewed all the psychological evidence and says the evidence is conclusive:
Male sex drive is at the root of most violence in the world; men are shaped by evolution to be aggressive towards ‘outsiders’. The tendency to violence is strengthened by natural selection.
Are Men Really More Violent?
It makes for hard reading. I have a son and husband who are not violent people, far from it. However, I have found myself thinking violent thoughts when one of my own has been threatened or hurt (but I have to say I have never actually hit anyone – just fantasised about it!) And if you’ve ever been in the car when someone cuts my daughter up block up your ears!
Yet the evidence is there and I know it from my work with professional women and my own experience. Generally speaking men are much more aggressive in the workplace than women and this quality is a valued one in business. We women, say the researchers, have evolved to resolve conflicts peacefully (don’t all shout “Margaret Thatcher – Falklands” at me, she was just one woman, statistically insignificant).
Says Professor van Vugt, “A solution to conflict…remains elusive. One reason for this may be the difficulty we have in changing our mindset which has evolved over thousands of years.”
I have a solution and I’m sure you can guess what it is!
Give women equal billing in the world. Have a more gender balanced approach to power, a true balance, and lets see what happens.
If this is of interest you may also like We Women Do Compete. And do let me know what you think; I love to hear your views.
Photo Credit: Kriss Szkurlatowski