The Gap

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I’ve always been puzzled by companies selling cars that could go 200 mph while there are not many roads in the world that are legal to drive beyond 85 mph. It felt like a secret pact made between the car industry and the government, setting a tax-collecting trap targeting and luring ordinary people. Some high-powered cars are capped at 250kph, so why don’t they simply cap it to country’s speed limit? A “Louis C.K. version” of the argument would be something like, “the only reason you’d be driving that fast is to run away from cops. That’s the only reason.”

This is probably a gap that everyone knows, but not a lot argue about.

Now, let’s talk about women and men. It’s a sensitive topic and I admit, I am not a woman, so I can’t say anything on their behalf. I do believe that the world will become a better place if we create more equal and fair working environment for any gender (or culture / ethnicity). It just feels like the right thing to do and pursue.

I do have one question: What is equal? Or more specifically, what is an effective way to create equality for each industry/job? Which jobs today are fair for both (or many) genders and which are not? I found this chart (Percentage of Women Workers, by Industry in 2010) on the Internet:

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It seems like certain jobs are less popular (or have higher barrier for entry) for women than others. Maybe certain jobs are getting more spotlight than the others in terms of gender equality. On the flip side, perhaps there is another chart of percentage of men workers by industry, and certain jobs would be less popular (or have higher barrier for entry) for men as well. Maybe men in those industries are struggling with equality issues that women don’t experience.

I think there is a gap between the idea of having equality and fairness for everyone versus the reality of certain jobs attracting (or deflecting) certain gender, and that gap is probably big. Since there is a different culture for every industry, some of them will be more favorable or harsh for different genders.

I do think people who want certain jobs and are qualified, should be given a fair chance regardless of their gender and backgrounds, but should those jobs and opportunities always be open with the same priority when the people who want those jobs are so few?

For example, let’s say there’s a certain job opening for 10 people in pharmaceutical business. 90 women apply and 10 men apply. Should the company hire 5 women and 5 men? or 9 women and 1 men? I am not so sure. Of course, I do value diversity (being a minority myself) and I think there might be some great articles with insights and data on this issue, so I’d love to learn more.

Also even more sensitive topic would be, considering a wide range of studies on the difference between male and female brains (not that one is better than the other, but different in characteristics), even though an individual can always be an outlier of the macro pattern and brains tend to have higher variances between people, would a certain industry or a profession have better gender-job fit? This kind of debate could easily get into the messy “which gender is better at X” discussion and hate speech, but I’m quite curious from academic perspective. Maybe there are people researching this, or maybe this is a taboo subject even in the academia. Again, I’d love to learn more.

I think simply saying “equal opportunity and fairness for all genders” is a great slogan but not really an effective action item for everyday decision making, so perhaps more actionable and specific guidelines for each job and industry would be helpful.

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