Are men scientifically tougher than women

Christian Albrechts University in Kiel

Women, especially mothers, have learned to master a multitude of tasks with confidence. You are a pack animal and a psychologist in one. You are educated, qualified, ambitious. But the Club of Brothers in Solidarity prevents them from pursuing their careers - they simply skip the competition.

Do men need better protection? In any case, the young liberals are against a quota for women (Photo: picture-alliance / dpa / dp)

You will have to get used to it, ”says the gentleman next to me on the evening flight to Düsseldorf, half to me, half in his newspaper. I growled and nodded slightly, signaling my approval. Get used to what "Captain Nicole Brackmann and her crew give you a warm welcome?" A woman! A woman flies us! This is how you think about a female pilot.

Who cares about a pilot? Apparently women here do not enjoy the trust that men have in them. Is it just the unusual? Or is it deeper? What do you not trust them to do? That they don't flip the toggle switches powerfully enough? That they don't turn the elevator around decisively enough? That they fly a few additional holding loops just to have fun with Freud?

No, of course we know that men can only throw their maximum strength into the scales, but that women are otherwise more fully equipped in terms of developmental history. But that doesn't particularly irritate the ruling men's club, especially not when it comes to filling management positions.

Ridicule as a means of discipline

Again a question of trust: men as managers have a great deal of trust from the outset, regardless of the performance they achieve with their team. Women are only accepted with good results. Women have to prove themselves first before they can be recognized. A man is fit for his job until he has proven himself unfit. A woman is unfit for her job until she has proven herself fit.

It is therefore still considerably more risky and therefore requires more explanation to turn a woman into a manager, and even more: to prefer her to a man. Anyone who chooses a woman as a manager takes on greater responsibility. If I recommend a woman to fill a board position, the justification effort increases by a factor of ten. Once enthroned, it is twice as difficult for them. They are under greater pressure to provide evidence than men. In business they have to be the better men - and then they are accused of masculinizing.

Since women can no longer be beaten back to the stove today, mockery is the best means of discipline: if she is quick-witted, she has hair on her teeth; if she shows her feelings, she is a crybaby; if she controls herself, she is an iceberg; if she works long and hard, she is married to her profession; if she is successful, she is a career woman. For her, logic is cool calculation, intelligence a blemish.

Child and career?

Nevertheless, women - and among them especially the mothers - have been waiting in the hundreds of thousands for their commitment, for years in the middle of this country. Regardless of the difficulties, they consider corporate life to be worth striving for. But do you let them? We have the best-educated generation of women our country has ever seen. But the options are still childbearing strike or constant stress between the office and the nursery. Only 58 percent of women of working age work.

The vast majority of women whose jobs deserve the name careers are childless. Women with children have either disappeared from their jobs or are unable to work part-time. Because working hours are often still rigid and childcare is rare. Just 15 percent of the mothers of primary school children in the west of the republic are fully employed. In management they are still the exception, in top management they even have exotic status. You almost never find them at the very top.

Because they can tolerate less alcohol? Eat slower? Parking worse? In a study on income policy, Kienbaum-Beratung came to 28 women in 1,017 managing directors - that is three percent. The fact that they are also paid significantly less than their male colleagues is only perpetuating a development that has been emerging for decades. But a career is neither about intelligence nor about (content) performance, but above all about presentation performance, in short: self-expression.

Women are better leaders

Does demographic development have to stop women first? No, it's the talents of women, it's the gender differences that modern companies can take advantage of. The economy has not yet recognized the advantages women bring. Companies, listen: women have everything you are looking for!

For example, much of what is needed in leadership qualities under the expected economic conditions is already anthropologically instilled in women. Above all, over the course of millions of years they have developed the willingness and ability to promote the performance of others: to be successful with and through others. Do we need something more urgent in companies? What men learn with difficulty, some testosterone volcanoes will never learn, they already have: organizational talent, networked thinking, recognizing paradoxes and remaining capable of action, social broad-spectrum awareness, situation-appropriate decision-making skills, communication skills with changing addressees, multitasking, solving many tasks in parallel.

Especially the circus feat “The Chinese Plates”, the how-should-I-do-it-all-at-once problem - mothers have learned to confidently do a number of tasks that can hardly be overlooked. They learned it by grappling with children, schools, authorities, craftsmen and other service providers, balancing the dual role of work and mother and also being a social point of contact for friends and relatives. You are a highly developed pack animal and an experienced psychologist in personal union, or, as Birger Priddat aptly puts it, “managing directors of the family company”.

Crime is a man's business

What is more, research tells us that while men tend to solve problems using the strategy of “outbidding”, women have a variety of problem-solving strategies at their disposal; a colorful approach without unnecessarily producing losers. Women naturally think systemically. Pay attention to women and men when boarding airplanes. In men, the social intelligence quotient seems to decrease towards body temperature. Women show "process competence" here; As a rule, they act proactively, prudently, considerately, trying not to hinder others. Most men's behavior is either rude or clumsy to the point of ridiculousness.

Women don't have more feelings than men. This is said again and again, and it is also plausible in everyday practice, but fortunately nonsense. However, they usually have more contact with their feelings, they allow themselves to be. In addition to the rational approach, there is also the feeling that is allowed, the inner experience that sometimes speaks a language that is sometimes clearer and more realistic than the pseudo-rational babbling of male cognition machines.

This means that women are also more sensitive to relationships, to subliminal issues, and they can and do it. They respond to the early warning feeling "I'm not doing well with this". Don't we need “relationship management” now and everywhere? On the other hand, the male handling of emotions borders on debility at times.

In empirical studies it becomes clear that the proportion of men with criminal tendencies is increasing. Organized crime is even an almost flawless male domain. So my suggestion: If you want to curb the criminal energy on the boardroom, then there is a solution: women.

Not in the mood for primate games

It is often said that we can basically only be satisfied if as many female weak performers as male weak performers make careers. These are the old battles! It's not about calling “women into power” and negotiating quotas. That's the wrong way. Ms. Merkel is a wrong choice in every respect; but for a long time she lived on an almost inexhaustible bonus for women. It's not about proportional representation - it's about strategic and competent personnel deployment. And of course there is no such thing as “the women”, any more than there are “the men”. But there are differences. Women are not better or worse, they are simply different. You bring gender-specific skills with you, sociobiographically different things that can be used sensibly. They belong wherever communicative action is critical to success. So above all in the leadership.

Yes, women are often too smart to expose themselves to the archaic struggles for position in the primate pack. They say to themselves: If you men play your games, break yourselves - as a reward, you can also die earlier. Yes, women are often not as determined as we are because they value the togetherness and the common journey at least as much as they do just arriving. Yes, women often believe that they do not have to demand a career, that their performance speaks for itself and does not need to be presented any further. Yes, there is a lack of impressiveness, of sovereign parquet skills, of women? in short: what you need and what we men have. That is why they are increasingly moving into middle management, but rarely beyond. That is why only ten percent of all managerial jobs are held by women. That is why the number of women in top positions is even lower: around three percent. Therefore?

The men's club

Maybe they are perpetrators - they like to let us male self-destructors take precedence. Maybe they are victims - the famous glass ceiling, the mother trap, the new "girl trap" (Annette Anton). Be that as it may - that is at best the fore. Behind this is a largely unknown psychodynamics. Behind it works the fighting community of solidarity brothers - the club. And before you squirm and mumble the conspiracy-theoretic God-be-with-us, I ask you (especially as a man) for a moment of introspection.

The special thing about our club is that we don't know anything about our membership. No oath was taken, there was no admission ritual, no membership book exists, no membership number, nothing. Our manhood is enough. In addition, there is only one agreement, a secret agreement: We do not compete with women! That's why the club doesn't fight women, it just lets the competition skip! In the eyes of the club, women are one thing above all else: different.

They are species from another planet, "out of competition". We do not refer to women, with whom “man” does not compare himself. You don't compare incomparable things either. Should a woman be mistakenly preferred to a man, then she owes it not to her performance, but to her otherness. That is why we men do not suffer defeat in these cases. We are simply bowing to an evolutionary aberration.

Women break prices

You can experience the power of the club every day: Male managers don't talk badly about their female colleagues, they don't talk about them at all. One often has the impression that there is not a single woman in management. And precisely because membership in the club is unconscious, it is more finely woven, so it is more effective and stable. But it has the same effect as the famous citation cartels: If you are not cited, you will eventually fall out of the search engine.

If you even propose a woman for a board member, then the problem is not an increased pressure to justify, but overcoming the paralysis. You are so surprised that you don't even seriously get into the discussion. What is not so surprising in turn: The situation in which men and women compete is genealogically new. The work areas were separated for thousands of years and in many cases still are today. In terms of both phylogenetic and historical preconditions, it is a novelty that the sexes compete.

In addition, of course, any competition would be unfair. There is simply no equality of opportunity. First, women are cheaper; what breaks prices for us (in Germany this is not called “competition”, but “dumping”). Second, they are mostly superior to us - probably simply because they had to study harder. If you look at more recent studies, women are better investors, more influential as consumers, more successful as entrepreneurs and more team-minded as managers than we men.

Men protect "their" labor market

And since competition - which also only exists in Germany - is always "ruinous", it makes sense to protect markets. We do this by simply ignoring women as competitors. If that doesn't help anymore: belittle it. And ensure that parenthood remains feminine; at least that keeps the competition out. Ms. von der Leyen, who wants to train men with the financial carrot to be part-time father, will also fail at the club (luckily).

Of course, as an intelligent person, I am reluctant to talk about “the” woman and “the” man, even about a club of “all” men, but how should one discuss? And there are also some of us who betray the club and let women go first. Those who ensure at least one female successor - consciously decided, not just due to the lack of male alternatives. (We should consider whether this does not fall under the Anti-Discrimination Act.) One problem, however, remains unsolved: there is usually no ladies' room on the boardrooms. Which, given the general cost pressure, really speaks against them and for us.

Comment by Reinhard K. Sprenger (March 17, 2010, Welt Online: The author is a management consultant, speaker and bestselling author ("Motivation Myth").