Ladies, check your privilege

As for violence, men are the chief victims. Men make up three-quarters of all murder victims, and are far more likely to be the targets of more serious forms of assault. Eighty per cent of all reported attacks by strangers are on men. Men are also 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in institutional settings such as schools. And, of course, women live longer.

Meanwhile, women are outperforming men at all levels of education, from kindergarten to graduate school. Women make up at least 50 per cent of Canadian law school graduates, and outnumber men at most medical schools. In fact, advanced countries may be graduating too many female doctors. Women tend to concentrate heavily in family-friendly fields like family medicine and psychiatry, to see fewer patients, to work shorter hours and retire earlier, and to avoid more gruelling specialties such as surgery. This is going to be a challenge for the health-care system. As one critic noted, “Empathy and communication skills are important, but so are efficiency and the ability to live with risk.”

As for discrimination in the STEM fields, I have surprising news. There is indeed a large bias in faculty hiring – in favour of women. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that the bias favouring women was a whopping two-to-one. As one of the researchers, Stephen Ceci, explained to Science magazine, women are “hired more often because a lot of us faculty have internalized the value of gender diversity, and they actually want more women when … all other things [are] equal.”

Not surprisingly, he got oceans of hate mail. Yet as many people know but few will say, reverse discrimination has become a powerful tailwind for professional women.