Researchers are learning that one driver of the global diversity of thought is geographic location, and that location can influence what information our brain pays attention to and how it solves problems. Research also confirms these different thinking orientations are learned and not genetic. For example, a study in China shows that differences in collectivist or individualistic mindsets aligns to which crop is farmed: people in rice-farming areas focus on team work and wheat-farming regions have a stronger orientation to independence. Worldwide research in this area is expanding, helping us to better understand and appreciate all the wonderfully unique ways humans think.
An academic study of almost 800 Italian companies, led by Professor Luca Flabbi of the University of North Carolina, examined detailed salary and revenue data for a 15 year period and found that a key measure of productivity, sales per employee, rose 14% when companies moved from a male to a female CEO and also had a workforce that was at least 20% women. They also found gender pay equity improved for the women that were the strongest contributors.
While men get a “fatherhood bonus” of 6% for every child they have, women get a 4% “motherhood penalty” and, for high-skill, high-paid women workers, that income penalty rises to 10% according to research published in the American Sociological Review. Earlier research found that women with “high-honor” undergraduate or advanced degrees, 69% of women would not have left their jobs to raise a family if they had the flexibility to do both. But even when flexibility is there for women, exercising that benefit is not advantageous to them, others perceiving taking time off to care for children the equivalent of taking a vacation. Finally, while working mothers’ competencies are 10% lower than their single counterparts, studies have shown that mothers are more productive workers.
Among the “missing workers” in the US economy, those no longer looking for work thus not showing up in government unemployment numbers, women are part of that growing trend. Unlike other Western economies that offer supportive family policies, women’s economical destinies in the US are being limited by lack of support for their caregiver responsibilities, not the by criminal records or disabilities affecting men. One economist calls it the “care chasm” and addressing it could bring more women into the workforce.