…would the difference persist in a world of educational and professional equality? Or—if women ruled?
Researchers administered four-piece jigsaw puzzles to nearly 1,300 members of two closely related tribes in Northeast India with little to no experience with such puzzles. The twist: One tribe, the Khasi, was matrilineal: Property descends through the youngest daughter and men are forbidden to own land. The other, the Karbi, is patrilineal.
Participants were offered about a quarter of a day’s wage if they could solve the puzzle quickly.
In the patrilineal tribe, men were 36% faster at solving the puzzle, on average (42.3 seconds versus 57.2 seconds). But there was no statistical difference in the matrilineal society. Men finished in 32.1 seconds, women in 35.4 seconds.
In the patrilineal society, men attended school longer than women; the researchers chalked up one-third of the gendered performance difference to that fact. But culture, they said, also appeared to play a strong role.
From the WSJ Ideas blog, which has become one of my new favorites to follow.
Side note 1: Jeannie took our niece to buy a toy. The boys aisle was full of mechanical building things and Lego and science stuff (plus lots of guns). The girls aisle, which was a blinding Barbie pink, had none of these things. At one point she spotted the word science on a box. Leaning in, the science of beauty and make-up. *Sigh*
Side note 2: I’ve used jigsaw puzzles on surveys in Liberia and Ethiopia and Uganda, mainly because I’m completed fascinated that even 6-piece puzzles seem to be very, very difficult for people who have never seen them before. Even highly educated surveyors and staff. So I have no idea what they measure, which is partly why I’ve kept using them. To be continued…