On Monday, Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Newton wrote a piece in which he lamented that the L.A. city government’s 18 elected officials may soon be all males. Yes, Wendy Gruel is in the May runoff for mayor, and women are competing for two city council seats, but Mr. Newton points out that not since 1968 have all 15 council seats been occupied by men.
“Does it matter?” Mr. Newton asks. But of course the reader is supposed to know it matters, a lot, else why write the piece? And indeed a voice speaks up to affirm this.
“Absolutely it makes a difference,” says Laura Chick, formerly the city controller and a member of the city council. “Our brains are different. We have different perspectives…. There’s something terribly wrong with this.”
Ms. Chick’s assertion that women’s brains are different is well-grounded in science, but isn’t this the kind of talk that got Lawrence Summers neck-deep in the soup at Harvard back in 2005?
As best as I can understand this, it’s permissible to point out the differences between men and women as long as it serves the claim that women are better than men at a given activity or profession. But if you claim that men might be better at something than women are, owing to some inherent physiological difference between the sexes, then stand by, because here comes the mulligatawny.