Gender equality: ‘Men and women are not the same and won’t be’

Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson
Picture: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

Jordan Peterson has HR in his crosshairs with his strident criticism of efforts to close the gender pay gap and to tackle unconscious bias. With a vast online audience for his views, the sector needs to respond with hard facts and strong arguments, writes Adam McCulloch.

It would be a mistake to dismiss the forthright Toronto university psychology professor as an “alt-right” blowhard; he is a fluent advocate for his views and uses research as evidence. But then there are comments such as this: “CEOs should wake up and understand that HR is becoming an anti-capitalist fifth column in the middle of their organisations.”

Peterson’s philosophical positions – informed by thinkers such as Jung, Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche – have led him to question many contemporary HR policies.

Many might think he’s being horrible and unfair, but perhaps he’s just spotted a chink in HR’s armour” – Rob Briner

In January, Peterson discussed the gender pay gap with Channel 4 News’ Cathy Newman, an interview that has been watched more than seven million times online. In it he argues that the gender pay gap is largely a natural reflection of differences between men and women, differences explained in the Big Five personality traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

He tells Newman that multivariate analysis of the gender pay gap shows that prejudice is only one small factor in the pay gap, one that’s much less than “feminists claim”. Other factors include women’s tendency for neuroticism – their likelihood to experience stress, depression and unpredictability – and their high level of agreeableness, to be cooperative and compassionate.

Eradicating the pay gap could work against women’s true interests, he says, by interfering with their preferred choices, such as less demanding careers.

Newman presses him on why there are only seven women running FTSE 100 companies. Peterson responds by asking why women would want to, adding that men are more likely to want to work 70-80 hours a week. “Men and women are not the same and won’t be the same, but that doesn’t mean women shouldn’t be treated fairly.”

Women face family ‘crises’

There are other reasons why equality is unattainable, Peterson explains: “Many women around the age of between 28 and 32, have a career-family crisis that they have to deal with. And I think that’s partly, because of the foreshortened time-frame that women have to contend with. Women have to get the major pieces of their life put together faster than men.”

As an example he uses his work with law firms in Canada where many of the best performers are women yet the firms are unable to make many of them partners because they so often leave in pursuit of a better work-life balance.

These fundamental gender differences mean that “equality of outcome is undesirable”.

“Men and women won’t sort themselves into the same categories if you leave them alone to do it of their own accord. We’ve already seen that in Scandinavia. It’s 20 to one female nurses to male… and approximately the same male engineers to female engineers,” he explains.

“That’s a consequence of the free choice of men and women in the societies that have gone farther than any other societies to make gender equality the purpose of the law. Those are in ineradicable differences. You can eradicate them with tremendous social pressure and tyranny. But if you leave men and women to make their own choices you will not get equal outcome.”

Gender pay surveys’ flawed methodology

In another YouTube video, Peterson feels that gender pay surveys often produce a predetermined result: “The co-variates you include in the equation determine the outcome of the equation.” Referring to gender pay inquiries in the academic sphere in the US, he says that the goal is to conclude that systemic discrimination is at work, “and they gerrymander statistics until they find a regressive equation that supports their initial claim”.

Men and women are not the same and won’t be the same, but that doesn’t mean women shouldn’t be treated fairly (Jordan Peterson)

Sheila Wild, founder of the EqualPayPortal and former Director of Employment Policy at the Equal Opportunities Commission, published a blog critical of Newman’s Peterson interview for heightening division. She writes that the distinction between fairness and equality was not explored satisfactorily in the exchange. “We all understand fairness, or think we do, but very few of us understand equality. And, sometimes, in order to achieve equality, it’s necessary to be unfair – that’s because much inequality derives from past unfairness.”

She adds that Peterson “was selective with the facts, and I don’t agree with his conclusions, but I meet with that every day of the week”.

Halo effect

According to Rob Briner, professor of organisational psychology at Queen Mary University of London, Peterson makes several points that HR leaders should heed. But Briner feels there is a danger the Canadian’s persuasive style and selective use of science could lead to a “halo effect where people accept what he says without looking at the evidence.“ He fears his views could appeal to those “who feel some resentment and who don’t like to see other people gaining more power”.

Peterson, James Damore and Google

Last year, Peterson’s criticisms were thrown into sharp relief by the debate over Google software engineer James Damore, who had attacked the internet giant’s “flawed diversity agenda”.

Google, like other tech firms, is acutely aware of the lack of women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds among its teams.

Peterson fully endorsed Damore’s views, interviewing him at length on his YouTube channel.

Damore wrote in an internal – but leaked – manifesto: “When it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”

These could have been the words of Peterson himself: so it’s unsurprising when Damore acknowledges he is a big fan of the professor.

He adds that the abilities and choices of men and women differed in part because of biology and this was why “we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership”.

During the YouTube discussion Damore alleges that Google held meetings to “pressure people to increase the diversity of their team”.

Peterson responds: “It’s distressing to hear that there’s an acceptance of the idea that diversity can be mapped onto race and gender, especially with regard to performance – there is no evidence of that [improved performance] whatsoever.”

This seems to be a direct challenge to the idea that increasing diversity enlarges the pool of available talent, and so has a positive effect on the bottom line as well as being fairer.

Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president of diversity, rejects Damore’s “incorrect assumptions about gender” and confidently asserts Google’s commitment to its employee policies: “Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company.”

Damore was fired in August last year and has subsequently accused the company of discriminating against “white conservative men” in a class action claim.

Professor Binna Kandola, partner at occupational psychology consultancy Pearn Kandola, goes further: “Peterson has a myopic view of research and uses it selectively for his purposes.”

He adds that objective data shows there are very few differences between men and women in terms of the roles they can fulfil.

Peterson often misses the historical context, says Kandola, ignoring the fact that men and women have taken on very different roles in different eras – men dominating nursing roles until Florence Nightingale helped to create a profession that was soon considered “women’s work”. And in the First World War women enthusiastically took on manufacturing and manual tasks, completely altering perceptions of their competence and potential as workers.

However, for Briner, Peterson does score some hits in his criticism of equality and diversity in organisations: “HR must ask itself whether it is confusing the business case with a moral case. Let’s be clear: are we doing this for business or for moral reasons?”

He argues that Peterson offers a springboard for helping professionals question and justify their policies: “Many might think he’s being horrible and unfair, but perhaps he’s just spotted a chink in HR’s armour”.

Practitioners, he adds, need to be aware of the risk that CEOs will tune into the Canadian’s ideas and want to know “why HR is wasting all this money”.

Unconscious bias

As might be expected, Peterson is not a fan of the growing desire to test and train in the area of unconscious bias. He says: “The HR equity people are mucking about with people’s unconscious bias.

“They want your perceptions to fall into accordance with their demands. Your involuntary unconscious perceptions have to be retrained.”

Again, he is careful to ground his scathing criticism in some kind of evidence: “People are categorised by novelty aversion. You can’t distinguish racial [or any other kind of] bias from novelty aversion. We can’t distinguish stereotyping from perceptual habit.”

He describes implicit association testing (IAT), developed by psychologists in the US, as deeply flawed because, he claims, they can’t reproduce results with the same individuals, so are unreliable.

The whole unconscious bias agenda, he says, is part of the “broader corruption of social psychology”.

But are Peterson’s criticisms really just skating across the surface, failing to take account of the true nature and potential of such work?

Harish Bhayani, senior partner at PRM Diversity Consultants, thinks so, but concedes bias testing and training is ineffective if not continuous. He says: The best solutions recognise that it is not a one-off fix but a constant battle against our unconscious brains’ ongoing tendencies to stereotype.

Testing without a commitment to follow-up support for individuals is another serious issue to be dealt with. For example, in cases where test results for an individual show significant bias, a lot of one-to-one support may be required to help the individual deal with processing the test outcomes.”

Kandola says that Peterson has misrepresented IAT, which has proved useful, particularly in racial stereotyping.

He amplifies Bhayani’s point that testing without action is pointless, adding that fairness has become an important goal: “Fairness means a lot. Peterson may have reservations about one method – the IAT – but that doesn’t mean bias doesn’t exist. There’s an abundance of research carried out using CVs. Basically if you change the name on the application form you change the outcome.”

Kandola questions Peterson’s understanding of core issues. He says the concept of race based on skin colour was developed in the West for the purpose of justifying the slave trade, so there is nothing “natural” about such bias, which Peterson implies when he talks about people’s preference for their “in” as opposed to “out” group and novelty aversion.

“You can reduce bias by some fairly simple means: getting people to evaluate several CVs at the same time taking each criterion in turn; taking the names off CVs; when conducting appraisals setting an objective of accuracy.”

Another stout defence of unconscious bias work comes from Jane Farrell, chief executive of the EW Group. She says: “I am disturbed by the tenor of some of the debates. It distracts from the real challenges of building more inclusive organisations where leaders know they are doing everything they can to recruit the best, rather than inadvertently cloning themselves.”

Damore

James Damore and his lawyer Harmeet Dhillon at a press conference discussing his lawsuit against Google (see panel)
Picture: Michael Liedtke/AP/REX/Shutterstock

She says Peterson’s fears about employees being labelled biased are groundless, stating how during work with clients over a long period of time “nobody was called racist or sexist, and nor should they have been. We worked through the practical things that could be done differently to ensure they recruited the best. This approach is so far from the people being ‘marched to re-education by their employer after they have been diagnosed as racist’, as Peterson described recently.”

The ‘hostile workplace’

One of the more striking criticisms of Peterson/Damore’s stance over Google’s HR policies (see panel) has come from another former Google employee, Yonatan Zunger, who responded to Damore’s manifesto in a blog last August. He claimed that the meritocracy as described in the Damore memo “does not represent a radically conservative path to business success; it is merely a fresh defense of a socially acceptable version of a hostile workplace”.

In other words, Peterson and Damore are simply arguing against change. Zunger adds: “Engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration and empathy for colleagues and customers. All of these traits in your [Damore’s] manifesto described as female are the core traits that make someone successful at engineering.”

The concensus view among specialists in the diversity field seems to be that Peterson is only explaining certain facets of the here and now. They say he has failed to take account of the historical changes in gender roles or business’ and employees’ desire for fairness through equality of opportunity. Dianah Worman, co-director of Inclusive Talent and an adviser to the CIPD, says: “The concept of success is changing. Peterson seems to assume that the status quo will remain the status quo. Increasing globalisation means more co-operation.”

Wherever the debate goes, Peterson’s is a voice that is being absorbed by a youthful generation online – tomorrow’s employees. HR practitioners should listen to his arguments and be prepared to defend their corner with the best evidence they can find to support the view that fairer recruitment policies make business sense and benefit us all.

55 Responses to Gender equality: ‘Men and women are not the same and won’t be’

  1. McGuffin 13 Mar 2018 at 5:25 pm #

    Allow me to summarize the article:

    Jordan Peterson defends ancient truths with science and fact.

    A whole bunch of “equity industry” participants complain that he’s too persuasive, throw out stuff like “unfairness if ok if it leads to the outcomes we want”, and tell companies they need to double-down on their efforts to beat Social Equity opinions into their confused staff.

    • Mark P Maturo 16 Mar 2018 at 9:24 pm #

      You failed to mention that the author quoted Peterson and sent it to these “experts” who had time to formulate a rebuttal without allowing Peterson to defend his position.

  2. Patrick Marino 13 Mar 2018 at 6:17 pm #

    I don’t think this article is truly representative of Peterson, as his views are far more educated than you think. The reason that you can’t see it in an article is that it’s ‘complicated,’ and way more complicated than anyone is really able to boil down. That’s why the conversation is so important. Peterson’s main argument is simple: Science itself is immoral. It’s only going to give you the closest thing to arguable fact. And that is assuming that the scientist allows for thorough and rigorous disagreement, which helps solidify the conclusions of the science. Take the IAT for example. One of the creators, and there were only three, has completely abandoned the project, because it is being used for purposes it was not designed for. The IAT can reasonably demonstrate some level of difficult to measure implicit bias. But the results of the IAT have not been shown to predict behavior. And while training can improve scores on the IAT, again the improved scores have shown zero correlation with behavior. The biproduct of the IAT has been that it makes people resentful of not only having to take the test but of the whole concept, which is the opposite of the intention of the test. See https://www.chronicle.com/article/Can-We-Really-Measure-Implicit/238807 He would suggest that the IAT, the election of Trump, and the not only the differences in employment choices in Scandinavia, but also the relatively small number of women looking to take leadership positions in politics in those countries, are the result of what happens when the playing field is leveled through societal constructs. The result being that differences are exacerbated. They get worse not better. So one way of looking at it may be that given most of the predictors of success in business or politics are traditionally seen as male, then if a woman is simply allowed to be female (by regulating behavior in the workplace, having quotas for women on BOD’s, or allowing for generous paid leave for family rearing), women MAY be MORE LIKELY to disengage from these pursuits, and more likely to raise a family or take on part time jobs, or low paying jobs with flexible schedules. If they are forced to adopt traditionally male thoughts like aggressiveness, working at the expense of family, they are more likely to work their way up the political/business ladder. That is not to say that Peterson is right, this is just what is observable and provable statistically. The opposite is not true, and has never proven to be true, and is largely unsupportable. Peterson argues that given the lack of science, they are skewing the argument, and I largely agree that’s correct. The better solution is to not use science at all. The IAT in particular is just a bad place to start, and your article is a very good demonstration of that. You have a better chance without the IAT, because it’s probably junk.

    • Jackson 14 Mar 2018 at 4:11 pm #

      “But the results of the IAT have not been shown to predict behavior”……such a crucial point. Even if the IAT and the resume studies are valid, I’m allowed to have my own thoughts. I’m allowed to be a racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobe, etc. My employer need only be concerned with how much of that I bring to work. And void of objective evidence that those belief systems are coloring my work-related behavior or impacting my organization (in which case there are ample laws allowing for my dismissal and protecting my employer from my behaviors) it’s not my employer’s business. Since when did my employment come not just with a paycheck but thought policing?

  3. Peter Wright 13 Mar 2018 at 10:19 pm #

    Peterson says that men and women are more similar than they are different, something strangely omitted in the above article.
    https://gynocentrism.com/2018/03/03/jordan-peterson-on-psychological-differences-similarities-between-the-sexes/

  4. Chris Stratford, P.E. 13 Mar 2018 at 10:33 pm #

    “engineering is all about… empathy” Seriously? Empathy has no place in engineering. Form follows function, function rules. cooperation and collaboration are of course essential, but not so much once a jab has been parceled out to the various individual contributors.

    to summarize: empathy is important in any interaction with fellow humans, but there is less of that in engineering (things vs people) than in other disciplines, so engineering CAN’T be “all about empathy”

    Seriously…

    • Jason 14 Mar 2018 at 7:10 pm #

      I picked up on that as well. Engineering is not “all about empathy, cooperation, etc.” Some projects will be collaborative. At other times you’ll work on a project alone and then discuss what you’ve designed with colleagues. But cooperation is not the core of engineering. The core of engineering is designing things to function under constraints observed in the world. It is very much *not* about people.

  5. Jeb Kinnison 13 Mar 2018 at 10:43 pm #

    The rebellion against HR and the Progressive abuse of diversity targets documented here: http://amzn.to/2FQp6OM

  6. Nash 13 Mar 2018 at 10:49 pm #

    >> CEOs will tune into the Canadian’s ideas and want to know “why HR is wasting all this money”.

    This is what will help edge Western Culture back toward sanity… when the Diversity Industry starts to lose lawsuits… like Damore’s lawsuit against Google, and the 2nd lawsuit at Youtube (for avoiding while/male applicants)… and those losses hit the bottom line in a real way… shareholders and other ADULTS will take control back from the “children” and their insane demands.

    Western Culture is wasting a fortune to prove these PC ideas are as insane and unnecessary as they sound… and meanwhile… falling behind on the actual focus of the business at hand.

    It’s not just the hard cash costs of “diversity officers” and these programs… nor the losses they’ll face when they lose in court… it’s the insane distraction of “counting colored faces” and “skirts vs pants” that is a terrible waste of energy that moves nothing forward at all.

    It’s time for the adults in the room to wake up and take charge again.

  7. Thomas Morris 13 Mar 2018 at 11:02 pm #

    HR, like lawyers, need a job. The End

  8. Evan Player 13 Mar 2018 at 11:11 pm #

    I found a contradiction in this article when it was stated ” in order to achieve equality, it’s necessary to be unfair”. This statement was unchallenged, why was Sheila Wild not asked to expand on why being “unfair” is necessary. A theme of the article was fairness and being able to identify the best candidates.

    Dr Peterson empathises hierarchies of competence over hierarchies of power. We all want hiring processes that reward competent people. How we do this is where the crux of the debate is. If his conclusion drawn from research are erroneous, articulate why?

    A sensible suggestion within the article is taking names off CV’s when conducting appraisals. I would expand on this by taking away anything that could identify age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation (why one would include some categories in a CV , who knows). This should be done by someone not performing appraisals. It just seems sensible if our goal is to identify the best people.

  9. Fausto 13 Mar 2018 at 11:12 pm #

    Why can’t any of these people present specific evidence that disproves Dr. Peterson’s claims?

    They only respond in vague generalities. So they actually help his case.

    • Adam McCulloch 15 Mar 2018 at 4:02 pm #

      Hi Fausto, author here. I don’t think it’s about ‘disproving’ claims but more about presenting how many different factors there are in all this. Many of the contributors here did not say Peterson was completely wrong.

    • Cary 16 Mar 2018 at 12:25 am #

      Because they have no specific evidence.

  10. Zed 13 Mar 2018 at 11:17 pm #

    “Engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration and empathy for colleagues and customers. All of these traits in your [Damore’s] manifesto described as female are the core traits that make someone successful at engineering.”

    Really now?

  11. c smith 13 Mar 2018 at 11:27 pm #

    “…more inclusive organisations where leaders know they are doing everything they can to recruit the best…” What if “recruiting the best” results in bringing in ever more white males, as it often does?. How is this more “inclusive”? Ms. Farrell is contradicting herself here.

  12. John 13 Mar 2018 at 11:42 pm #

    Seems there is an extreme reluctance to face some brute facts about the clear differences between men and women and their preferences when making work/life decisions. The wage gap perception is a manifestation of hard-wired male/female differences and society would suffer in the long run if we mind-control people into believing those differences don’t exist. Those differences are a good thing. Using an unfair solution to create equality will cause more division. Women who have decided for a better work/life balance should realise that the payoff is just that; a better work/life balance, which is more valuable that the small financial price that is paid.

    • Alison Dale 16 Mar 2018 at 10:12 am #

      Thank you – I am female and this is exactly my view. I chose to have a 15 year career break, and consider I was fortunate to be in a position to do so. I accept that as a result I have less experience than I would have otherwise had, and therefore a lower salary. I am quite happy with this – the pay-off was worth it – it is not all about the money!

    • Adam McCulloch 17 Mar 2018 at 1:11 am #

      John, author here. What about men who want a better work/life balance, of whom there are millions? Are they betraying their true nature? It seems to me that these ‘clear’ differences are not really that clear when you look closely at the evidence. As one commenter (Peter Wright) on this thread says Peterson acknowledges.

  13. Michael Russell 14 Mar 2018 at 12:02 am #

    So, the guy that sells diversity training for a living thinks we need more diversity training? Knock me over with a feather.

  14. Arjun Deshmukh 14 Mar 2018 at 12:13 am #

    -> She adds that Peterson “was selective with the facts”
    -> “Peterson has a myopic view of research and uses it selectively for his purposes.”

    The “selective” research Peterson uses happens to be some of the most replicated and robust findings in all of the social science literature. It literally appears in undergrad psych textbooks and units.

    https://goo.gl/D7m2a6
    https://goo.gl/smtUHY
    https://goo.gl/UrK6aq
    https://goo.gl/FX1miP
    https://goo.gl/HeHWqs
    https://goo.gl/G3UXWJ
    https://goo.gl/fHre1a
    https://goo.gl/FwG9Mn
    https://goo.gl/z1JVeV
    https://goo.gl/bdrzT3
    https://goo.gl/bsYhvf
    https://goo.gl/3t4SHw
    https://goo.gl/mmdShw
    https://goo.gl/GdFFoa
    https://goo.gl/SQP1si

    • Sean 14 Mar 2018 at 12:54 pm #

      Thank you. Maybe he was just ignoring rubbish based pseudo-science

  15. Tubbly 14 Mar 2018 at 1:03 am #

    Give up! You have been found out. The tide is turning. Those of you have invested years in all this PC nonsense need to start singing from a different song book.

  16. Bob Smith 14 Mar 2018 at 1:18 am #

    HR departments shouldn’t push left wing ideological propaganda. Everyone should read the full Damore memo before believing anyone on the subject. The full memo was about encouraging women in stem… not excluding them.

    Link to the full memo:

    https://www.scribd.com/document/355823379/Google-s-Ideological-Echo-Chamber

    HR is in a tough spot with the mobs of social justice ideologs tearing companies apart… damore was a witch hunt.

    Peterson would be a better model for HR- take responsibility, tell the truth and say no to Marxism…

  17. Jim Harvie 14 Mar 2018 at 1:34 am #

    Damore claimed to be supportive of the goals of diversity, but was concerned Google was breaking the law to achieve racial and gender parity. He was fired for voicing that opinion.

  18. Alexander 14 Mar 2018 at 1:50 am #

    ‘Peterson often misses the historical context, says Kandola, ignoring the fact that men and women have taken on very different roles in different eras – men dominating nursing roles until Florence Nightingale helped to create a profession that was soon considered “women’s work”. ‘

    I don’t believe Peterson would ever claim that there weren’t, at one point, significant institutional barriers to women participating in the workplace. These of course would override any sort of group preference in determining what sort of work one enters into, although it’s significant to note the acknowledgement of a field as being “women’s work”, suggesting that there are particular qualities of the job that women are innately drawn towards.

    ‘Zunger adds: “Engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration and empathy for colleagues and customers. All of these traits in your [Damore’s] manifesto described as female are the core traits that make someone successful at engineering.” ‘

    Well, the traits mentioned here certainly have relevance to the success of a TEAM, but it’s hard to see how they specifically have to do with the discipline of engineering. As a male software engineer, I’ve certainly been on teams that lack individuals with the strengths that women tend to have more of, but it’s hard to say what the “proper” ratio of empathetic individuals vs mechanically-minded individuals on an engineering team is. I’d love to see some research on the matter, instead of Google simply circling the wagons and claim that there’s nothing wrong.

    Another approach would be to change the nature of the job to make it more friendly to women. This seems to be the most likely to generate the desired gender ratios, but at some point one would wonder whether there is some core function of engineering that is being neglected in pursuit of being diverse. In other words, is there a cost to the business of opening up the qualifications to being on an engineering team?

    In any case, I believe very strongly that Damore is being scapegoated for expressing his opinions that how HR wants engineers to staff their teams is in-congruent with the job as he understands it. Google seems to be forcing personnel into pipelines without regard for the essential nature of work in those pipelines.

    • Sean 14 Mar 2018 at 1:01 pm #

      ‘Zunger adds: “Engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration and empathy for colleagues and customers. All of these traits in your [Damore’s] manifesto described as female are the core traits that make someone successful at engineering.” ‘
      I think he is describing health care. I’ve been working in engineering for almost 35 years and I can say for a fact he is not describing engineering.
      It doesn’t really matter though because no one is keeping women out of any fields they want to be in. There were women going to school for engineering when I went and they’re going now. There are less women than men going into engineering but that’s up to the women deciding their own futures.

      Damore is indeed a scapegoat. He’s being vilified along with Peterson and together they are being held up as the faces of the enemy. Very sad.

    • Adam McCulloch 15 Mar 2018 at 3:59 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Alexander, interesting stuff. The Swedish research I refer to in the article about STEM subjects is really interesting – there’s a hyperlink to it. It points to how gender imbalances at work actually start much earlier, in education.

  19. WhoTheHell_Cares 14 Mar 2018 at 2:45 am #

    I’m concerned in Australia about the ‘unconcious’ bias of having HR departments almost exclusively occupied by women. Especially in the public service where approximately 70% of employees are women.

    Where is the ‘diversity’ in the public services.

    • Paul Taylor 14 Mar 2018 at 5:30 pm #

      I (a man) went for a job in HR in the Health Service. I was interviewed by the Diversity Officer (woman) who asked how I would work in what had been an all women team of 10. I pointed out it wasn’t particularly diverse. I didn’t get the job. I wonder who did?

    • Sir 14 Mar 2018 at 8:23 pm #

      Ah yes, people all too easily forget that equality is not a one-way street. Where is the high profile CIPD campaign to encourage more men into HR ?
      Hmm, the deafening silence …….

    • TheCowboyOnline 14 Mar 2018 at 9:21 pm #

      Ah, but when women outnumber men, by far (and it’s the same here in the UK, with respect to the public sector), that’s okay because it’s VERY diverse.

      Diversity largely seems to be code for ‘anyone but a white heterosexual male’, and we can see in the article that it’s okay to be unfair in the pursuit of equality.

  20. Johan 14 Mar 2018 at 3:22 am #

    In objection to Zunger, engineering isn’t “all about cooperation, collaboration and empathy for colleagues and customers”. Just like any other productive venture it’s about competence first and foremost. And for both the leftists and the 3rd + 4th wave feminists the agenda is to thwart competence from the top of the list of value prioritization so that any of their irrelevant, whimsical and destructive vices can sneak in and contend that position as undetected as possible.

  21. Brian Bosworth 14 Mar 2018 at 3:31 am #

    “…sometimes, in order to achieve equality, it’s necessary to be unfair – that’s because much inequality derives from past unfairness.”

    Sheila Wild’s comment above (as others are ) is laughable. You don’t fight racism (discimination/bigotry/sexism et al) with more racism (et al).

    Visiting the sins of the parental peoplekind on the children peoplekind simply leads to more divisiveness in politics, on campus and in society at large, as is now happening in Canada as governments go down this path that Wild and many others interviewees laud.

    If you want to see this in real time check out the comments to nearly everything the “progressives” of the world’s darling, @Justin Trudeau tweets, even on the very few occasions when he doesn’t reference some variation on gender/identity/grievance politics.

    If you repeat often enough that everything must be looked at through skin colour and genitalia, don’t be surprised when people take you at your word. It’s a one way ticket to a more fractured society.

    • Adam McCulloch 17 Mar 2018 at 1:19 am #

      Brian. Author here. Doesn’t a fractured society also result though from one group of people always being favoured over another? Resentment builds in whichever group perceives itself to be the most disadvantaged. This is one of the reasons why large corporations now talk about the need for fairness.

  22. Msgs 14 Mar 2018 at 5:22 am #

    Racist recruitment is not the answer.

  23. Guest 14 Mar 2018 at 5:32 am #

    Why is this even a controversy? It is not just obvious in every single living species on earth but specifically supported as it relates to humans.

    Maybe we need more biologists in HR?

    • Sean 14 Mar 2018 at 1:02 pm #

      Thank you

  24. Eric 14 Mar 2018 at 6:06 am #

    “And, sometimes, in order to achieve equality, it’s necessary to be unfair – that’s because much inequality derives from past unfairness.””

    Nice, the “two wrongs DO make a right argument.” Glad to know you’re using such a ethically sound source. Clearly she got a A+ in kindergarten. All those other silly kids thought two wrongs was sill two wrongs. Good thing we have people like her in the world to set the record straight.

  25. Judith A. Reisman PhD 14 Mar 2018 at 6:58 am #

    The violent reaction to Peterson, and to Shapiro and others with conservative values establishes who defends civilization and who would tear it down. The only thing that needs more emphasis by Peterson and others is the destructive power of three generations of pornography. If anything makes for a hostile workplace in business and universities it is the Mass acceptance of pornography. Let HR abolish all pornography before they virtue signal.

    • Alison Dale 16 Mar 2018 at 10:30 am #

      Thank you for this – porn is something I am very concerned about too and it seems to be the elephant in the room (not wishing to insult elephants), its negative effects are too often just ignored or brushed under the carpet.

  26. Simon 14 Mar 2018 at 8:36 am #

    Perhaps the most worrying thought is not that Damore’s views may be wrong but that in writing them he committed an offense worthy of dismissal.

  27. Jim Shaw 14 Mar 2018 at 9:22 am #

    “HR practitioners should listen to his arguments and be prepared to defend their corner with the best evidence they can find to support the view that fairer recruitment policies make business sense and benefit us all.”
    This article provided no such evidence (even “some kind of evidence”), just comments from people that get paid to assume the contrary conclusion to Peterson.

  28. ggaggamba 14 Mar 2018 at 10:05 am #

    Saw half my company’s HR staff sacked after a consultancy reviewed their policies and procedures. I heard these outsiders who came in were professing to support equities initiatives, but actually it was a ruse to get the most ideologically committed to out themselves. They were the ones sent packing.

  29. Sean 14 Mar 2018 at 12:50 pm #

    Why don’t you accurately relay his ideas to your readers rather than making him out to be a monster. Then you can argue against them on equal footing. Are you afraid your arguments won’t hold up in a dialectical discussion?

    • Adam McCulloch 15 Mar 2018 at 3:53 pm #

      Hi Sean. I’m surprised by your comment. It was never my intention to make the professor out to be a ‘monster’; in fact I go out of my way to state that the HR sector needs to hear his arguments and that he is not a politically motivated monster. None of those who commented in the piece regard him as a monster. The article is an exploration of various arguments and opinions.

  30. Sir 14 Mar 2018 at 3:11 pm #

    I think a diversity of views is very healthy – and can prompt a meaningful and helpful open discussion.
    I would be alarmed if the HR community felt the need to close him down just because he is saying things they don’t like.

  31. Jeremy Mansell 14 Mar 2018 at 4:36 pm #

    We should agree with him – women and men are different but so are men and men and so are women and so are chimps and chimps
    We should just treat individuals as individuals – all different and all with strengths, weaknesses, foibles and idiosyncrasies.

    • TheCowboyOnline 14 Mar 2018 at 9:25 pm #

      Absolutely, and Peterson says as much himself, that there are more ‘in group’ differences than there are differences between groups. (Not just Peterson, this has been observed by others as well, not least of all by an ex diversity hire by Apple. who was subsequently fired for expressing that view.)

  32. Paul Taylor 14 Mar 2018 at 5:39 pm #

    For 50,000 years men and women have behaved in a way that enabled us to thrive, not just survive- cooperating, dividing tasks, and living in tribes. In the last 50 years we are being asked to override that. Its proving very difficult.

  33. Doug 14 Mar 2018 at 6:53 pm #

    The only facts in this article are contained in the quotes attributed to Dr. Peterson. The rest of is the same mishmash of leftist, SJW “feelings” and ideology. Like the Universities, HR is a corrupt institution, which is actively working for the destruction of Western Civilization.

    • Adam McCulloch 17 Mar 2018 at 1:29 am #

      Doug, separating fact from opinion is sometimes quite hard, particularly when both parties to a debate are using research findings, sometimes the same research findings!

  34. Zoe 15 Mar 2018 at 12:56 am #

    Not to comment on any of the rest of the article, bu the first two paragraphs under “hostile workplace” are ridiculous.

  35. Programmer 15 Mar 2018 at 7:00 pm #

    “Engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration and empathy for colleagues and customers”

    Wrong. Social work and nursing are all about those. Engineering is mostly about problem solving and logical thinking. Low agreeableness, introverted, mostly men go to engineering and stay there because they like it. I’ve worked as a software programmer for the last 10 years.

  36. Cary 16 Mar 2018 at 12:28 am #

    ‘Equality’ is a dishonest notion because those who use it do so to deliberately avoid distinguishing between equality of outcome (which is their real objective) and equality of opportunity, which is what normal, sensible reasonable people support.