The multitasking myth

Is the idea that women are better multitaskers than men a convenient myth, to help men avoid the domestic burden? That is the implication of a new study by scientists at Aachen University in Germany, which found that the two sexes are equally good – or rather equally bad – at performing different tasks at the same time. For the study, 48 men and 48 women took part in a computer-based challenge that required them to identify letters as either consonants or vowels, and numbers as either odd or even, as they flashed up on a screen. In the first part of the experiment, the participants were presented with the letters and numbers separately. In the second, they were asked to categorise them at the same time, or to switch rapidly between the two – mimicking the kind of mental shifts involved in multitasking in other settings. While both sexes were equally adept at the first part, they found the second stage equally challenging – suggesting, says the team in PLOS One, that “there are no substantial gender differences in multitasking performance”.  (The Week, 31 Aug 2019)

What  I deduce from this is that it reinforces the whole idea of gender equality, and that individually people might prove better or worse than others, but overall there is little or no overall difference between women and men when it comes to the day-to- day tasks of life.  Hooray!

But now comes the rub.  Men and women have to behave as equals.  There seems to be among  a (hopefully small) number of women that the “tables have turned”, and that they can with impunity express their ideas and opinions at length without given a male companion an opportunity for discussion, only because of their gender, a form of bullying. Yes, for centuries men have also held forth, treating women as “the other”, not worth attending to. And many still do, regrettably.  That Is bullying, too, and is also bad manners.

Men and women have to respect each other, be kind and considerate, and espouse equality, nothing more or nor less.  We really have to stop all this nonsense.  It is no excuse to say, “this is what I learned while growing up”.  They imbibed the wrong message.


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