Reading the different pieces we collected for this yearly women’s issue deeply moved us. There is no question, women are wired to lovepeople. It’s not that we are better than men, just wired differently.
Here is the story according to neuroanthropology:
Many thousands of years ago, when humans werehunter-gatherers, men would go on long hunts to find food. Their denser musclesand bones gave them strength and endurance. Men needed to work together and focus on one goal: to kill the animal and drag it home. Their one-pointed concentration also allowed them to develop tools and technology, including weapons for waging war.
To do their job, men had to suppress their emotions.They had to withstand long periods of isolation and ever-present risk. They couldn’t give in to fear or hurt, or they would lose their lives—and their families would starve.
Meanwhile, women were in charge of raising children. As soon as a girl reached puberty, she was either pregnant or nursing. Women’s survival strategy was to multitask and affirm everything that strengthened the health and wellbeing of the community. We became experts at expressing emotionto enhance communication. We learned how to recognize the emotional needs of others who were not able to fully communicate them. We developed empathy.
Filling clearly distinct functions in the survival of the species, both genders acquired different brain chemistries. Men were driven by testosterone to attack and compete; women were fueled by oxytocin, the hormone that causes them tochemically bond with their children, and by extension, with their family and community.
According to evolutionary biology, the hardwiring of our brains takes tens of thousands of years to change. Our survival traits from the Stone Age engendered hormonal differences that to this day determine from how we respond in relationships and in business to how we feel about politics and the environment.
In general, women’sprimary love is people, while men’s primary focus is on the inanimate.Men are systematic thinkers who love to figure out how things work, a trait that has brought us great progress and prosperity.
However, times have changed.
In his newest book, The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin says we have transitioned from anindustrial economy, based on physical labor, to a connection economy, where thenew currency is emotional labor.
As you dig into this women’s issue, you will find stories of women who pour their hearts out and into others. One reason they areso successful in the new economy is that they make huge emotional deposits into their businesses and their teams.
Women do this naturally and intuitively, but there is good news for men: only part of our brain is hardwired by evolution; there is a newer part, the plastic brain, that can easily adapt and change through learned behavior—which is why we offer this women’s issue just as lovingly to all themen on our teams.
DR. JOSEPHINE GROSS is cofounder and
editor in chief of Networking Times.