Merit ‘fail’ prompts gender quota call from Woodside board member

Merit ‘fail’ prompts gender quota call from Woodside board member, by Peter Klinger.

Ann Pickard, one of the most senior women in oil and gas and prominent mentor of younger executives, has called for quotas to fix the gender imbalance …

Ms Pickard, whose educational background is in the humanities, said there was no reason why companies could not ensure their university intake included 50 per cent women. She also rubbished a traditional response that there were not enough female graduates in the engineering and science fields.

This might be relevant:

The marketplace provides good examples [of where male-female cognitive differences would be noticed]. Linda Gottfredson has studied cognitive demands of various occupations. In her paper, Why g Matters (Intelligence, 24(1), 79–132) she estimates a minimum IQ of 120 is needed to be competitive in moderately “high-level” jobs such as research analyst or advertising manager. A gender gap of 0.162 SD with a variance ratio 0.916 tells us that of the workforce segment meeting this requirement only 37% will be female.

The g [raw intelligence] distributions will impose not a glass but rather a statistical ceiling on women in the high end of the workforce. According to [the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission], in 2003, 35.2% of “officials and managers” in the private sector were women — a number suspiciously close to 37%. Interestingly, among federal employees women held 66% of the “management” jobs. But that is the stuff of another investigation.

In other words, because the IQ distribution in men has a larger standard deviation than in women, only 37% of humans with IQs over 120 are female.

The distribution of g [raw intelligence] in male and female populations. The scale of the horizontal axis is in units of the male standard deviation.

The distribution of g (raw intelligence) in male and female populations. The scale of the horizontal axis is in units of the male standard deviation.

So if 50% of executives were female then females would be over-represented — if IQ is important. (Perhaps it’s not, in these PC times? The quoted source above notes that 66% of public service managers in the US are female.)

By the way, it’s not just the IQ distribution that behaves like this — the male standard deviation is greater in the distribution of almost any characteristic, because the male sex is where nature experiments. Historically, on time scales significant to evolution, women more reliably have kids and choose the males with whom they mate, while two thirds of men do not pass on their genes.

May I offer an opinion? With people like Ann Pickard running the show, oil and gas company Woodside is toast. Investors beware.

hat-tip Matthew