Aug 9, 2013

A Woman's Worth

You may have noticed that my blog is sort of on summer break right now, but the other day I read an article that I just couldn't resist writing about. As a man, I have no problem whatsoever appreciating a woman's worth -- I won't go into any details, but life would simply be very boring without them. ;-)  But one aspect that I had never considered (until now) is a woman's influence on a man's generosity.

According to Adam Grant, men are more generous when women are around. In his article "Why Men need Women" for the New York Times, Grant writes: "The mere presence of female family members -- even infants -- can be enough to nudge men in the generous direction." And cites an interesting study to back up his claim. A couple of researchers found that when chief executives become fathers they often lower their employee's wages, explaining they need more money to take care of their growing family. But there was a twist. This only happened when the newborn child was a boy. Grant's conclusion?
Daughters apparently soften fathers and evoke more caretaking tendencies. The speculation is that as we brush our daughters' hair and take them to dance classes, we become gentler, more empathetic and more other-oriented.

And it's not just daughters. A sister, a wife, a mother... they all can have a "generous" impact on men. Bill Gates says that his wife and his mother always pressed him to do more for others. Today the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation plays a big role in enhancing healthcare and reducing poverty worldwide. It's not just generosity though:
...Professor Van Lange's team pointed to another study showing that the more sisters a father has, the more time he spends raising his own children. After growing up with sisters, men who have opportunities to give are more likely to do so.
It's really starting to look like we desperately need women in our lives if we want to be better men. Ok, let me just think about that for a minute... I don't have any sisters, I don't have a wife. So guess who's to blame if I'm not a generous enough person? ;-) Love you, mom!

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