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Are Women Better At Everything?
One book makes the case
Abdouramane Barry and Jan Nicole Garcia

“Why Women Rule”: That was the attention-grabbing title of an event two YCteen writers recently attended at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. Dan Abrams, an attorney and legal analyst for the ABC network, recently published a book called Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else. At the event on May 5, 2011 he spoke with Katie Couric—who was the anchor of the CBS Evening News until recently, and is the first female evening news anchor in America—about what inspired him to write this feminist declaration and where he got his evidence. Here, writers Abdouramane Barry and Jan Nicole Garcia describe the conversation and their reactions.

He said:

When I heard that we were going to a talk about the ways in which women are better than men, I was confused. “What?” I said to myself. I had never thought to compare men and women—and I’d never imagined that there were things that women excelled at more than men.

So I nodded from where I was sitting when the author, Dan Abrams, said he used to hear people argue that women are better than men at certain things and never believed it. His curiosity led him to explore this topic, which led to a book.

One of the funnier facts Abrams mentioned is that men are more likely to get hit by lightning than women: In 82% of cases where lightning strikes humans, the victim is male. Abrams said that this fact tells us a lot, because it reflects how men and women deal with risk. Women are likely to examine a situation more carefully, and to take into account possible long-term effects of what they are going to do before taking action. Basically, women are more careful than men.

As I thought about this, I realized that it’s true; I even think that women are more successful in decision-making than men, because women aren’t as likely to rush to do something right away. In my experience, women are usually patient and careful, while men are more likely to be overconfident, conceited, and careless.

But it astonished me when Abrams said that women are better drivers than men, because like a lot of people, I’ve always had the impression that men are better drivers. I think this case depends on how you classify a “better driver.” If you’re looking at safety, as Abrams did, you’ll say that women are better drivers because they are more careful and cause fewer accidents. But if you’re looking at what a person is able to do with a car, and how easily they can maneuver it, my guess is that men are better drivers.

Abrams did admit that men have their strengths. For one thing, he said men are better at parking cars than women. Men are also better than women at athletic endeavors and at reading maps; they have better long-distance vision and, according to some studies, they are better friends. In general, I think men’s strengths stem from the fact that men are more vigorous than women, and that always affects achievement. In my opinion the more risks you take, the more you will accomplish. Since men take more risks, they are more likely to accomplish big things, because action demands risk-taking.

Still, Abrams declared his concern for the upcoming generation of men because today women are becoming more educated than men. “For guys, being a ‘slacker’ is in vogue,” he said. If it’s seen as OK or even desirable for a guy not to work hard, this might prevent guys from being successful. (Perhaps this is why men are less likely to vote: It’s seen as cooler if you don’t care very much about things.)

In spite of everything, though, women still don’t run the world. Abrams said women should develop “the chutzpah,” or guts, “to ask, be direct, say you want something,” Abrams said. He added, “I hope with more confidence will come women’s recognition that their value is greater than they think.”

It made sense to me. In the country I am from, Guinea, no woman would want to be ahead of her husband or another man in the family. That’s because women think that they aren’t capable of handling the tasks men handle. But that’s false, because if you have a passion for something and you really want to do it, you will be able to realize more than you think if you go for it. I think women can handle and accomplish whatever they take responsibility for. They should consider themselves as smart, strong, cautious, and vigilant, and pursue their dreams accordingly.

The same thing applies to men. Some men think that they are too qualified or too good for some tasks, which they leave to women. Some think they are so smart that they don’t even question themselves about the risks they take or the way they run their lives. If they could be more careful and sensible, they would do better and suffer less.

In the end, all humans should ask ourselves what we can do to make the world and our lives better. We can all work together and, each bringing our unique strengths—whether they are “feminine” or “masculine” traits—we can improve our lives and the lives of coming generations.

—Abdouramane Barry

She said:

I was glad to hear that someone had finally written a book about how we women are better than men in tons of things and that, based on research, we are not the weaker sex in many regards. I thought, “A woman must have written that to speak up for us”—so it surprised me to find that the author is a man. The fact that this book is from a man’s perspective makes it more interesting, because we know it’s not biased.

Dan Abrams isn’t trying to start a battle of the sexes. Instead, he finds studies which show that on the whole, women are better than men at some specific things—and when it comes to other things, men do better than women. To generalize, women tend toward certain qualities that help us master some things; men tend toward characteristics that help them excel in other ways. For example, the book lists many areas in which women outdo men, from gambling to passing legislation as politicians. On the other hand, Abrams pointed out that men are physically stronger and faster than women; therefore, they are better athletes.

So it’s wrong to say that men are better than women, or vice versa. The right thing to say is that we are both capable of achieving things. In fact if we all work together as a team, the outcome will be outstanding.

But Abrams does criticize women on one point. He says that we women have to stand up and have confidence in ourselves and our abilities. Men still hold more high-level positions in business and government than women, and they make more money. This is partly because society has been this way for a long time, and we haven’t done enough to change it. But it’s also because women don’t have the confidence to demand more power and more money, even though we have the ability to handle it.

After hearing Abrams talk about the book, I realized how many women do diminish themselves. Maybe they think they’re not good enough to accomplish things, or don’t deserve as much as men. For example, I have seen women in my family limit themselves to being housewives when they could have had professional careers like their husbands.

I strongly believe that we will not get what we deserve if we don’t demand it. To make a change, as a woman, speak up and don’t put barriers in your life. We are all equal and it’s up to you to make sure our society reflects that!

—Jan Nicole Garcia

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