Video: Gender Irrelevant in Business?

Last Updated Jul 13, 2009 3:03 PM EDT

I recently entered a post with the intentionally provocative title "Men are Better at Selling than Women" in order to surface the absurdity of gender-based judgments of business skills. The following video has two of the smartest people in business (SellingPower publisher Gerhard Gschwandtner and former CSO Mary Delaney) discussing this issue.

What strikes me is how Delaney -- who's definitely in a position to know "what's what" from a hiring perspective -- pretty much scoffs at traditional gender theory and instead focuses on the social and cultural aspects of the glass ceiling. On the other hand, Gschwandtner (and the running banner) takes the more traditional viewpoint that there are some important differences. Interesting, eh?

I don't know who's right. I know Gerhard rather well, and he's one of the smartest guys in the sales field and has insights into hundreds of different companies, so if he thinks there are differences, I find it hard to argue. On the other hand, I've seen Mary speak, and have interviewed her a couple of times and she's seriously brilliant.

You know, it could be that our perceptions of gender differences are so skewed by our culture that it may not be possible to examine the issue objectively. For example, most people are surprised to learn that today, more women graduate from medical school than men, or that young professional women in urban areas out-earn young men.

All very odd, eh? Anyone want to share some words of wisdom?

Full Disclosure: I write for SellingPower magazine, the producers of this video,
which also has a distribution agreement with BNET for video content.