“Mindset”: A Major Contribution from the Social Sciences 

Stanford University psychology professor, Carol Dweck, underwent a personal “mindset” change – from a ‘fixed mindset’ to a “growth” mindset, and through the influence of her work and students, is pulling the world along behind her. Some people view their talents as fixed while growth mindset people view them as expandable through effort. No matter how bright one is, a fixed mindset is a handicap. No matter how less gifted you are, a growth mindset can take one to the top or, at least, close to it. Great educators, such as Marva Collins of Chicago’s inner city, or Jamie Escalante of Los Angeles instilled a growth mindset in their pupils, well portrayed in two major movies: The Marva Collins Story (1981) and Stand and Deliver (1988).

As economic prosperity advances and technology eliminates many marketplace advantages men had, mindset becomes ever more important in helping all children develop their talents. What is possible is amazing as Dweck’s book for the layman lays out and as the examples of Collins, Escalante and thousands of great teachers around the world demonstrate.

But, I suspect, even where mindset is optimized, a variety of differences between male and female continue to emerge — very differently in different cultures, pronounced one way in some cultures and an opposite way in others, while hardly noticeable in yet others. The following research reports contrasts many of these international differences. No matter the outcome, each society is best served if all are honored for their different talents. That the sum is greater than the parts, is nowhere more visible than in the creation of a child and the success in raising it when cooperation and complementarity is fullest — lived out in an intact child-raising marriage. The data show this holds across the world.

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