Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, "The very rich are different from you and me -- they have more money." When considering the genders, Hemingway's line might be paraphrased, "Women are different from men -- they are women." This should be the epithet of the Annika Sorenstam episode.
The pre-eminent women's golfer famously finished 96th when she played with the men. For curmudgeons about women's sports, her performance should be cause to abandon their disdain: Here was a prodigiously talented athlete, performing with impressive poise. For believers in gender sameness, her performance should be a crashing exercise in reality.
Sorenstam's play demonstrates, of course, the physical differences between men and women. But the differences reach much deeper, into temperament and psychology. This is a fact that feminists resist, since it means that "gender inequality" is not entirely a product of discrimination or government policy.
Kingsley Browne, a professor of law at Wayne State University, has relentlessly cataloged the differences in his recent book Biology at Work. He makes an unassailable case that workplace inequality is not the doing of an evil "patriarchy," but mostly that impressive female icon -- Mother Nature.
All generalizations, of course, have exceptions. And women have made great strides in the work force since 1970. The number of women employed as lawyers, doctors and business managers has jumped. This trend will continue but will probably never eclipse the "wage gap" or shatter the "glass ceiling."
This is because males tend to be more competitive, take more risks and strive for dominance more than females -- tendencies that show up at an early age and across all cultures.
Research shows that boys engage in more competitive play than girls. Boys have a greater thrust toward dominance, hogging classroom discussions even in preschool. Browne writes, "Among unfamiliar pairs of 33-month-old children, boys are less likely to pay attention to instructions from girls than girls were to those from boys."
Boys are more active than girls and have less impulse control. A World Health Organization study found that boys are almost two times as likely as girls to die in accidents.
Men are more likely to engage in sky diving, car racing and hang gliding. Men dominate all the risky occupations. In 2000, only 36 New York City firefighters, out of 11,000, were women. More than 90 percent of workplace deaths occur among men.
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