Alice Robb discourages excessive gender-gap-awareness:
The “bike gap” is the latest in a small spate of “gender gaps” that don’t seem worth our concern. At New York’s “The Cut,” Ann Friedman says women don’t feel “at home in the world of weed.” It’s not entirely clear that Tracie Egan Morrissey, writing for Jezebel, is joking when she urges women to “close the gender gap on being potheads.” She cites research suggesting that nearly twice as many men smoke weed (or at least admit to it). The only possible explanation, according to Morrissey, is sexism. “When it comes to cultural representations, it’s generally accepted that the world of weed is a guy thing,” she writes. …
“No one bemoans the gender gap in female dominated activities,” points out journalist Jessica Grose in an email. “Where are the men in knitting or flower arranging?” Or, for that matter, where are the men in Soul Cycle? Marcotte admits that indoor cycling is dominated by women; she estimates that women make up “80 to 100 percent” of most spin classes. Yet she sees no problem.
Closing a gender gap for the sake of closing the gap is going about it all backwards. Usually gaps are symptomatic of other problems. It is important to interrogate why a gap exists, and address that problem. I don’t think you can argue that women are naturally less interested in cycling or video games or weed than men are—our choices are shaped by the culture and society we live in. That society is pretty sexist!
Instead of looking at the world with all its many group differences and appreciating that, one kind of liberal sees it all as a problem to be fixed. Let me just reiterate my own view: vive la différence! Amanda Marcotte agrees with Friedman:
I don’t think the fact that men smoke more pot than women is a problem, in and of itself, that needs fixing. But the fact that men don’t feel guilty about firing up a joint and playing Call of Duty while women think they should be spending that time on “worthwhile” activities perhaps bears a little more interrogation.
Michael Barone inserts evolutionary theory into the debate:
There are salient differences between men and women, on average, as the natural result of the evolutionary process, and those differences are reflected in different behavior and different career choices, again on average. We want a society where people can make the choices they want, but we fool ourselves if we think that in such a society men’s and women’s choices would be statistically indistinguishable.