Saturday, March 16, 2019

Why Gender Matters - Leonard Sax -------------- 4 Stars

I've had Why Gender Matters on my "to read" list for at least 10 years, and I was quite pleased to finally get to recently read. It certainly did not disappoint, as Dr. Sax's research findings were of great interest to me as both a parent and educator.

As you could probably guess from the title and cover, this book is about the biological and innate differences that are present between males and females. Going through subjects like, drugs, sex, discipline, school, motivation, etc., the author does a superb job of taking the most recent research and providing applicable suggestions to best support the children in our lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While there are parts that are a bit "academic" the vast majority of the book is told in a straightforward and clear style that it's easy to follow. As a practicing psychologist, Dr. Sax provides many stories about children/families that he has known over the years to make many of his points more clear. As he is located in Montgomery County, Maryland, it was also cool to have more awareness of some of his references to local schools and other items.

The findings are most fascinating. Like, when he shares that typical "drug education" programs for boys in schools actually increase drug use among boys after taking part in those classes. Or, when he talks about how the "aggressiveness" that so many boys displays is quite appropriate developmentally and should not be dismissed but, rather, embraced. He also shares how we need to do much more to help provide confidence and praise to young girls. Boys already have a great confidence in school (even when undeserved); while hard-working and accomplished girls still often think themselves as "less than."

The book goes on and on with fascinating findings and suggestions. The book is also interesting and potentially controversial. He offers strong viewpoints to counter the use of ADHD medication, the idea that "sex" and "gender" are different, and slightly promotes the version of "boys will be boys." Regardless, and perhaps because of these views, this books was highly interesting and easily readable. I certainly recommend this book to all readers!

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