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>It's not that women are too timid, it's that they are making the optimal short-term choice. [...] I would also suggest that if enough women ignored the stigma associated with being labeled a bitch, they would move the line is drawn a bit. That's not always possible but again, being aware of it helps.

I wonder what kind of critical mass would be necessary to shift the norms, even in relatively liberal places, such that when a man and a woman both start talking, it's even odds which one will continue talking? '

I think it's also possible, at least in many groups, to have people look at the gestalt of your behavior. If you're friendly and helpful in one-on-ones, but in meetings tend to speak up more, then you're ought to be likely to be labeled a bitch (or whatever the male equivalent is) than if you're pushy and domineering all the time.

It'll probably end up being like something that approaches a limit more than exact equality. Five hundred years ago, women were barely better off than slaves. A hundred years ago, they couldn't vote. Fifty years ago, it was still considered impolite for them to have strong political views. Now, they are subtly discriminated against by men in a variety of contexts, but probably less so than at any time before in history. Fifty years from now, if we keep working on it, it'll probably be less. But I have trouble visualizing a model of the human brain where all of that discriminatory behavior is learned. Until we can edit our minds, there will probably still be some inequality.

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