The Myth of Female Multitasking

Much has been made of women and their magical power to multitask. They can handle work, household responsibilities, paying the bills, family health care needs, and monitor the kids all while keeping themselves looking lovely. To this I say, “Bunkum!”

It’s become conventional wisdom that females are masters at juggling a variety of tasks at once while men are best off focusing on one thing at a time. This topic exploded in the media in 2007 when cell phone manufacturer Nokia released the results of an online survey suggesting that women were superior at multitasking.

You should always be suspicious of online surveys. They may be fun and interesting, but they are not scientific —however, there was one finding in the survey that speaks volumes:

Only six percent of women believe that men are better at doing more than one thing at a time.

So, is this a study about multitasking or perceptions of multitasking?

And who says men can’t multitask. As an example I mapped my activities on Sunday, December 13 between 1pm and 4pm —a time during which I watched two football games, listened to a third on the radio, and cooked a delicious dinner:

multitasking 1

If that’s not multitasking, I don’t know what is? So there.

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