Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U. A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences s the biologist Ronald Ericsson came up with a way to separate sperm carrying the male-producing Y chromosome from those carrying the X.
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The sperm with the X chromosome had a larger head and a longer tail, and so, he figured, they would get bogged down in the viscous liquid.
The sperm with the Y chromosome were leaner and faster and could swim down to the bottom of the tube more efficiently.
Ericsson had grown up on a ranch in South Dakota, where he’d developed an Old West, cowboy swagger.
The process, he said, was like “cutting out cattle at the gate.” The cattle left flailing behind the gate were of course the X’s, which seemed to please him.
“You have to be concerned about the future of all women,” Roberta Steinbacher, a nun-turned-social-psychologist, said in a 1984 People profile of Ericsson.