Is there really such a thing as a ‘man’s job’? Are women better multitaskers? Is there a deeper biological reason why more men work in engineering and more women work in education? These are questions that have been asked for centuries, but is there a concrete answer?
Can we really dig down into the biology of gender to see if one gender is inherently at an advantage to the other? Well, it turns out that we can. In 1990, Janet Shibley Hyde PhD, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin published a study showing that there were no large differences in cognitive ability between boys and girls.
This isn’t the only study carried out in relation to gender and cognitive ability, there have been countless more that prove that is nurture, rather than nature that ultimately informs academic performance.
In this article we take a look at some of the most widely held beliefs surrounding gender and intelligence and shine a light on them. Read on to find out what beliefs are based in truth and which are totally wrong.
Men are Better at Mathematics
It is commonly believed by many that males are naturally more talented at mathematics than their female counterparts. That’s not just in the world of academia but in almost every other area where maths plays a prominent role.
Take gambling for example, many amateur and professional gamblers believe that males are better players than females because of their natural mathematical talent. However, this has not been proven to be true and in fact, females enjoy and play many types of casino games and in fact, there are many successful poker players that are female. With the transition of casinos online, many females now feel more comfortable playing casino games on sites like 888casino, rather than playing at a land-based casino. Whilst playing online, females can remain anonymous and play a public game of roulette or blackjack taking on their male counterparts.
The evidence given to support this claim that male are better at mathematics, is that there are more men than women working in mathematical industries. Whilst this may be true it is not indicative of a greater mathematical ability, all it shows is that maths is a male dominated industry. Teaching is a female dominated industry but that is not used as proof that women are smarter than men.
There is no scientific evidence to support that males are better at mathematics than females.
In fact, there have been hundreds of studies into the mathematical abilities of the two genders, the majority of which have found that the differences between males and females are negligible.
Men are Better Communicators
Whenever the point is raised about there being more men in politics, law or any other profession that relies on communication it is usually posited that it is because men are naturally better communicators than women.
Women confuse things, don’t cut to the chase and struggle to bring to life difficult to understand concepts… apparently.
Yet what numerous studies have shown is quite the opposite, women are actually better communicators than men. These studies have shown that women use around double the amount of words a day as men (20,000).
The differences in communication skills between the two genders are most likely a result of societal pressures than inherent biology.
In addition to that, females have been showed to be more engaged listeners which makes them more capable of paraphrasing and summarizing things that have been said to them. Another thing that studies have pinpointed though is that female’s superior communication skills are not down to biology.
Rather it comes down to how the two genders development diverges in teenage years, with female’s improving their communication at this age and males stalling in their development. Once again though, this is down to nurture rather than nature.
One Gender is Superior to the Other
Since the industrial revolution scientists have been eager to prove that one gender, race or nationality is inherently superior to all others. The common theme throughout history though has been that these differences have always attempted to be proved by those in positions of privilege.
Whether it is a white, colonial scientist trying to prove that his race is superior to the one that is being conquered as a means of justification. Or conversely, whether a male is attempting to prove that his position of power and privilege over women is a result of nature rather than systemic sexism.
What biology actually tells us though is that there are relatively few differences between the male and female brain and therefore nothing to differentiate the cognitive abilities of each gender. The so-called differences that we see between males and females are therefore more likely a result of our societies than our biology. We are much more likely to see a male President in the United States than a female one, not because of an innate political superiority in males than females but because of systemic sexism.
Likewise, men are not worse communicators than women because they were born that way or because their brains are hardwired differently. Men are on average poorer communicators because societal norms dictate that early developmental stages.
In summary, gender does not play a role in cognitive ability. For that, we have to point the finger at society.