Brain Differences Can’t Explain “Neurosexism”

2womendoctorssmall I am frequently asked how important the brain is in looking at differences between the genders. Too much has been incorrectly attributed to "different wiring" to conveniently explain everything from the dearth of  women in upper management to why so few choose to work in science and engineering fields. In actuality, for most mental exercises, variance between individuals is far greater than the difference between the average man and woman. In New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times, UK psychologist Cordelia Fine explains the skewing of much "gender difference" in neuroscience research with a term she calls "neurosexism". "It’s easier to say there are differences between girls’ and boys’ brains than to look at what pressures in the classroom might be affecting boys and girls." For example, it’s easier to blame brain chemistry than to raise uncomfortable issues about inequalities in the workplace or in relationships. Fine continues "People who subscribe to gender stereotypes like to have their views vindicated – and if you can have your views vindicated with the help of neuroscience, all the better."

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