January 8 2012

Men and Women: Different Species?

Sabrina Schaeffer

 

New research from the University of Manchester in the UK finds that men and women are so different that they could practically be different species.

Psychologist Paul Irwing and his colleagues administered a personality test to more than 10,000 people in the United States between the ages of 15 and 92 and measured for “15 personality facets, including warmth, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, social boldness, sensitivity and openness to change.”

The results found that the majority of men and women have personality traits that are very distinct from one another:

Men tend to be more dominant (forceful and aggressive) and emotionally stable, while women tend to be more sensitive, warm (attentive to others) and apprehensive, the study found.

Irwing acknowledged that these findings help (yet again…read what I wrote here) explain the difference in career choices between men and women.

This new research bolstered what I said in an interview I taped last week with Voice of America in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, legislation passed to ensure educational institutions do not discriminate on the basis of gender.

While I believe strongly in gender equality, anti-discrimination legislation like Title IX often moves beyond the goal of equality to one of parity. For instance, the proportional participation clause in Title IX makes it the case that if the number of female athletes is not “proportional” to the number of women enrolled at the institution the school is “discriminating.”  The result of which is schools cutting men’s teams to balance the scales.

Far from establishing gender equality, Title IX has helped institutionalize gender quotas and preferences. And instead of recognizing that men and women are different, and that they may choose to participate in different kinds of activities, men’s athletics have become dependent on women’s interest and participation.

What’s more, the concern over the “crisis” of women in math and science – that Irwing alludes to – has generated the desire by many feminists to expand Title IX into academics. In short, they want to legislate parity in these disciplines. But once again they are ignoring the real and important differences that exist between the genders.

At some point, I hope society will begin to accept that men and women – no matter how balanced the circumstances – maintain different strengths and preferences. Because what is very clear, is that expanding legislation in the name of “gender equality” will not actually make men and women the same. 

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