Paradox of Patriarchy: The More Female Equality, the More Different Men and Women Are
We all know what is meant to happen when the genders become more equal. As women smash glass ceilings and open up education, other differences should disappear too.Note that “women in parliament” may be a poor indicator, since it often is the result of affirmative action or even explicit quotas. Education is much better, and “women in the workforce” probably is too, although in a lot of poor countries women are in the workforce because the family is dirt poor and they have to take a sweatshop job to survive.
Without the psychological shackles of being the second sex, women are free to think and behave as they want; to become physicists or CEOs, unfettered by outdated stereotypes.
Yet, to the confusion of psychologists, we are seeing the reverse. The more gender equality in a country, the greater the difference in the way men and women think. It could be called the patriarchy paradox.
Two psychology studies support this counter-intuitive idea, but no one can properly explain it.
In a survey of about 130,000 people from 22 countries, scientists from the University of Gothenburg found that countries with more women in the workforce, parliament and education were also those in which psychological traits among men and women diverged more widely.
In China, which still scores low on gender parity, the personality overlap between men and women was found to be about 84 per cent. In the Netherlands, which is among the most gender equal societies, it was 61 per cent.No, it’s not.
Erik Mac Giolla, the study’s lead researcher, said that, if anything, the results found a bigger difference than in previous work. Personality is typically measured using the “big five” traits of openness, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. Women typically score higher on all of them, but there is always overlap.
“It seems that as gender equality increases, as countries become more progressive, men and women gravitate towards traditional gender norms,” Dr Mac Giolla said. “Why is this happening? I really don’t know.”
In a separate study, published online in Plos One, of countries ranked as less gender-equal by the World Economic Forum, women were more likely to choose traditionally male courses such as the sciences.
Steve Stewart-Williams, from the University of Nottingham, said that there was too much evidence of this effect to consider it a fluke. “It’s not just personality. The same counter-intuitive pattern has been found in choice of academic speciality, choice of occupation, crying frequency, depression, happiness and interest in casual sex.
“It’s definitely a challenge to one prominent stream of feminist theory, according to which almost all the differences between the sexes come from cultural training and social roles.”
Dr Stewart-Williams, author of The Ape That Understood the Universe, said an explanation could be that those living in wealthier and more genderequal societies have greater freedom to pursue their own interests and behave more individually, so magnifying natural differences.
Whatever the reason for the findings, he argued that they mean we should stop thinking of sex differences in society as being automatically a product of oppression. “These differences may be indicators of the opposite: a relatively free and fair society,” he said.
“Treating men and women the same makes them different, and treating them differently makes then the same. I don’t think anyone predicted that. It’s bizarre.”
It’s only bizarre to believe that men and women are identical in their innate psychological traits. That’s a rigid dogma for feminists, but utterly foreign to cognitive psychology, and indeed foreign to pretty much all of humanity through all of history.
Are They Young Earth Creationists?Leftists sneer at conservative Christians for not believing in evolution, but can’t get their head around the notion that the evolutionary process would exploit sexual dimorphism to improve the evolutionary fitness of the species. And not merely in obvious ways like men having a greater muscle mass (the better to hunt game and fight off attackers).
There is every reason to believe that evolution would result in women being psychologically different from men — on average. For example, the lower conscientiousness and neuroticism in men may increase the evolutionary fitness of a particular tribe or clan because men have to hunt game and fight off enemies. Being neurotic and fastidious is counter-productive in those activities.
But when women are conscientiousness about sanitation in the camp or village, and a bit neurotic about possibly tainted food or dangers children face, the survival prospects of the group increase.
While contradicting feminist dogma, these findings show that equality of opportunity for women is a good thing. That is, if feminists (and the elites who pander to them) will let women be what they want to be. Which for many women — but not all — will be different from what men want to be.