Have you heard? When it comes to how we think, gender doesn’t matter. There seems to be no purely male brains versus female brains. There is no difference I’ve been skeptical of that claim for years. Aren’t women in general, better nurturers? No. Next question. When Google engineer James Damore merely suggested that gender differences might explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech he was fired. In the culture war, those who claim total equality are winning. There seems to be quite a lot of you Professor Gina Rippon just wrote this book, that says “ Neuroscience has shattered the Myth of the Female Brain” I’ve certainly been talking to full houses. In Denmark, there was 1,200 people and 500 people on the waiting list. In America too, people crowd into auditoriums to hear Rippon explain – Just how different are the sexes? Sex isn’t an important differentiator? With respect to brains and brain structures, it doesn’t look as though it is. It’s important to get that message out, says Rippon, so people don’t mindlessly follow stereotypes. You don’t want an idea that this is something that’s natural It’s not natural that in school, more boys want to play football and more girls wanted to do ballet? Well I want to run and bang into people, and I’m bored by ballet. Well, I think actually girls might want to run and bang into people, but because there’s an image that girls don’t do that, they’re stopped from doing that. So thank you very much for listening And that’s what today’s audiences want to hear. We must fight it together, thank you [Applause] But in my reporting, I’ve covered research that shows big differences. For example, tests show most men have better spatial awareness. [Music] Students are blindfolded and then walk through the maze of tunnels that run underneath the campus. When the women are asked where a college building is Can you tell me where Wilson Commons is? They’re not so sure That way? Men, however, retained a sense of what direction they’d moved. Go through the next doors, take a left [Knock] Women on the other hand, have a better memory for detail. Students are asked to wait in a cluttered room while an experimenter gets something ready. How much of the room will she remember? On the right hand side of the desk right here was a briefcase with your initials at the top. Women typically give answers like this In the middle there was envelopes here, university envelopes. There was a thing of Clearasil, a Bazooka Joe comic. Men were more likely to say, “I don’t know, some stuff.” I don’t have a very good memory. Of course they might’ve been molded by our sexist society. Except that tests on infants also find differences Baby boys look longer at objects, like tractor parts. Infant girls stare at faces. Girls looked at the face and boys more likely looked at the object If you look very closely at the data, a third of the girls actually seem to respond more to the tractor parts than the boys. A third. A third. But two-thirds didn’t. So let’s do it again with a bigger set of newborns, a better controlled set of stimuli The media are clearly on Rippon’s side Seems like we’re just not that different after all But many scientists will tell you Our brains are not basically the same. You can tell, looking at brains, whether or not they belong to a male or a female, 80% of the time. Evolutionary psychologist Diana Fleischman Cultures around the world show very similar differences between men and women. Men are more likely to seek status, women are more likely to take care of children. Women are more likely to stay in the home. Men are more likely to do dangerous, aggressive things like go to war. [Thai boxer grunt] Because we men have been socialized, work’s important and you women have been told by your mothers, say, take care of the kids. Why would you see that across every culture in the world? Maybe because cultures have always encouraged men to behave this way We are the same until society influences us. Even, if you look at nonhuman animals, if you look at monkeys, they don’t have culture, and yet there’s still these very large differences between males and females. Among scientists, that’s majority opinion. Neuroscience cited 70 studies that found differences. Boys are more likely to be autistic, color-blind, and have speech problems. I stutter. Most stutterers are boys. It’s not a brain difference? That there are those kinds of brain differences and I’m definitely not a brain difference denier. It’s kind of how you’ve been presented by much of the media. Indeed, indeed. Perhaps they haven’t read the book. I bet the headline writers didn’t. On the other hand… Gina Rippon seems to be a sex difference denier depending on kind of what audience that she’s talking to. They’re thinking there’s differences between men and women. People like me stand up and say “actually no there’s not” It’s an incredibly alluring message. It’s really sad that it’s not right. Is this a really good message that we should be sending out to everybody, that there are profound or fundamental differences? It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a good message, it should just be science, what the truth is. But science is not as neat as people like to think. That hasn’t stopped politicians and businesses from demanding gender equality BBC announced it wants an equal number of men and women We reaffirmed our commitment to advance gender equality. Because politicians say that men and women are the same if women are paid less, it must be sexism. Unfortunately, a lot of scientists, people like Gina Rippon, have made it seem like, yes there should be gender parity, but, you do see that men and women have different interests. By arguing this, you perpetuate stereotypes. Sexism. Saying that men and women have different aptitudes isn’t sexism. It’s actually a statement about the true nature of the world. If we keep saying that those differences in what men and women choose to do are because of sexism, nobody’s going to end up happy with what they’re doing and we’re going to keep making laws to remedy what’s actually just the result of freedom.