The science behind persistent gender gaps in developed countries

The science behind persistent gender gaps in developed countries

Research conducted by the Karolinska Institutet shows that gender differences in psychological aspects still exist in more developed countries, with some disparities increasing and others decreasing. This study highlights the complexity of gender dynamics in relation to societal progress and living standards.

A recent study reveals that improving living conditions across countries leads to sophisticated, but persistent, psychological differences between the sexes, challenging traditional views of the equality paradox.

Psychological differences between the sexes persist in countries where living conditions have improved, according to a study published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet. Some differences increase and others diminish to the point where women appear to benefit more than men from improved living conditions. The results confirm to some extent the so-called gender paradox.

“Our study shows that the structure of strengths and weaknesses in men and women is the same, regardless of age, location or living conditions.” — Agneta Herlitz, Professor of Psychology at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Karolinska Institutet

The paradox of gender equality

Whether psychological differences between the sexes increase or decrease as living standards improve has been debated, with some researchers arguing that the differences are smaller in more equal societies. However, previous studies have shown larger differences between the sexes – a phenomenon called the equality paradox.

In their paper, the researchers showed that some differences are increasing while others are decreasing, concluding that even if living standards improve, clear gender differences are expected to persist.

“Our study shows that the characteristics of strengths and weaknesses in men and women are the same, regardless of age, location or living conditions,” explains the study’s first author, Agneta Herlitz, professor of psychology in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. At Karolinska Institutet. “Some gender differences in personality, negative emotions, and some cognitive functions are greater in countries with higher standards of living. But it is important to stress that we cannot prove any causal relationship.”

The study was conducted in two parts: a systematic review of 54 published articles and the researchers' own analyzes of 27 large-scale studies and a meta-analysis. In both analyses, they examined the relationship between a number of psychological gender differences and indicators of a country's standard of living (e.g., GDP and equality indicators).

Women show higher levels of altruism

Their results show that gender differences in personality, verbal skills, episodic memory, and negative emotions are greater in countries with higher standards of living. In terms of verbal skills and episodic memory, women appear to benefit from better conditions and outperform men. In addition, they show a higher degree of traits such as altruism and the ability to cooperate, but also show negative emotions.

“Men also show greater cognitive abilities in countries with higher standards of living, but at the same time the improvement observed in women is greater, which may mean that women are at a disadvantage in countries where the standard of living is lower,” explains the professor. Herlitz.

Meanwhile, researchers found smaller differences between men and women in sexual behavior, mate preference, and mathematics. Here, women's behavior is closer to men's in terms of more frequent sexual thoughts and actions and freer choices about their partner. In mathematics, men's progress has diminished somewhat in countries where the standard of living has improved.

READ  Free Personal Fitness Reviews Espace Sport Santé - Maison Sport Santé PSL45 Olivet Friday, November 19, 2021

“We cannot say at the moment that these changes are driven by equality more than by economic conditions,” Professor Herlitz continues. “Although our study does not reveal any explanation for these differences, previous research has shown that women appear to benefit more from a higher standard of living than men.”

The study was mainly funded by the Swedish Research Council. The researchers declare no conflicts of interest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *