The Gender Equality Paradox

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Studies of mental functions, behaviors and the nervous system.

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Re: The Gender Equality Paradox

#41  Postby archibald » Feb 01, 2019 3:36 pm

Evolving wrote:Her illustrious predecessor, Boner Law.

I'm reminded (by that pic of Maggie) of a terrible bad taste....
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Re: The Gender Equality Paradox

#42  Postby Rumraket » Feb 06, 2019 10:19 pm

Thommo wrote:Given the much, much smaller differences in brain structure (and size, particularly the relevant measure of surface area is also much smaller) it would follow that we probably shouldn't expect too colossal of a difference when it comes to mental activities either.

I'm not so sure I buy this. Relatively minor differences in neurophysiology can have very large effects in both performance (on whatever measure), behavior, and preference. I'm not saying this because I think there's any noteworthy cognitive performance differences between men and women (afaik all studies seem to say the're almost nonexistant and across all cognitive abilities come out as a whitewash), but there can still be rather substantial preference differences.

The problem is it's difficult to correlate the magnitude of neurophysiological difference with the magnitude of behavioral difference. How much different would the brain have to be between men and women, to explain a 5, 10, or 15% difference in career choice, for example?
This is further complicated by the fact that various hormones expressed throughout the body also affect feelings and desires in non-obvious ways, so even while male and female brains (and any strict measure of cognitive performance) could be almost identical, differences in hormonal expression profiles can also contribute non-negligibly to differences in preference. Some of those hormonal differences also only start to really play out in during after puberty, so an experiment on baby-prefence even in so far as it is conducted accorting to proper scientific protocols still only has limited explanatory power.

The big question is to what extent all these factors explains variance in preference between men and women. It is difficult to conceive of how we could ever truly disentangle all the biological and sociological factors that contribute to male vs female preference.

But that raises a serious issue. How do we determine if there is truly equality of opportunity if we don't actually know what the outcome should look like? If hypothetically speaking biological factors alone predict and explain a preference ratio of (say) 30:70 men/women, or women/men in some field of occupation, then it seems to me that implementing artifical counter-biasing social policies designed to force the distribution towards 50:50 can be just as damaging as any historically instilled social bias.

Invariably someone will take me even stating these facts and unknowns as constituting some sort of excuse for the persistence of various societal injustices and differences, please don't. Something should be done about social injustices and historical biases, but we have to find out what a just goal actually is that truly takes into account the biological realities of the differences between men and women.
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Re: The Gender Equality Paradox

#43  Postby Thommo » Feb 07, 2019 9:25 am

Fair point.

As long as people are tempering their expectations I'm happy though. I'm always perturbed when people claim to know where the actual balance point will be when we've yet to find it.
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