By Peter Andrews, Irish science journalist and writer based in London. He has a background in the life sciences, and graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in genetics
A major study of almost 350,000 people in 48 countries shows that sex differences in personality are higher in countries with higher levels of gender equality. The feminists were wrong again – they ignore biology at their peril.
Personality studies are one of the more fascinating fields of modern psychology. They are not, however, a very ‘woke’ one. These studies often find that women are higher in traits like Neuroticism and Agreeableness than men; traits which may impact on career earnings. Pointing this fact out was what got James Damore, author of the fabled ‘Google memo’, in so much trouble back in 2017.
And a new study published in the Journal of Personality, entitled: ‘Sex Differences in HEXACO Personality Characteristics Across Countries and Ethnicities’, is the latest to make for awkward reading for postmodern university professors, militant feminists, and others who would deny the facts of life. This study used a six-trait model known as HEXACO, which stands for: Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, eXtraversion, Agreeableness (versus Anger), Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience.
In the study, 347,192 people filled out questionnaires in which they ranked how strongly they agreed with statements such as “I like to watch television” or “I often go for walks.” The study took in data across several years and from 48 countries, which were ranked by gender equality using a blend of two metrics: the Gender Gap Index and the Human Development Index.
Unsurprisingly, the Nordic countries come out on top in this index, followed by Ireland, Switzerland and New Zealand. Down at the bottom are bastions of political correctness like Kenya, Lebanon, India and, in last place, Pakistan. Perhaps postmodern feminists should do some field reporting in those countries to learn how we in the West can have more male nurses and female engineers. I am certain we could spare some.
Lo and behold, this mammoth study replicated previous findings by showing that women scored substantially higher than men in Emotionality and Honesty-Humility. Furthermore, broken down at the national level, the sex differences in Emotionality were larger in wealthy and gender-egalitarian countries. Finally, as if to drive the final nail into the coffin of the biology-deniers, the sex differences in Emotionality showed little ethnic variation within English-speaking countries. This means that the gender-equal societies were indeed the thing driving the sex differences, rather than the presence of certain non-native ethnic groups.
Emotionality is characterised by traits like anxiety, physical harm avoidance, emotional attachment and sensitivity, and is thought to come in handy for protecting children. It should not be surprising that women are programmed to be higher than men in this trait; unless, that is, you are woke. Although the greatest difference by far was in Emotionality, there were other, smaller effects. Men scored higher in the sub-traits of Patience and Prudence and Inquisitiveness, while women were higher in Aesthetic Appreciation and Altruism.
The authors describe the key finding of the paper, that sex differences are directly proportional to gender equality, as “counter-intuitive.” But it is only counter-intuitive if your intuitions are staunchly postmodern, blank slate-ist and anti-scientific. A person whose understanding of society goes beyond sociology (at least the postmodern brand) and accepts the notion that biology plays any part at all, realises that when you minimise one variable, you maximise the effect of the other. So in an environment controlled with respect to gender relations – such as a wealthy, egalitarian society – there is nothing left to differentiate people’s lives but their inherent urges. In other words, for both men and women, their biology takes over when they are free to make their own decisions.
The wrong king of equality
As usual, the problem (if there is one) comes down to ‘equality of opportunity’ versus ‘equality of outcome’. It used to be in the West that women, black people and other ethnic groups really were obstructed from going certain places and doing certain things. Throughout the 20th century, but particularly in the 1960s, great advances were made in doing away with these inequalities. There are now extensive laws on the books to stop this discrimination – many of which arguably tread into the territory of discrimination against ‘historically privileged’ groups, such as Appalachian hillbillies and ‘white’ Ashkenazi Jews.
But as has become increasingly apparent ever since, equality of opportunity was not good enough for some activists (who ironically are mostly middle-class university-educated people). These people could not understand, or chose not to understand, why the utopia they envisioned (which would be a dystopia to many) did not materialise. They thought that allowing women to pursue careers if they so choose would, or should, result in at least one woman and one ‘person of colour’ to each ‘white male’ in every position of power in every industry. Of course, they are not concerned with the more run-of-the-mill positions, or anything below Fortune-500 board level or US president.
Woke ‘intellectuals’ are eager to point out the difference between gender and sex whenever they can. They claim that gender is a ‘social construct’, whereas sex is simply a nasty process that has something to do with genitalia. (Of course, despite being a social construct, gender is also somehow all-important to these people, vastly more interesting, variable and essential to a person’s identity than sex.) In any case, here is a simple sentence that I offer up to sociology professors everywhere to help their students remember the distinction: When gender equality increases, sex differences do too.