Pretending that men and women are the same

Pretending that men and women are the same
It is increasingly becoming heretical to say that there are differences between the sexes, writes David Quinn


Not that you would think it from reading our newspapers, but one of the things that Pope Francis frequently criticises is so-called ‘gender ideology’. This is the belief that men and women are the same and if we appear different it is only because of the way we are raised. Aside from the obvious biological ones, we are told that there are no natural differences between men and women and to suggest otherwise, is sexism.

To give an example, if you point out that more women than men become nurses, or teachers, or childcare workers, and then suggest that is because women are drawn more naturally to jobs involving the care of people, you are being sexist. The only reason more women are to be found in those jobs, say the feminists, is because of the way they were raised.

Likewise, if you point out that there are more men than women in the army, or the police, or in construction work, or engineering. That is also purely down to the way men are raised, we are told. It is not because men are more naturally drawn than women to jobs that involve risk and physical action and working with objects rather than with people.


Not all feminists deny that there are natural differences between the sexes, but gender feminists do. They say that with a different upbringing and a different set of social expectations, you could flip the current situation on its head completely, and you would have far more men than women working in childcare, and far more women than men working in the sciences.

Better still, the gender feminists would argue, there should be an equal number of men and women working in all jobs, across the board.

Another scientist got himself into big trouble this week (maybe he will have been sacked by the time you read this, or else have issued a grovelling apology), for saying that less well-qualified female scientists are being promoted over better qualified male scientists simply because they are female, and all across the sciences formal and informal gender quotas are now in operation that favour women.

Science is another area historically dominated by men. The traditional explanation for this is that men are more drawn to working with things. The feminist explanation is that men were encouraged into the sciences and women were not.

This is why there have been huge efforts in recent times to encourage girls to study one or more of the STEM subjects, i.e. science, technology, engineering or maths. The hope is that over time, more and more girls will have flourishing careers in one of areas.

Prof. Alessandro Strumia of Pisa University told a workshop this week at a major physics seminar at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN).that male scientists are being discriminated against in favour of women. He has since been suspended by CERN.

According to a report, he produced “a series of graphs which, he claimed, showed that women were hired over men whose research was cited more by other scientists in their publications, which is an indication of higher quality”.

To add insult to injury, he also cited research showing that women are indeed more naturally drawn to jobs involving the care of people, while men are naturally more drawn to jobs involving the study of things.

In feminist eyes, everything he has said is heresy. You cannot say men and women have natural differences, and you cannot say that better qualified men are being passed over for the sake of less qualified women. In feminist eyes, only women are ever discriminated against.

I landed in something of a social media storm myself a few months ago when I quoted the American feminist, Camille Paglia (she rejects gender theory), who has rightly pointed out that men are responsible for almost the entirety of the built environment.

Even though it is completely true, you are not allowed to say it.

The key question here is whether there are, in fact, any natural differences between men and women that draw us, in general, to one job or the other? Are women naturally more drawn to jobs involving the care of people, and are men naturally more drawn to jobs involving physical risk, and those involving the study or manipulation of objects?

One way to answer the question might be to look at societies that give women lots of freedom and make huge efforts to combat direct and indirect gender discrimination and stereotyping and then compare them with societies that give women less freedom.

One society that has probably gone further down the feminist path than any other, is Sweden. But Sweden has a lower percentage of women working in the STEM fields than practically any country in the world. Finland and Norway are worse. Ireland, which now prides itself on its feminism, isn’t far behind.

What countries have much larger numbers of women working in the STEM fields? The likes of Algeria it turns out, which is not famed for its gender equality.

Meanwhile, in Sweden women are still dominating the caring professions like nursing and childcare. If Sweden is failing so miserably to alter the general job preferences of men and women, is it because those preferences have a strong natural basis after all, and are less to do with how we are raised than gender feminists would like to think?

The insistence that men and women are the same might be harmless enough were it not for the fact that it is now leading to policies that are directly discriminatory against men, namely gender quotas which can result in better qualified men being passed over in favour of less qualified women. A society that truly rejects discrimination gives the job to the best person, regardless of sex.

For more information about the relationship between gender and STEM subjects, see: