Fine quotes many of the world’s most respected psychiatrists and neuroscientists, such as Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, peddling such codswallop as: ‘The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy. The male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems.’
This, in fact, is the most persistent delusional artefact of what is known as evolutionary psychology. Women are good at feeling and men are good at thinking. Women have more ‘social’ intelligence, are better able to ‘multitask’, whereas men are better at things that require the sort of focus that can only be achieved when your wife or girlfriend is sorting out dinner.
Women can be almost as smart as men, but we’re smarter at different things, things like nurturing, listening, taking care of other people, managing social systems, throwing parties, publicising events and inventions men are in charge of, organising the diaries and offices of men that they might better concentrate on the important work, and, of course, raising children. Men, in other words, are good at doing, making and building things; women are good at making life easier for men. We’re not less smart, we’re just different smart. Smart at things that don’t involve being listened to or making an impact on the world. You know, different smart.
It’s a eugenics of gender that would be seen for the throat-closingly vile propaganda it is were the tests being done on people of different races, ethnicities or sexual preferences. And yet these myths persist because they are soothing, comforting, because they provide a halfway rational basis for the prejudices that poison our society.
Otherwise rational individuals cling to bad science to justify the ongoing dismissal of women in exactly the same way people once clung to religion to provide that same justification: once, women didn’t go into research and engineering because God had designed them to be full-time mothers; today, women don’t go into research and engineering because evolution designed them to be bad at maths and better at babies. This is, apart from anything else, a terrible misuse of a respected theory.