Personality differences between the sexes are largest in the most gender equal countries

October 12, 2018, University of Gothenburg
Petri Kajonius. Credit: Petri Kajonius. The University of Skövde.

The self-rated personalities of men and women differ more in more gender-equal countries, according to recent research from the University of Gothenburg, University West and the University of Skövde.

In the study over 130,000 people from 22 different countries filled in a validated test. The test measured the "big five" (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism), regarded as the most accepted categorization within .

The average between men and women's personality scores were computed for each country and then compared with the country's equality level as measured by the World Economic Forum.

Replicating past research, the study showed that higher levels of gender equality were associated with larger differences in personality between the sexes. Countries with very high levels of gender equality, such as Sweden and Norway, showed differences in personality between the sexes that were around twice as large as countries with substantially lower levels of gender equality, such as China and Malaysia.

Furthermore, women generally rated themselves as more worried (neuroticism), social (extraversion), inquisitive (openness), caring (agreeableness) and responsible (conscientiousness) than men, and these relative differences were larger in gender equal countries.

"Insofar as these traits can be classified as stereotypically feminine, our interpretation of the data is that as countries become more progressive men and women gravitate towards their traditional gender norms. But, we really don't know why it is like this, and sadly our data does not let us tease out the causal explanations," says Erik Mac Giolla, Ph.D. in Psychology.

"A possible explanation is that people in more progressive and equal countries have a greater opportunity to express inherent biological differences. Another theory is that people in progressive countries have a greater desire to express differences in their identity through their gender," says Petri Kajnoius, Associate Professor in Psychology and Behavioral Measurements.

A combination of social role theory and evolutionary perspectives may ultimately be needed to explain these findings.

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9 comments

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mqr
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2018
the deafening silence of the feminists.....

the same silence of papers that show that women start physical attacks in relationships..... or anything that shows that women are not walking on water.

this paper explains partially the differences in the careers that men and women study, as it is difficult to work in science if you like to socialize too much and if you are too emotional.
Squirrel
not rated yet Oct 12, 2018
Sex differences in personality are larger in gender equal countries: Replicating and extending a surprising finding
E Mac Giolla, PJ Kajonius - International Journal of Psychology, 2018
https://onlinelib...op.12529
https://doi.org/1...op.12529
(paywalled)
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Oct 13, 2018
mqr, it's a pity that in your monastery cell, you are strictly sequestered from females.

Oh wait, maybe I should correct that to: It must be a very big relief for all the females enduring your existence? When the door slaps you on the butt as you exit the room. Yeah, that seems a lot more accurate.

Your deep abiding fear and loathing of females symbolizes the pathos of your life. No one around to teach you the difference between being a pre-adolescent male and being a matured, adult man? Now that's a pity!

My opinion of the apparent difference between societies? That oppressive societies enforce a submissive attitude on both men and women.

A progressive society permits people to self-select their own roles in life.
Eikka
not rated yet Oct 14, 2018
A progressive society permits people to self-select their own roles in life.


True, and the observation is mainly an argument against gender quotas in the workplace and other such measures - because if the people don't even want to be there - why force it in the name of "equality"?

Its got to to with the argument that a woman earns 80 cents to the dollar on average - well, if that's because women choose to work in occupations that pay less, what should we do about it? We can't arbitrarily and positively discriminate them, first of all because that would be patently anti-egalitarian, and secondly because it would break the market mechanism to subsidize people or fix their wages up based on gender.

It's fundamentally the question of whether equality means equality of opportunity, or of outcome, and those who argue women are the same as men argue that because of this, there's something wrong with the system. Well, it might not be true.
Eikka
not rated yet Oct 14, 2018
I mean, imagine the argument: "We're going to pay you an extra 20% because you're a woman, because you're biologically inclined to work in occupations that pay less because we need these services to be cheap."

Oh wait, by fixing that "pay gap", you effectively make those services more expensive to the entire society, and, you enable women to accept even lower pay in competition for these jobs, which pushes the wages further down and increases the pay gap.

There's no solution to the problem by re-distributing wealth. The only working solution is re-distributing the work more equally, which is why the people who keep arguing over it are trying to force the idea that women and men are not different, categorically denying that there is any inherent bias between the genders, and that the issue CAN be fixed politically through social engineering (meaning: give us political power, we'll fix the issue, while we fix ourselves a free lunch).

Eikka
not rated yet Oct 14, 2018
Of course, people might argue that we have a value problem in not recognizing the true worth of the work that the women perform, and that it's a bias inherently resulting from patriarchal values.

Well, you think about that the next time you see a feminist latte liberal tapping on a $1000 iPhone.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Oct 14, 2018
"measured the "big five" personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism)"

-What about rationality? Appreciation of reason? Women by and large dont want to know 'why'. They're concerned with what and when and who, but care relatively little about why things happen. They just want things done, and they want them done now.

We cant escape our biology. We just dont understand what our biology is quite yet.
ShotmanMaslo
not rated yet Oct 14, 2018
This parallels research results when it comes to genetics and intelligence, which showed that in developed countries genetics plays a larger role in determining intelligence than in less developed ones. When you decrease the importance of environmental factors by creating an egalitarian environment, inherent factors will play a relatively larger role.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (2) Oct 14, 2018
I do not understand how fearful these commentators are of competing openly and fairly and honestly with those they despise.

If you are so superior (if only in your self-delusions) I would think you would relish the opportunity to kick butt by allowing other people the opportunity to compete with you?

Instead, I just hear whining from the you. That those you hate and fear might have an honest chance at proving their quality. And improving the quality of their lives. Out from under your jackboots.

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