Gender differences

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The response from Sarah Mathieson (Letters, 14 July) to Dr Gijsbert Stoet’s assertion that females do not make physicists was measured and thoughtful. However, I suspect that, in different ways, they are both right.

Research into personality differences seems to indicate that there are slightly more males than females who prefer to make decisions through rational calculation rather than emotional empathy, which latter tends to be preferred by females. Consequently, statistically more men than women will be drawn to professions where this approach is needed, such as science.

The research of Professor Daniel Baron-Cohen, in particular, supports the idea of gender difference and types of intelligence, although he has received some “stick” from feminists.

Surely, though, even if there are always to be statistically fewer female physicists, this should mean that those who do want to enter the field should be nurtured and encouraged because they bring a different, and valuable, perspective.

A similar phenomenon has occurred in nursing, a profession where not long ago only women were allowed to train, yet now men entering the nursing profession have made a welcome contribution to its development. 

Dr Mary Brown

Dalvenie Road

Banchory, Aberdeenshire