Tom Whipple for The Times writes:
“It seems that as gender equality increases, as countries become more progressive, men and women gravitate towards traditional gender norms,” Dr Mac Giolla said. “Why is this happening? I really don’t know.”
Steve Stewart-Williams, from the University of Nottingham, said that there was now too much evidence of this effect to consider it a fluke. “It’s not just personality,” he said. “The same counterintuitive pattern has been found in many other areas, including attachment styles, choice of academic speciality, choice of occupation, crying frequency, depression, happiness and interest in casual sex.
“It’s definitely a challenge to one prominent stream of feminist theory, according to which almost all the differences between the sexes come from cultural training and social roles.”
Dr Stewart-Williams, author of The Ape That Understood the Universe, said an explanation could be that those living in wealthier and more gender-equal societies had greater freedom to pursue their own interests and behave more individually, so magnifying natural differences.
“Treating men and women the same makes them different, and treating them differently makes then the same. I don’t think anyone predicted that. It’s bizarre.”