Friday, June 02, 2023

Gender inequality is associated with differences between the brains of men and women

Sobering but not surprising analysis by Jugman et al.:  


Gender inequality is associated with worse mental health and academic achievement in women. Using a dataset of 7,876 MRI scans from healthy adults living in 29 different countries, we here show that gender inequality is associated with differences between the brains of men and women: cortical thickness of the right hemisphere, especially in limbic regions such as the right caudal anterior cingulate and right medial orbitofrontal, as well as the left lateral occipital, present thinner cortices in women compared to men only in gender-unequal countries. These results suggest a potential neural mechanism underlying the worse outcome of women in gender-unequal settings, as well as highlight the role of the environment in the brain differences between women and men.
Gender inequality across the world has been associated with a higher risk to mental health problems and lower academic achievement in women compared to men. We also know that the brain is shaped by nurturing and adverse socio-environmental experiences. Therefore, unequal exposure to harsher conditions for women compared to men in gender-unequal countries might be reflected in differences in their brain structure, and this could be the neural mechanism partly explaining women’s worse outcomes in gender-unequal countries. We examined this through a random-effects meta-analysis on cortical thickness and surface area differences between adult healthy men and women, including a meta-regression in which country-level gender inequality acted as an explanatory variable for the observed differences. A total of 139 samples from 29 different countries, totaling 7,876 MRI scans, were included. Thickness of the right hemisphere, and particularly the right caudal anterior cingulate, right medial orbitofrontal, and left lateral occipital cortex, presented no differences or even thicker regional cortices in women compared to men in gender-equal countries, reversing to thinner cortices in countries with greater gender inequality. These results point to the potentially hazardous effect of gender inequality on women’s brains and provide initial evidence for neuroscience-informed policies for gender equality.


  1. Anonymous6:50 AM

    This is the most unreliable and biased study ever read. Especially because old Caucasian men dominated science for centuries by ensuring to make it hard to almost impossible for women and minorities to break the barrier.
    Not to mention that that many men have famously stolen work and careers, and continue to do so today in many fields. Most notably, physics, where sexual harassment and rape are the daily bread of the white male resigning without merit.
    These studies fuel anger to fuel more inequality. It is not as if a gender neutral being sat on a throne deciding who's research is better.
    And finally, as for listening skills, we men would kill ourselves before actually listening with interest. We do so only and exclusively when it is convenient.

  2. Anonymous6:53 AM

    Yet again evidence of slavery in the world of science.

  3. Anonymous7:09 AM

    I do NOT recall being interviewed by a gender neutral fairy.
    As a white man in STEM research I start closer to the finish line and get applauded much more easily than anyone who's not a man and not white.
    What exactly is this study trying to do? As a researcher I am worried, as father... Scared.