Is there a claim in the “Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech” section that you’re…
Ian Clarke

“On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed because:
● They’re universal across human cultures

Correlation is not causation. This is what the paper I quote discusses. For example, aggressiveness (something that is a biological difference between males and females) could grant men the upper hand in interpersonal relationships, creating a hierarchy that then imposes other behaviors on women across cultures.

● They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone

Dangerous argument. It’s just mentioning this off the cuff without linking it to any female behavior, so that readers internalize biological differences that cause psychological differences.

In fact, he is probably right that prenatal testosterone creates psychological differences, namely aggressiveness (one of the few that is consistently more present in males than females).

● Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males

Again, same thing. This is akin to dog-whistling. He’s building an argument that isn’t connected to any specifics, so it’s irrefutable, but the reader takes this in and builds up an image of females being indeed psychologically different due to biological differences.

● The underlying traits are highly heritable
● They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective
Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”

This is the dangerous statement. He’s using the loosely argued and unquoted arguments above to build up his case that there’s biological differences. In fact, he has no backup, and that case is dangerous.

Then, the 3 psychological consequences he claims below are dangerous and wrong.

Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
 ○ These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.


This, by the way, happened mostly in the US. Not shared in all countries. Of his links:

  • One of his links is to the wikipedia
  • The other is to a paper that observes differences across some cultures. As we discussed—and you remind me—correlation is not causation. This is a psychological difference, not one rooted in biology.
Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
 ○ This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.

No quote to support this claim, so no support.

Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).
 ○ This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.

Wikipedia quote, so no support.

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