Ignoring Sex Differences Harms Society, Studies Show (8/04)

Women, men and their children are not well served by a society that fails to acknowledge the inherent differences between the sexes, according to Steven E. Rhoads (Univ of VA), the author of a new book that presents the case that gender differences are based in nature and are not the result of a social construction. Drawing from an abundance of social science data and biological research catalogued in his new book, "Taking Sex Difference Seriously", Rhoads spoke to a packed lecture hall at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC last week. A professor of public policy at the University of Virginia for more than 30 years, Rhoads argued that "masculinity and femininity are not constructed" and he stressed that much of the differences between the sexes have firm roots in biology. He said the amounts of testosterone babies are exposed to in the womb "have a lot to do with how they turn out." Rhoads cited a study that reported that male infants are already more aggressive than females by the age of 16 months. That men are more aggressive, he said, is born out by the fact that there are 28 men in jail for killing another man for every woman incarcerated for killing another woman. Rhoads said one area where society has suffered due to the denial of this basic difference is in men's sports. Current law requires women to be equally represented in college athletics.     Because women's interest in playing sports is not as high as men's, many schools have had to cut men's programs. Rhoads is concerned that many men who need...