Monday, May 23, 2005

Women in male-dominated occupations have more sons :: Sunday Times

Satoshi Kanazawa, the LSE academic who led the research, explained last week that in the general population, roughly 105 boys are produced for every 100 girls. But according to his calculations, among engineers and other “systemisers”, the ratio is 140 boys for every 100 girls, and nurses have 135 daughters for every 100 sons.

Kanazawa said that a physicist and a mathematician would be the most likely pairing to produce a boy, while it would be worth betting that a therapist and a chat-show host would have a girl.

The study lists insurance executives, architects and management consultants as being among systemising occupations, while empathising jobs include dieticians, careers advisers and those who work with children. Kanazawa, along with other experts, is unsure exactly why the effect should occur.

John Manning, a specialist in evolutionary psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, said the findings could be due to the effect of testosterone in the womb. Manning said: “High testosterone levels before birth cause a slight excess of sons, but we don’t know why.” There was evidence that children of systemiser parents encountered more testosterone in the womb than the children of empathiser parents, and were thus more likely to be male.

Interesting line of research for a management professor.

Conclusion? Unless being in a male-dominated job causes a woman to produce more testosterone, then you cannot increase your chance of giving birth to boy by being an accountant. The causation is probably the reverse: that is, women with more testoterone are more likely to select male-dominated professions. That selection could be for reasons of aptitude or interest, or because the working environment in these occupations is accepting of females with male traits.


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