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< Back to question Is our gender determined by nature or nurture? Show more Show less

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, so the saying goes. But are the behavioural differences between men and women the result of social and cultural conventions? Or are our gender-specific behaviours driven by biological factors?

Gender is determined by biological factors Show more Show less

This position holds that biological factors play a role in determining gender identity
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Gender differences caused by evolution

This argument suggests gender roles have been crafted through the process of evolution,
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The theory of evolution was popularized by Charles Darwin in the nineteenth century by his work on natural selection, a change in heritable traits of a population over generations.

The Argument

Through natural selection, women have evolved to be the carers of children whilst men have evolved to be the providers for their families. This leads to unique behavioral differences between the two sexes, and has a big impact on gender role. Evolutionary characteristics held by woman include being more caring, protective and loyal than men. Evolutionary characteristics held by men include like being more: aggressive, competitive and dominant than women.

Counter arguments

The sexual division of labor has been proposed as an explanation for various noted cognitive differences between sexes, however individual differences are greater than the average differences between sexes, and furthermore these differences become void with very short training. These small observed cognitive differences could very easily be the result of socialization, instead of a minor evolutionary adaptation.


Gender role division appears as an evolutionary adaptation to the challenges faced by humans in prehistory.

Rejecting the premises

Any perceived evolutionary gender differences play a nugatory role in shaping personality in the 21st century.


    This page was last edited on Thursday, 13 Feb 2020 at 09:12 UTC

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