Government minister Liz Truss has told the Financial Times’ ‘Women on Top’ event that none of the differences in outcomes between men and women (‘inequalities’ as she puts it) can be explained by innate biological or psychological sex differences. There is ‘no scientific basis’ for such claims, she says.
This is pure feminist mythology, and is the more worrying because Truss is the ‘Conservative’ minister for Women and Equalities, responsible for overseeing national policy and legislation in this area.
Clearly, men and women are statistically different in a number of ways, and these differences have a substantial impact on their preferences, needs and outcomes.
To take the most obvious examples, women are shorter, smaller and less strong. They have higher voices and are the fairer sex. They bear and nurse children.
In countries with higher levels of freedom for women, sex differences become more not less pronounced.
Psychologically, they are more emotionally engaged and less emotionally resilient, which helps make them more empathetic, more people-oriented, more verbal, more conciliatory, and more risk-averse.
These differences are why boys and girls tend to play with different toys, take up different hobbies, and like different TV shows and films.
They are why in countries with higher levels of freedom for women, sex differences become more not less pronounced, because when women are freer to live as they wish they tend to make more choices differently to men.
They are why women are more likely to be found in certain occupations and with more family-friendly working patterns.
Anyone who claims to respect or care about women but does not fully grasp the significance of these statistical differences cannot truly understand how to make life better for women.
They may be well-intentioned, but they will consistently take action that harms women as a group because they have not fully understood how women differ from men and how that affects their interests and their needs.
Men, too, are the victims of this folly, their distinctive masculine qualities being neglected or treated as problems to be solved rather than powers to be harnessed and celebrated.
Discrimination also appears as a serious problem, as women are given special treatment and men are side-lined or overlooked to attempt to hit the elusive 50-50 targets.
With Conservatives like these, who needs socialists?
Liz Truss wants to ‘change our culture once and for all’ to make it more ‘equal’ by reducing the differences between men and women. This is feminist social engineering of the worst kind, arbitrarily aiming at equal outcomes for men and women despite the numerous innate differences between them.
Would that genuine conservatives, not taken in by the latest fashions in gender and feminist theory, hold sway within the so-called Conservative Party.
It leads one to ask: with Conservatives like these, who needs socialists or Marxists? No matter how you vote, it’s always the cultural revolutionaries, with their wrongheaded and harmful notions of false equality, who end up in power.
(Dr Will Jones is a maths graduate with a PhD in political philosophy and author of Evangelical Social Theology: Past and Present [Grove, 2017]. He blogs at Faith and Politics)