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Gender Similarities Hypothesis

The gender similarities hypothesis argues that men and women and boys and girls are more alike than they are different. Most psychological variables that have been intensely studied show very small or nonexistent gender differences. Although true gender differences exist in some areas, overemphasizing gender differences has potentially negative consequences for both men and women. This entry provides an overview of the gender similarities hypothesis, the evidence on which it is based, exceptions and critiques of the hypothesis, and its implications for gender equity.

The Hypothesis

The gender similarities hypothesis was most recently articulated by psychologist Janet Shibley Hyde following decades of research on psychological gender differences and similarities. Hyde echoed the observations of early-20th-century scholars Edward Lee Thorndike, Leta Stetter Hollingworth, and Helen Thompson Woolley—all of ...

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