In the discussion between Cordelia Fine and Joe Herbert (‘Is testosterone the key to sex differences in human behaviour?’, October 2017) both agree that sexist attitudes can account for much gender imbalance in employment. However, Professor Herbert insists that biological differences, testosterone-related, account for part of the imbalance.
While he may, or may not, be right in some areas, his chosen example, bus-driving, fails to support his argument. As a child in World War 2, he might have noticed that women drivers of buses, ambulances, fire engines, vans, lorries and tractors were often to be seen.
It didn’t take the advent of power steering to nullify the upper body weakness of women, attributable to their lack of testosterone. Different gearing, steering wheel sizes, and driving techniques had already made it possible for anyone to drive heavy vehicles. It was merely the ‘unsuitability’ of women for such jobs, suspended during wartime, that kept them out of such jobs. As Cordelia Fine says.
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