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But choosing a career is not just linked to how good you are at something. For example, taxi drivers in London who take "The Knowledge", a test to prove they know the streets of the city inside out, end up with bigger areas in their brains which are linked to memory.It is also about whether you like it, and if you want to work at it. And if it is difficult to work out whether there is anything biological behind ability, it is perhaps even more difficult to interrogate what makes people – men or women – interested in something.Male brain v female brain But perhaps the more controversial question, which is rarely addressed, is whether there are any inherent differences in the average female and male brain that affect ability in different fields; that is, is there any science behind the lack of women in science?In a recent article, Dr Stoet recalls an example from Harvard University in 2005, when a professor suggested to a group the gender gap in science may have something to do with biology.There are also differences in hormones, of course, which can also affect brain function," says Professor Petroc Sumner, a neuroscience expert at Cardiff University.In 2013, a US team scanned nearly 1,000 male and female brains and found that they appeared to be wired differently, with different pathways connecting up the brain.It then moves to toys: a chemistry set for John, and a doll for Jill.In January, the chair of London’s Science Museum Dame Mary Archer inadvertently blamed mixed-gender schools for the dearth of female scientists - claiming she became a one at a single sex school because there was nobody around to say to her “Don’t do that dear”.
"There is evidence that girls and boys have, on average, slight differences in brain structure and connections, at least by teenage years.
Just 13 per cent of workers in these industries are women, according to Women in to Science and Engineering (WISE), one of the groups set up to attempt to tackle this issue.
We've all heard reasons why this might be: gender stereotyping from birth - blue things for a boy, pink for a girl.
“Another way to put this is that both sexes have equal scientific ability but females have a stronger interest in people.” Back in 2003, Professor Baron-Cohen was worried, like Dr Stoet now, that these kinds of comments would ignite the battle of the sexes.
He wrote: “Some people may worry that this is suggesting one sex is better than the other, but a moment’s reflection should allay that fear.