Researchers from the University of Rochester in New York state analysed tests on more than 13,300 adults and declared that there's a difference between the sexes to be rubbish.
Battle of the sexes: gender stereotypes "hinder people from looking at their partner as an equal", say the researchers
The scientists looked at the differences on a range of 122 issues from their attitudes and beliefs to emotions and ability, from whether they are good at maths to what they watch on TV. And the result is: there is hardly any difference when it comes to the most important personality traits. Even those characteristics which many believe are either masculine or feminine are not. Women can be as aggressive, mentally, as men and men can be as empathetic as women. Being ambitious is not necessarily a male characteristic, even though it is portrayed as such, while women are as good at maths as men.
Emotionally, men and women often have the same attitude to relationships, independence and look for the same qualities in a partner, said researchers. And when couples fall out, they are wrong to blame it on sexual differences - her stubbornness, his lack of sensitivity for instance. "Men and women, by and large, do not fall into different groups. Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. No matter how strange and inscrutable your partner may seem, their gender is probably only a small part of the problem."
Men and women believe there are differences between themselves because of attitudes that start when they are born, said report author Professor Harry Reis. He said: "People think about the sexes as distinct categories. Boy or girl? Is the first question parents are asked about their newborn, and sex persists through life as the most pervasive characteristic used to distinguish categories among humans."
Out of 122 different areas of life there were very few where there was a huge gap between men and women. The exceptions were stereotype interests - cosmetics and sewing for women, boxing and footbal for men, for instance. The researchers said they hoped the results would end men and women being so easily categorised into distinct personality types.
They wrote: "Contrary to the assertions of pop psychology titles like "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus", it is untrue that men and women think about their relationships in qualitatively different ways. Even leading researchers in gender and stereotyping can fall into the same trap. When something goes wrong between partners, people often blame the other partner's gender immediately. Having gender stereotypes hinders people from looking at their partner as an individual. They may also discourage people from pursuing certain kinds of goals. Clearly, it's not so much sex, but human character that causes difficulties."