SCIENCES

Gender and Our Brains: How New Neuroscience Explodes the Myths of the Male and Female Minds

Pantheon. Aug. 2019. 448p. ISBN 9781524747022. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781524747039. SCI
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The title might suggest that this work delves into emerging research on people with nonbinary or transgender identity, but that is not the case. Rather, these groups are omitted almost entirely because this is a book about women in STEM that feels very much like Rippon (cognitive neuroimaging, Aston Univ., Birmingham) is fighting the last war: finally having enough evidence to say with confidence that—at least at birth—biologically male babies have no innate advantages over their female counterparts. The sections on how brain imaging is conducted and the catalog of poorly conducted “neurotrash” research are probably necessary but lengthy. The author is from the UK yet mostly does not articulate that the behaviors she’s studying apply primarily to Anglo-European cultures and rarely comments on how circumstances may differ in other parts of the world.
VERDICT This book serves as a warning of all the ways we limit children, especially girls, without even realizing it. Best for readers with a strong interest in girls’ education and a background in science.

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