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Developing software is simultaneously artistic and scientific, which accounts for its appeal for some of the smartest and intuitive people on the planet

There is a generally observable and most likely a statistically provable scarcity of women in the programmer community.

Would it be right to conclude from this that men are generally more intelligent than women? If so, what's the cause of this? And if not, why?

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It is certainly a different question, not necessarily a better one. "statistically provable scarcity of women" but a link to an essay? Why other remarks or question - there should be ONE question per question. Plus, in general, before asking here some proof of initial research is welcome. –  Piotr Migdal Jan 29 at 19:02
Women are more intelligent. They go out and make friends, instead of sitting in front of a computer screen. –  what Jan 29 at 22:34
I deleted my answer for you –  caseyr547 Jan 29 at 23:22
I hope the question doesn't get closed. I think the question embodies a view held in the community, and I hope that well reasoned answers can help separate stereotypes and misconceptions from the scientific evidence. –  Jeromy Anglim Jan 30 at 1:00
@JeromyAnglim My objections are not related to the question subject (I don't care much for political correctness or being polite), but the lack of research/effort by OP (at least starting with wikipedia, any job census or whatever - it is not a niche problem!). But TU for you - great answer to a so-so question! –  Piotr Migdal Jan 30 at 11:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The short answer: No, sex differences in professions is not a good basis for judging the intelligence of males and females.

This question has already received flags to be closed. However, I think it should be left open particularly because it can be answered and I would like to address some of the assumptions and misconceptions in the question. First, I would like to deconstruct the question, and then answer it.

Deconstructing the question

One of the earlier titles of the question was "Are men more intelligent than women?". It starts with the observation that there are more males who work in areas related to mathematics and programming, therefore males are more intelligent.

I think this is a common bias in humans. People know a lot about their area of expertise and then judge others by their lack of understanding of what they are experts in. To take a stereotypical example, perhaps a female clinical psychologist, doctor, or lawyer may wonder why so many males are mathematicians and programmers. She might think that this is because they lack the intelligence to function effectively in domains that require strong interpersonal skills. I am not defending this point of view either. I merely intend to highlight that to judge others by your own standards of what represents intelligence is problematic.

Answering the question

Have a read of page 91 of "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns", which represents the position of a large reputable APA task force of leading intelligence researchers. Summarising a huge literature, males tend to perform much better on visual-spatial intelligence test items such as mental rotation and tracking moving objects. Females often perform better on verbal abilities such as synonym generation and verbal fluency. Overall, there is minimal difference in full-scale IQ.

You could also have a read of Hide's (2005) summary of meta-analytic sex differences across a wide range of cognitive tests.

Here, the author advances a very different view, the gender similarities hypothesis, which holds that males and females are similar on most, but not all, psychological variables.

However, this only addresses mean differences, and there is certainly much greater differences within sexes than between.


  • Neisser, U., Boodoo, G., Bouchard Jr, T. J., Boykin, A. W., Brody, N., Ceci, S. J., ... & Urbina, S. (1996). Intelligence: Knowns and unknowns. American psychologist, 51(2), 77. PDF
  • Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. American psychologist, 60(6), 581. PDF
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No. In developing IQ tests for intelligence science has found that age not sex is the key difference between groups of people for which non-biased conclusions can be drawn.

Most IQ tests are constructed so that there are no differences between the average (mean) scores of females and males. Areas where differences in mean scores have been found include verbal and mathematical ability.

-Wikipedia Sex differences in psychology

If anything modern research purports that women have an insignificant half point above men.

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@BleedingFingers you're welcome I'm glad Jeromy supported your question. –  caseyr547 Jan 30 at 7:09

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