Posted on 9th August 2012
I recently discovered an amazing book by Marianne Legato called ‘Eve’s Rib’, which is all about just how different men and women are. Of course there’s the famous saying ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’, and we all know that there are some pretty major differences between the sexes, but it has only been over recent years that scientists and psychologists have started uncovering a multitude of subtler differences.
Louanne Brizendine, an American neuropsychiatrist, has also written a fantastic book on the differences between men and women, called ‘The Female Brain’, which I highly recommend. It explores the key differences between the construction and functioning of male and female brains and explains why we experience things and behave so differently. As a tutor, I found it fascinating to discover more about the different ways that boys and girls learn, and have found it really useful for helping me to approach and structure lessons even more specifically.
Legato’s book focuses more on the medical side of things, although there certainly are some sections that are extremely relevant to tutors, teachers and parents. Overall it is a fascinating read, and if you’re looking for a bit of interesting non-fiction for the rest of the holidays, then this may just be the thing for you.
‘Eve’s Rib’ is packed full of amazing discoveries, and so it would be impossible to share them all here, but below are a few nuggets, just to give you an example of what Legato has uncovered in her research…
-“Women are more likely than men to recover their speech after a stroke.”
- If a woman has a heart attack, the symptoms are very different to those experienced by men, and harder to identify; “they may appear more like indigestion than a cardiac aberration.”
- Women who smoke are more likely to develop lung cancer than men who smoke.
- Men may have physically larger brains than women, but ours have around 11% more neurons “in one very specialized area of the cerebral cortex, just behind the eye, that is involved in recognizing tonal differences in language and music.”
- Women tend to have a better memory than men, so boys may need to go over subjects a few more times than their female classmates in order to retain information longer-term.
- While women are better at “finely coordinated movements” which means “they can even repeat tongue twisters more fluently and accurately than their male counterparts”, “boys’ ability to outperform girls in mathematics is striking”.
- While women are brilliant at reading facial expressions, on the whole men can imagine 3D shapes better (perhaps this explains why there are more male than female architects and product designers…?).
- The combination and levels of female hormones means that women are more likely to suffer from depression than men are.
- Women and men respond to and process medicines and drugs very differently, which means that the sexes shouldn’t be treated for the same diseases in the same way.
- Men tend to have bigger appetites and experience hunger more frequently than women and this is because food literally leaves men’s stomachs faster than it leaves women’s.
- A female heart beats faster than a male one.
What is especially good about ‘Eve’s Rib’ is that after explaining scientific discoveries, Legato looks at what this means practically for individuals at different stages of life, so it’s both extremely interesting and very helpful indeed!