The Manual - The science behind gender stereotypes

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This week in the manual we reveal the science behind gender stereotypes so that nobody will ever call you sexist again.

Women Can't Park

According to Allan and Barbara Pease, authors of Why Men Hate Advice and Women Can't Park, only 25 per cent of women can park in reverse (compared with 70 per cent of men). Although women are actually better than men at learning tasks, the authors claim that in real-life situations the part of the brain devoted to spatial awareness becomes overwhelmed.

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Moreover, a study was undertaken at Iowa State University by psychology professor Dr Camilla Benbow that tested the spatial ability of over a million children and reported that differences between the sexes were already significant by the age of four. She found that while girls were excellent at seeing two dimensions in the brain, boys had the ability to see a third dimension, giving depth.

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Women Are Rubbish at Drinking

Men's bodies are composed of around 61 per cent water, whereas women are made up of about 52 per cent. This basically means that each drink a man consumes is 'watered down' within the body 10 per cent more than in a woman's. Women also produce less dehydrogenase in the liver - the enzyme that changes alcohol into its inactive state and ensures you sober up. Therefore, they feel the effects of alcohol much faster than men. This increased partiality to the effects of a glass of wine or two is heightened during the hormonal changes brought on by her period.

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Women Are Predisposed to Clean Up After You

In a 2004 study at Monell Chemical Senses Center in the US, scientists found that women of reproductive age are far better at identifying odours than men. This increased olfactory sensitivity could be due to a surge of oestrogen that enables females to better locate a potential mate. She smells your body odour even when you can't, so chances are she'll be more inclined to pick up your dirty socks off the floor and put them in the washing machine.

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Women Just Love To Talk

According to a report from the University of Sydney, the volume of the superior temporal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for language) is on average about 18 per cent bigger in women than in men. This means that women have superior language skills to us. Moreover their ability to use both sides of their brain for language, as opposed to men who use only the dominant side of their brain, means they have more chance of retaining language after a stoke. Oh, and this also enables women to multitask better than us.

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Women Love to Shop

According to Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, women still tend to behave like foragers, and men like hunters. In prehistoric times when a group of hunter-gatherers arrived in a new place the women would scope out the landscape for patches of food that they would return to again and again. Moreover, women developed to be more keenly aware of colours, shapes, sizes, textures and smells to determine whether a plant was ripe for consumption. These are the same behaviours that still come into play today when your girlfriend is trying to find the perfect handbag to match her dress.