The new neuroscience that shatters the myth of the female brain
An agenda-setting, myth-debunking book by neuroscientist Professor Gina Rippon that demolishes the idea of biology as destiny and the myth of the male or female brain.
‘Highly accessible. It has the power to do vastly more for gender equality than any number of feminist “manifestos” … revolutionary to a glorious degree’
Rachel Cooke, Observer
'A treasure trove of information and good humour' CORDELIA FINE, author of Testosterone Rex
Do you have a female brain or a male brain? Or is that the wrong question?
Reading maps or reading emotions? Barbie or Lego? We live in a gendered world where we are bombarded with messages about sex and gender. On a daily basis we face deeply ingrained beliefs that your sex determines your skills and preferences, from toys and colours to career choice and salaries. But what does this constant gendering mean for our thoughts, decisions and behaviour? And what does it mean for our brains?
Drawing on her work as a professor of cognitive neuroimaging, Gina Rippon unpacks the stereotypes that bombard us from our earliest moments and shows how these messages mould our ideas of ourselves and even shape our brains. Taking us back through centuries of sexism, The Gendered Brain reveals how science has been misinterpreted or misused to ask the wrong questions. Instead of challenging the status quo, we are still bound by outdated stereotypes and assumptions. However, by exploring new, cutting-edge neuroscience, Rippon urges us to move beyond a binary view of our brains and instead to see these complex organs as highly individualised, profoundly adaptable and full of unbounded potential.
Rigorous, timely and liberating, The Gendered Brain has huge repercussions for women and men, for parents and children, and for how we identify ourselves.
“A smart and witty addition to the literature on sex differences. Gina Rippon is one of the most outspoken scientists in this area, and she debunks a whole host of sexist stereotypes in her new book.”
Angela Saini, author of INFERIOR
“A treasure trove of information and good humour, The Gendered Brain offers thought-provoking perspectives on the latest debates about sex, gender and the brain.”
Cordelia Fine, author of TESTOSTERONE REX
“A brilliant and thorough debunking of the popular myths around sex differences in brains and behaviour.”
Dr Emily Grossman, broadcaster
“A fresh and much-needed perspective on the gender debate”
Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, founder of STEMETTES
“The history of sex-difference research is rife with innumeracy [and] misinterpretation… Rippon, a leading voice against the bad neuroscience of sex difference, uncovers so many examples in this ambitious book that she uses a whack-a-mole metaphor to evoke the eternal cycle… a juicy history… [and] the book accomplishes its goal of debunking the concept of a gendered brain”
Lise Eliot, Nature
“The Gendered Brain is one of those books that should be essential reading before anyone is allowed to be a teacher, or buy a child a present, or comment on anything on Twitter, ever again… all systemising brains out there owe it to themselves to read this calm and logical collection of evidence and science, and all empathisers will understand its importance”
Katy Guest, Guardian
“The Gendered Brain… is a highly accessible book. It’s also an important one… it has the power…to do vastly more for gender equality than any number of feminist “manifestos”… Rippon… is supremely clear-eyed… [and] thought-provoking”
Rachel Cooke, Observer
“[An] excellent…book… it will reward those willing to put in the effort… [and] put weapons in the arsenal of those trying to tackle sexism”
Rosamund Urwin, Sunday Times
“Rippon…takes a scalpel to the research surrounding sex differences in the brain with precision and humour, exposing everything… [The] examples are what makes The Gendered Brain so enjoyable… [and] enlightening”
Sue Nelson, Financial Times
“Rippon… [writes] in a cheerful, no-nonsense style, she draws on a dizzying array of studies to conclude, rather thrillingly, that the premise underpinning over 150 years of scientific endeavour is plan wrong… a convincing case”
Charlie McCann, Tablet