I ran into this academic paper and thought it might be of interest to the forum: Gender Differences in Personality and Interests: Where, When, and Why (PDF download)

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Two predictions follow from social role theory: (i) Gender differences should be stronger in gender-inegalitarian societies with strong gender roles than in gender-egalitarian societies with weak gender roles. (ii) As traditional gender roles weaken over time and as women and men assume more nearly equal roles in a given society, psychological gender differences should weaken and even disappear

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After assembling evidence that gender differences in personality are stronger in modern, gender-egalitarian societies than in more traditional and gender-inegalitarian societies (contrary to the predictions of social role theory)

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they proposed that people in traditional, gender-inegalitarian societies are more likely to compare themselves to in-group members (e.g., their own sex), whereas people in ‘modern,’ gender-egalitarian societies are more likely to compare themselves to out-group members (i.e., the other sex). The result is that men and women in gender-egalitarian societies report larger personality differences than men and women in gender-inegalitarian societies. To better understand the social comparison explanation, consider the example of self reported height.

If men and women report how ‘tall’ they are (say, on a scale ranging from ‘very short’ to ‘very tall’) by comparing themselves to members of their own sex, then sex differences in self-reported height are reduced and maybe even eliminated. However, if men and women report how ‘tall’ they are in comparison to ‘people in general’ (or in comparison to the other sex), then sex differences in self-reported height will be larger. (It is worth noting too that if people judge their height in relation to ‘people in general,’ sex differences in self-reported height will more accurately reect actual sex differences in height. Of course, the most accurate way to assess self-reported height would be to ask participants to report their height in inches or centimeters, rather than using linguistically ambiguous rating scales, such as ‘very short’ to ‘very tall.’

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However, you ‘slice and dice’ the results from the three cross-cultural studies, they contradict social role theory’s prediction that gender differences will be larger in societies with strong gender roles and weaker in societies with weak gender roles; this pattern was not present for any trait in any study. The results of the Costa et al. and Schmitt et al. studies and the results for agreeableness in Lippa’s study were instead consistent with the predictions of attributional theory, social comparison theory, and some versions of evolutionary theory –that gender differences will tend to be larger in ‘modern,’ economically developed, gender-egalitarian societies. The strong cross-cultural consistency of gender differences in extraversion, neuroticism, and people-versus-thing orientation reported by Lippa (2010) is also consistent with the possible inuence of biologic factors.

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I recommend anyone interested in this topic read this paper. The author seems to find much more support in the research for biology than culture for the differences in between men and women and their personalities and interests.