Why Gender Matters

  • by Leonard Sax
  • Narrated by Raymond Todd
  • 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Are boys and girls really that different? Twenty years ago, doctors and researchers didn't think so. However, an avalanche of research has shown that sex differences are more significant than anybody guessed. Gender differences are real, biologically programmed, and important to how children are raised, disciplined, and educated. Dr. Leonard Sax addresses a host of issues, including discipline, learning, risk-taking, aggression, sex, and drugs and shows how boys and girls react in predictable ways to different situations. A leading proponent of single-sex education, Dr. Sax points out that parents and teachers would do better to recognize, understand, and make use of the biological differences that make a girl a girl and a boy a boy.


What the Critics Say

"[Sax's] readable prose...makes this book accessible to a range of readers." (Publishers Weekly)
"The book is thought-provoking, and Sax explains well the science behind his assertions....A worthy read for those who care about how best to prepare children for the challenges they face on the path to adulthood." (Scientific American)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very good

This is more than just a mars vs venus statement of differences, the author gives real practical parenting advice about how to deal with your boy verses your girl on specific subjects like drugs, sex, calling home, internet use, etc. I thought it was very well read and easy to listen to. I have boy/girl twins and think it's important to realize these differences and approach each child uniquely. It would be too easy to treat each hurdle and milestone exactly the same for both children.
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- Alette

Presents studies that support his views

Sax presents evidence in a "hit or miss" way. Some of what he has to say is well supported in the literature (e.g., girls lose confidence more quickly than do boys), while other statements are presented without any evidence. When Sax does present studies, he never tells us the number of subjects in any given study nor whether the subjects were selected randomly or other ways of controlling experiments (including keeping subjects from behaving in ways they perceive the experimenter wants them to behave); what is more, the "findings" are presented as if all subjects behaved in a certain way, which is surprising, given that most experiments tell us about likelihood, not certainty. A great deal of the evidence Sax presents is based on studies of animals, showing his implicit assumption that humans evolved from and therefore behave like primates. Unfortunately, Sax does not explain reasons why the reader should accept the analogies. He often presents some study of primates or other animals, then extends a generalized claim about females and males or about human females and males specifically. It ends up casting doubt on everything he says. Nor does Sax make a distinction most scientists make: gender is a sociocultural phenomenon, and sex biological.

This is not to say that gender does not matter nor that Sax gives bad advice. It is just that the advice pretends to be drawn from scientific evidence or as unsupported extensions of other arguments (e.g., boys get a thrill from violent video games; Sax himself played two different games; therefore you should accept his experience with the games as representative of all people's experience and further, you should not allow your child to play the type where it's okay to kill off civilians at will -- note that he also ignores alternative explanations for the "thrill," such as simply violating social norms). Perhaps there are numerous footnotes in the text version that an audiobook does not present.
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- LeakyB

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-27-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.