Cookies?
Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Country-level gender inequality is associated with structural differences in the brains of women and men

cVEDA (2023) Country-level gender inequality is associated with structural differences in the brains of women and men. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120 (20). e2218782120. ISSN 1091-6490

[img] Text (Country-level gender inequality is associated with structural differences in the brains of women and men) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB)

Identification Number: 10.1073/pnas.2218782120

Abstract

Gender inequality across the world has been associated with a higher risk to mental health problems and lower academic achievement in women compared to men. We also know that the brain is shaped by nurturing and adverse socio-environmental experiences. Therefore, unequal exposure to harsher conditions for women compared to men in gender-unequal countries might be reflected in differences in their brain structure, and this could be the neural mechanism partly explaining women's worse outcomes in gender-unequal countries. We examined this through a random-effects meta-analysis on cortical thickness and surface area differences between adult healthy men and women, including a meta-regression in which country-level gender inequality acted as an explanatory variable for the observed differences. A total of 139 samples from 29 different countries, totaling 7,876 MRI scans, were included. Thickness of the right hemisphere, and particularly the right caudal anterior cingulate, right medial orbitofrontal, and left lateral occipital cortex, presented no differences or even thicker regional cortices in women compared to men in gender-equal countries, reversing to thinner cortices in countries with greater gender inequality. These results point to the potentially hazardous effect of gender inequality on women's brains and provide initial evidence for neuroscience-informed policies for gender equality.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s).
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 25 May 2023 13:27
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 17:30
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/119264

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics