Women tend to believe the scientific consensus on global warming more than men, according to a study by a Michigan State University researcher.

The findings, published in the September issue of the journal Population and Environment, challenge common perceptions that men are more scientifically literate, said sociologist Aaron M. McCright.

“Men still claim they have a better understanding of global warming than women, even though women’s beliefs align much more closely with the scientific consensus,” said McCright, an associate professor with appointments in MSU’s Department of Sociology, Lyman Briggs College and Environmental Science and Policy Program.

The study is one of the first to focus in-depth on how the genders think about climate change. The findings also reinforce past research that suggests women lack confidence in their science comprehension.

“Here is yet another study finding that women underestimate their scientific knowledge — a troubling pattern that inhibits many young women from pursuing scientific careers,” McCright said.

Understanding how the genders think about the environment is important on several fronts, said McCright, who calls climate change “the most expansive environmental problem facing humanity.”

“Does this mean women are more likely to buy energy-efficient appliances and hybrid vehicles than men?” he said. “Do they vote for different political candidates? Do they talk to their children differently about global warming?”

McCright analyzed eight years of data from Gallup’s annual environment poll that asked fairly basic questions about climate change knowledge and concern. He said the gender divide on concern about climate change was not explained by the roles that men and women perform such as whether they were homemakers, parents or employed full time.

Instead, he said the gender divide likely is explained by “gender socialization.” According to this theory, boys in the United States learn that masculinity emphasizes detachment, control and mastery. A feminine identity, on the other hand, stresses attachment, empathy and care — traits that may make it easier to feel concern about the potential dire consequences of global warming, McCright said.

“Women and men think about climate change differently,” he said. “And when scientists or policymakers are communicating about climate change with the general public, they should consider this rather than treating the public as one big monolithic audience.”

 (c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.

  1. L Haugen says:

    What the study actually proves is that there is evidently a valid reason that women are less confident in science – because in this case they are clearly wrong.

    It’s always interesting when someone who claims to be a ‘researcher’ reveals a clear bias – “said McCright, who calls climate change “the most expansive environmental problem facing humanity.””. How exactly can you claim to be a researcher when you are only searching for answers in order to justify your beliefs and then interpreting your results likewise?

    Anthropogenic Global Warming is the greatest scam in world history. The ‘consensus’ is a lie, CO2 is not pollution and is not driving climate change. Women tend to believe the scam more because they have done less research and only know the propaganda they hear in snippets of headline news. Men who are more educated in the science (or lack thereof in this case) do not believe the scam.

    The correct conclusion to your ‘research’ is that the more educated you are in science the less you believe in the anthropogenic global warming scam.

  2. chachachanges says:

    This professor obviously accepts that global warming is a proven fact. Since there is a lot to be proven, this study isn’t worth anything. Many women will fear anything that may put their children and family at risk. And since global warming may put their loved ones at risk they are ready to fight it. Change it to global cooling, and you get the same results. They will fight it.

    Anyhow, the last 10 years have shown a cooling of the planet. How does the current global warming studies jive with the last 10 years of cooling?

  3. Jan says:

    I am a woman and do not believe in global warming in any way shape or form!

  4. L Haugen says:

    The truth is that reporters and academics are probably the largest population bloc that still believes in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) scam – far exceeding the percentage of women who believe it. It’s probably the only segment of the population where a consensus really does exist – it definitely isn’t in the scientific community. Academics live and communicate in their sheltered world of fellow academics and uninformed students so they never manage to be anything but sheep repeating lies to each other and fighting for global warming grant money (taxpayer money) – while fantasizing about their visions of themselves fighting to ‘save the world’. All the reporters do is repeat/report on the ‘official line’ without question (which has always supported the AGW scam) so they can’t help but be completely blind to all of the proof accumulating that shows AGW to be the greatest scam in world history.

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