Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nature or Nurture.Are Men and Women Really So Different from Birth?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nature or Nurture.Are Men and Women Really So Different from Birth?

Article excerpt

Byline: DENISE ROBERTSON

LAST week, BBC2's Horizon programme set out to discover whether or not male and female brains are intrinsically different or, born alike, are we then programmed to be male and female. When monkeys were offered dolls or toy trucks to play with the females went for the dolls and the males snatched the trucks, suggesting we are born with different motivations.

But when human mothers had to set up challenges for their babies they made them easier for girls, which could ultimately affect their development.

In the end I felt the programme confirmed my own conclusion, that the sexes have more in common than divides them. And life experience can mould your character. Men may leave childcare to their spouse but if that spouse dies or leaves, most men can mother with the best of them. A few can't.

Women sit back and let the men do the fighting until danger threatens their family, then some will take up a gun and fight. Others flee. The idea that all men are thrusting and all women shrinking violets belongs in period novels, not in real life.

NEWCASTLE is renowned as a centre of medical excellence, especially in transplantation. Last week I attended an auction of promises in aid of the Northern Counties Kidney Research Foundation. It was organised by a young mother, who received a transplanted kidney earlier this year. She told me of the difference it had made to her life and the lives of her children.

The auction was her way of saying thanks and she and her helpers had put in some very hard work to make the evening a success.

The range of promises was enormous, everything from artwork to holidays to a year's supply of bread. The money raised will go to research, that essential for medical advance.

So often, when people or organisations give money to good causes, they want a "project", something they can put a plaque on. You can't put a plaque on research but if you want progress that's where your money should go. That night in Newcastle's Biscuit Room will have made a difference.

FRED Buenavista is 32. His birthday present from the British government was to be kicked out by an immigration system that draws no distinction between good citizens and illegal immigrants.

Fred was born in the Phillipines.

When he was three his mother married a British citizen and Fred came to Britain. He went to school here, got a degree and worked behind the bar of his local pub. He paid his taxes, surrounded by his British family ... mother, stepfather and two sisters. He was part of the community and 3,000 friends signed a petition for him to stay. None of that counts.

Fred was born in the Philippines and inflexible rules say his visa has run out. He speaks hardly any Filipino and has little recollection of ever living there. …

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