A new Confused.com report, entitled ‘UK caught in the gender blender’ anticipates new EU gender rules, which will come into force on 21 December 2012. The rules will mean that men and women will be treated identically when it comes to insurance, with no more gender-based discounts for women drivers. Cheaper life insurance for women will also become a thing of the past.
The report reveals that the rules of the gender battle between men and women have changed for good. The Future Laboratory, which compiled the research report on behalf of Confused.com, has identified that the ‘battle for gender-blindness’ will take over from the fight for equality, or feminism.
Other EU countries have already taken gender equality a lot further than the UK but Elise Claeson, who contributed to the Confused.com report, revealed that: “Gender neutrality has been a disaster in Sweden.”
Elise, who is a former equality expert at the Swedish Confederation of Professions, explains: “Gender neutrality has caused an epidemic of relationship breakdowns, because we are sexually attracted to the opposite, yet we have spent years trying to make men and women the same.”
But neuroscientist and author Lise Eliot argued in the report that people’s ability to drive well, to talk about emotions, and to read maps, are not set in stone by our genes or hormones. Instead, they are programmed to be girls and boys by the words and actions of parents and friends.
“Kids rise or fall according to what we believe about them,” she said. “Pre-schoolers are already aware of what’s acceptable to their peers and what’s not.”
She continued: “There is little solid evidence in human studies of sex differences in children’s brains. The idea that girl’s brains are wired for communication and boy’s for aggression is simply a fallacy.
“We still live in a clear two-gender culture. But rather than being something we are born with, our gender identity is set by the nurturing of our parents and the pressures of our peers.”
The report also examines the impact of the new EU gender rules, which will be enforced from 21 December 2012.
Matt Lloyd, Head of Life insurance from Confused.com feels that losing gender as a risk factor for insurance is a step backwards. He commented: “Gender is a stable and useful long term indicator of risk which cannot be replaced easily when the new law comes into effect on 21 December 2012. Women definitely have the most to lose through the changes relating to life insurance.
“It is likely that life insurers will be looking for a similar solution to telematics in the future and that the individual, not the group, will be rated.”
More than half (51%) of people in the UK think that women and men are equal when it comes to driving, sports (52%) and in the kitchen (52%). Tellingly, two thirds (66%) of people also say men and women are business equals.