Women are more skeptical of GMOs than men—but not because of their ‘maternal instincts’

Photo of marchers protesting GMOs

Studies have found that women are more skeptical of genetically modified (GM) foods than men….Conventional wisdom has been that maternal instincts may explain the difference, but research shows that this isn’t the case.

A recent study, published in The Social Science Journal, evaluated data from more than 1,500 people – part of a 2014 Pew Research Center survey – in an attempt to tease out the factors behind the GM foods gender gap. The paper, “The gender gap on public opinion towards genetically modified foods,” found a surprising driver that may account for women’s attitudes toward GM food.

We recently had a chance to talk with Steve Greene about the findings. Greene, a professor of political science at NC State, co-authored the paper….

Related article:  New GMO crops are coming, but why do just four companies develop so many of them?


[Interviewer]: So, what is responsible for the gender gap?

Greene: General orientations toward science and knowledge of science are largely responsible for the gender gap. Men have more confidence in science and scientists and are much less inclined to focus on the risks in various science fields. This seemed to explain most of the gender gap. Interestingly, though, our combination of science variables, political variables and demographic variables could not fully account for this gender gap, meaning there is still something unique to the role of gender in explaining GM foods that we were not able to uncover.

Read full, original article: Maternal Instincts Don’t Explain the Gender Gap on GM Foods

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