That is the conclusion of a 2012 study on mate choices in ten different countries, by two scientists at the University of York.
The researchers had 3,177 respondents complete an online mate preference survey from 10 countries ranking from a low (Finland) to a high (Turkey) gender gap in terms of the Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) – a measure that was recently introduced by World Economic Forum to iron out shortcomings of earlier gender parity measures. The participants were asked in their native language whether certain criteria (such as ‘financial prospect’ and ‘being a good cook’) were important in choosing a mate.
Dr Zentner says what they found was that the gender difference in mate preferences predicted by evolutionary psychology models “is highest in gender-unequal societies, and smallest in the most gender-equal societies.”
They confirmed their results in a second study based on mate preferences reported by 8,953 volunteers from 31 nations. Again, the researchers found that there were fewer differences between men and women’s preferences in more gender-equal nations compared to less gender-equal nations.
Dr Zentner said: “These findings challenge the idea proposed by some evolutionary psychologists that gender differences in mate-preferences are determined by evolved adaptations that became biologically embedded in the male and female brain.”