Why can't women read maps?

or can they?
Are women spatially limited? I read somewhere few women ever become master chess players. This could be because of lack of access or it could be that women’s brains are different than men’s brains. Is there any evidence for either?


I can read a map.

I even know intuitively what direction I am heading in at any given time. Which is a completely different skill, I digress.

But yes, women’s and men’s brains are different. Duh.

I also can read a map, and I possess two X chromosomes.

I not only read maps, I love 'em. I have several antique maps framed and displayed around my house. Half the fun of going new places is figuring out where everything is on the map.

What about the chess thing? Is there any validity to that?

My husband has issues reading maps. I think he just never got a lot of practice at it. He has gotten much better, but he’s still rather slow, which can be really frustrating if you’re the one driving.

“Ok, we’re here and we want to get here…Take a left on JimBob street.”
“You mean the one we passed 3 intersections ago?”
“Oh. Hold on…”

It’s because we’re busy getting stuff done! :smiley:

Like Athena, I love maps, I read them all the time and have a huge framed one on the wall.

When in the car, though, or plotting a route, I have to turn the map in the direction I’m going. I’ve been told that this is a womany trait. :dubious:

According to the University of Warwick you are probably gay.

Interesting article - I always turn my map to match my actual orientation.

But if men are so good at spatial orientation, why can’t they ever find the mayonnaise?

Since this is General Questions, may I ask for a cite? If one can read and tell which way is up, on can read a map. That is of course, unless one needs glasses.

Ala Annie get Your Gun: Anything you can do, I can do better.

Disclaimer: The above is meant to be light hearted. It isn’t meant to offend. I realize there are things others may have more aptitude for. Please, don’t beat me up.

I love studying maps, and I’m always, ALWAYS the navigator when we go on car trips. And I’m very good at it, thankyouverymuch.

Thanks for lumping us wimmins all together like that too. We love it when men do that, and it makes sense, because we’re all exactly the same. :rolleyes:

First, I’m female and I read maps.

Second, the study only studies mental rotation, which is a component of map reading. One easy way to avoid having to do any, when reading a map, is to rotate the map until the map’s north faces north.

Third, the article is squishy. I can’t tell when they’re passing on conclusions from the original study and when they’re making guesses of their own. But I remember reading another squishy article stating that female athletes performed better at spatial problems that non-athlete females did. Can’t tell if there’s any correlation or meaning to that.

Fourth, the article left out (and I’d really like to have a good word for this) pride in incompetence. This is a complex social thing that gives a person a sense of superiority and rightness when faced with something that has been socially labeled as belittling or inappropriate to do. (See - one word would have been better.) Learning against pride in incompetence is difficult. That includes men doing laundry, women changing car tires, and persons of a certain status doing manual labor. It isn’t just stupidity that keeps the boss from knowing how to run the copier.

Sadly, map reading and related activities have been labeled male. If the mental rotation results hold up in other tests, I don’t think anyone will be able to pick out which portion of the results are innate and which are molded socially. Although I have to confess that my sisters and I played with tonka trucks when we were little, and we were encouraged to play sports. We also never saw any female relative do anything with a map other than read the thing. So it was never mentally labeled Those Other Peoples’ Problem.

My dad, although a wonderful guy, gets lost easily. Growing up, mom always read the map and dad followed her instructions because doing it the other way would result in us being lost and driving in circles shortly after leaving the driveway. I guess as a result I grew up thinking map reading was something the women did.

I don’t have any problems reading maps. When I go on a road trip I not only use state maps, I make and effort to get the local county-level maps, too. In case of road blockages I have no trouble devising and following an alternate road on the spot. Nor did I have any trouble with air navigation maps when studying for my pilot’s license.

So at least a few of us women read maps with no trouble, in some cases even better than the average man.

A good laugh. I am so amazingly, undeniably, heterosexual.

Mmm, I loves me some men.

I’ve seen plenty of men who can’t read a map. I find it somewhat bemusing that anyone of either gender is really befuddled when presented with one - I can understand having to take a minute to place yourself on it and get oriented if you’ve just opened it. But the ability to see yourself as a little blip traveling on the paper along a particular path, and translating that into “OK, turn right here” or “OK, we want to go THIS direction” seems to elude some people entirely. I don’t understand it.

I have a niece who is a commercial pilot, another who is a doctor, and a third who is a math teacher. I, on the other hand, couldn’t find my ass with a ten man search party and have never been able to balance a checkbook. No, I’m not gay.

I’m a guy, and while I can read and use a map without turning it, I find that it can be easier to use, especially when in a new place. Why risk making a mistake in which way to turn when I can just turn the map and get it right easily?

As for why I can’t find the mayonnaise, it’s because I hate the stuff. It does not exist as far as I’m concerned.

I can read a map as well )or as badly) as the next man/woman.
Unfortunately once I put it down I don’t retain the details so become immediately lost and have to guess my way to where I’m going.

And don’t get me started on asking for directions!

I really fail to see how gender can be a factor in map reading skills. As with most things of this ilk, IMO it has to be cultural/educational - if you don’t learn a skill you won’t be able to use it.

I’m also a guy, but for whatever reason, I find it easier to visualize where I’m at and where I need to go by not turning the map. Turning the map actually confuses me, since when I’m driving I visualize where I am, where I need to go, and north has to be on top. Turning the map screws with my bearings.