Sexes discover the third way

AN INCREASING number of people are becoming "psychologically androgenous", disregarding traditional male and female mindsets, according to new research.

More than a third of people with a college or university education have become androgenous in their behaviour, attitudes and beliefs. The feminisation of the workplace and politics, and changes in parenting and teaching styles, have all led to the breakdown of attitudes about what is appropriate for men and women to do, the researchers say. This has led to the birth of the "third sex".

The findings, presented at the American Psychological Society's annual conference in Denver, Colorado, show that androgenous individuals are a new breed of successful high achievers who place great importance on their personal and family life. They have a mix of masculine and feminine traits, enabling them to respond to different situations far more effectively than those trapped in traditional gender roles.

Tony Blair, David Beckham, Geri Haliwell and Nicola Horlick are all successful people who can be assertive and domineering when required but are not worried about being seen as expressive and caring. David Beckham, one of Britain's best footballers, is not afraid to be seen in a skirt, or say that the birth of his son and his relationship with Posh Spice are the best things that have happened to him. Nicola Horlick has been one of the most successful fund managers in the City but has always placed enormous importance on her family life.

The study of more than 100 college students was done by Cecilia Cheng, assistant professor in social science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.