While Persuasion at times suggests fundamental differences between the sexes, it also suggests that those differences are due to the different social expectations and opportunities applied to men and women. While the men in the novel are expected to live in the world and make the best of themselves, the women have to stay close to home whether they like it or not. The end of the novel, however, with its praise for the navy's "domestic virtues" (24.12), suggests that home life runs smoothest when men and women are on equal footing.
The gender differences in the novel are due to economics: the women can't earn their living, while the men can, which gives them more power and mobility.
The gender differences in the novel are due to women's inability to escape their families: they must be daughters until they are wives, which limits how their identity can develop.