Wednesday, October 17

The Other Gender Disparity

Women may be underrepresented in the sciences at the highest academic levels, but through high school, female students perform much better than their male counterparts. Ironically, one of the first journalists to draw attention to this fact is Hoff Sommers, who wrote an article titled The War Against Boys for the Atlantic in May 2000 (subscription required).

Boys are about a year and a half behind girls in reading and writing, and are less likely to go to college. The Department of Education reported recently that 57 percent of college students are female, and that college student bodies will be 60-40 female by 2010.

When boys performed better – about a generation ago – many journalists, scientists, and casual observers argued that boys were naturally more intelligent. And as Meghan noted, people are quick to suggest that brain differences account for women’s under-representation in college science departments. Of course now that the tables have turned, educators talk of cultural or behavioral differences between the sexes rather than genetic predispositions.