Wednesday, July 12, 2006


That's right, the women are smarter

The other day's New York Times gives us a report that "At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust":

A quarter-century after women became the majority on college campuses, men are trailing them in more than just enrollment. Department of Education statistics show that men, whatever their race or socioeconomic group, are less likely than women to get bachelor's degrees — and among those who do, fewer complete their degrees in four or five years. Men also get worse grades than women.

On the other hand, there's still a significant gap in pay between the sexes, prompting this comment:

"The idea that girls could be ahead is so shocking that they think it must be a crisis for boys," Ms. Mead said. "I'm troubled by this tone of crisis. Even if you control for the field they're in, boys right out of college make more money than girls, so at the end of the day, is it grades and honors that matter, or something else the boys may be doing?"
Something else the boys may be doing? Ah, no, something else society may be doing; that we accept sex discrimination in pay today is appalling to me, and yet we clearly do. Perhaps this push by women to excel is driven by that; perhaps it's a "Damn it, I'm going to get out there and overcome the discrimination," thing. As good as that is, it doesn't really end the problem — it results in well-educated, intelligent, able... low-paid women.

An interesting effect, though, is that, while families who didn't think that girls should just be looking for "Mrs Degrees" used to worry about how their daughters would get their educations and get ahead in the business world, that concern is now shifted toward their sons:

Still, the gender gap has moved to the front burner in part because of interest from educated mothers worrying that their sons are adrift or disturbed that their girls are being passed over by admissions officers eager for boys, said Judith Kleinfeld, a University of Alaska professor who has created the Boys Project (, a coalition of researchers, educators and parents to address boys' troubles. "I hate to be cynical, but when it was a problem of black or poor kids, nobody cared, but now that it's a problem of white sons of college-educated parents, it's moving very rapidly to the forefront," Dr. Kleinfeld said. "At most colleges, there is a sense that a lot of boys are missing in action."

As for me, I'm heartened by this, since the study isn't showing that men are doing worse than before, but that women are doing better and have surpassed us. No one loses from this, and I love the idea of a world full of intelligent, well-educated men and women.

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