The attention paid to the wage gap between men and women tends to obscure the fact that at the other end of the economic life cycle - early education - females are the dominant ones. And they continue to dominate all throughout school, reports the New York Times, which finds some of that fact due to a "behavior gap" among boys and girls:
By kindergarten, girls are substantially more attentive, better behaved, more sensitive, more persistent, more flexible and more independent than boys. The gap grows over the course of elementary school and feeds into academic gaps between By eighth grade, 48 percent of girls receive a mix of A's and B's or better. Only 31 percent of boys do.
This of course has economic consequences. Men's wages are stubbornly stagnant, the report notes, and "men are much more likely to be idle - neither working, looking for work or caring for a family - than they once were and much more likely to be idle than women."
Below: An admittedly stark vision of America's boy-girl future...
Despite all the attention paid to women's underrepresentation or lack of bargaining power in industry X, the real trouble lies with men and boys, claims Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institution (not exactly a bastion of anti-feminist thinking).
"We're not quite sure why it's happening," Kamarck told the NYT. "We know we've got a crisis, and the crisis is with boys."
Different Sex, Different Challenges
As the report as well as have some economists have noted, the "new" economy is increasingly reliant on cognitive and people skills. More crudely put: brains, not brawn. As one sociologist puts it, "In today's economy, being tough and being strong are not what leads to success."
When it comes to brains, men and women are on average every bit as equally capable of making due in the modern workplace. It's only the aforementioned behavioral gap and differing social skills that tend to give women a leg up. But the chart below from a famous Scottish study on male-female IQ differences shows that men occupy the extremes - high or low intelligence - while women are more often found in between. In fact in the normal range of between 95 and 115, women score higher. (This finding was once summed up for me in the quip that "women are nature's insurance policy.")
"The greater variance of males on intelligence tests is one of the best-established findings in psychometric literature," writes AEI scholar Christiana Hoff Sommers. "More males are mentally deficient, and more are freakishly brilliant."
Wish it away if you will, but this distribution, when combined with inequitable sex-based temperaments, portends a future of ultra-successful men, largely successful women...and a whole lot of unsuccessful men.Via the New York Times and the American Enterprise Institute.