April 29, 2004
Where the boys aren't: the consequencesBy Alex Frasca
�(Part One here)
On the School Front
How will it affect our society and culture?�
By now we know that boys lag girls in almost every sort of school performance measure: grades, honors received, participation in student council, honor societies, school newspapers and debate teams, and college enrollment.� Many more boys than girls are suspended from school, forced to repeat a grade, and drop out prior to graduation.� Boys are more than three times over—represented in special education classes.� Diagnoses of "attention deficit hyperactivity" run four times higher in boys.�
Try this. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, of every one hundred 18 to 24 year olds with a bachelor's degree or higher, 58.4 are female and 41.6 are male.� The last time that the reverse was the case to this extent (i.e., males with bachelor's degrees or higher out numbering females with the same education) was 32 years ago in 1972.�
My wife and I remember what it was like.� College boys competed to get girls to date them...yes, dates.� Those days are long gone.� In 1978 women hit the 50% mark and it's been a fairly steady annual increase in their share ever since.� Consider the ratio of 60/40, which we are now quite close to 'achieving.' This means that 50% more women than men hold bachelor's degrees or higher.�
This cannot be explained away by birth rate or mortality figures. According to the 2000 Census, the "sex ratio" (number of males for every 100 females) for 15 to 24 year olds was 105.1. Males in this age band outnumber females by 5 percentage points!
So when did males suddenly become more stupid than females?
Is there an academic reward system in secondary school that favors females and/or handicaps/punishes males?
It would seem that very few researchers in the schools of education are interested in such questions.
Do you think females will be pleased with the end result of this?� It's hard to imagine that they would be.� Historically speaking, it has been accepted and rather common for men to marry women with less education than they possess.� The reverse has not been the case, traditionally.� Historically women tended to want to marry men as, or more, educated than them.� Add to this the fact that males historically have a higher propensity for celibacy than females (and a higher rate of homosexuality), and the picture would appear to look bleak for those college educated females desiring marriage.
At some point, it's simply a "question of the numbers."� To develop a sense as to how stark the scene will be for women, imagine 100 college—educated people on a desert island in the same proportion as reflected in the 2000 census, i.e., 58 females and 42 males.� Imagine further that they are all 35 years old and that among them there are 41 married couples.� Starting to get the picture?�
The single unmarried man will have 17 women competing for his attention.� If you're a woman just graduated from college who wants to marry a man as educated as yourself, you may want to get busy.� By the way, the picture in the nation's graduate schools is only slightly "better" but trending in the same direction.
The tendency for women to marry as—educated men may change somewhat over time.� Perhaps we will see female veterinarians marrying muffler repairmen.� If it does change, it may do so very slowly.� It takes generations to effectuate cultural changes in patterns such as "mating preferences" which have been in place for centuries.
What can be said is that in the near future there may be a lot of unhappy, or at least lonely, women running around. Some of my friends report that they already encounter scads of them. Why?� Because, as we know, people prefer to cohabitate in some way or another, and traditionally that has been as married couples. Life can be lonely if you are single, especially when you get older, and even more especially as our society becomes increasingly impersonal.� Life is also easier financially if you are married.
Furthermore, at some point in their lives, many women feel the urge to have children.� It's easier...let's say...more convenient to have children with your husband, one who will help with the raising of the child and be the father to the child.
The Vanishing Glass Ceiling
In December, the Washington Times reported in More U.S. Women Crack Glass Ceiling� that "for the first time since tracking began 20 years ago, U.S. women outnumber men in higher paying, white collar managerial and professional occupations..."
Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates that, as of Nov. 30, women represent 50.6 percent of the 48 million employees in management, professional and related occupations. In 1983... women accounted for 40.9 percent of managers and professionals.
The gap will continue because of a self—perpetuating cycle of workplace gains for women, according to international outplacement firm Chicago—based Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
"As a growing number move into upper management roles, those further down the ladder will reap the benefits by increasingly being targeted for advancement," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
"At the computer, women are just as productive as men," said Challenger. "This fact alone has opened up a world of opportunity for women and is bringing an end to outdated concepts like the glass ceiling."
It wasn't long ago when "gender differences in cultural expectations and skill development" were blamed for the schools having "shortchanged girls."� Wasn't it just recently, as in the last 10 years, that the mantra, a national movement, was "gender equity, NOW!"� We were told that "boys are more likely to be praised, corrected, helped, and criticized by their teachers to the detriment of the girls"...that the system "stifled the voices of female students in favor of assertive boys".�
The evidence of the past 10+ years' effort is coming in, and it tells us that, in a very short period of time, the so—called "gender inclusive instructional strategies" have been a wipeout for the boys.� The cost to our society exacted by a movement launched in response to myth and political propaganda will be significant.� It has handicapped a generation or more of males and with that, it may likely redound to the long—term unhappiness of the females who love them.
Alex Frasca is a tax consultant living in Northern California