This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 18, 2012

Girls win the Battle of the Sexes in the Classroom

Recently, a new study revealed that in spite of repeated attempts to close the gender gap, girls are outperforming boys in traditionally "masculine" subjects in the United Kingdom. These subjects include engineering and construction---practical courses designed to lead directly to jobs in traditionally male-dominated industries.

According to figures, girls are already ahead in most disciplines by the age of five and the gap widens throughout the period of compulsory education. Between the ages of 14 and 16, girls were almost twice as likely to score highly in vocational qualifications.

Published by Pearson, one of Britainís biggest exam providers, the study reflected scores achieved by boys and girls who took the GCSEs (General Certificates of Secondary Education) exams that the British Government gives to all students in school.

In the past, boys have traditionally maintained their hold over girls in a number of more traditional practical disciplines. However, this study has found girls are now pulling ahead in other "male subjects".

The report found that at this level, 28 percent of girls gained top marks compared with just 17 percent of boys. Moreover, 28 percent of girls secured a distinction in engineering, compared with 16 percent of boys. Several influences are affecting boys, beginning with the fact that there is a shortage of male teachers and libraries are not stocking enough action and adventure books to appeal to boys. Combine this lack of appealing subject matter with an anti-book culture among many fathers and you have a recipe for the disastrous results we are seeing in the UK.

However, the UK is not alone. Around the world, we see girls graduating at higher rates than boys do. We are seeing more women in our colleges and universities and more women graduating as well. Within about ten years, projections indicate that the average US campus will have two female graduates for every male. At many state universities, that is already the reality.

From Brazil to the United States to Asia, a growing culture among boys and adolescents devalues learning and achievement. If society does not take action soon, the results may be even more devastating.

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