Should we be worried that women outnumber men on campus?

There are now more women than men in higher education worldwide. While it would appear to be a victory for gender equality, this imbalance also highlights boys’ educational underachievement. Ellie Bothwell reports

May 10, 2018
female graduates man turning away
Source: Getty/iStock montage

Millennial rapper Professor Green may have an academia-inspired alias but that is not a reflection of any double life as a scholar. Like many white, working-class men in the UK, he did not go to university; he was brought up by his grandmother on a council estate and left school without any qualifications.

“For middle-class families, your education is your life,” he said earlier this year, ahead of the broadcast of his documentary Working Class White Men, which explores, among other issues, why boys from poor white communities are the least likely demographic group in the UK to go to university. “For working-class families, in some instances, school is just school. You are not expected to do very well. You are expected to get out and do a job and earn.”

While almost half of young people (49 per cent) are expected to enter university by the age of 30, according to recent government statistics, the gender gap has widened, with the share of women in that cohort estimated to be 11.9 percentage points higher than the share of men. In 2016, former universities minister Jo Johnson said that just 10 per cent of white boys from the most disadvantaged backgrounds progress to higher education.

Meanwhile, latest figures from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation show that 57 per cent of students who completed higher education programmes in the UK in 2015 were women, a figure that has risen year-on-year since 2011 and has been above 50 per cent since 1995. In January, the University of Oxford announced that it had offered more undergraduate places to British women than men last year, for the first time in its history.

The ever-increasing flow of women into higher education is by no means a phenomenon that is confined to the UK. The Unesco data show that it common across every region of the world, and every stage of national development.

Just 47 of the 160 countries and territories that have recently published statistics had a higher share of male than female graduates in their latest graduate cohort. The British Virgin Islands is the most female-heavy territory, with women making up 75 per cent of its graduates in 2015. At the other end of the scale is Afghanistan, with just 18 per cent of graduates in 2014 being female. Interestingly, that figure was 53 per cent in 1986, but had fallen to just 24 per cent by 2006, coinciding with the Taliban’s ban on female education.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute and co-author of the 2016 report Boys to Men: The Underachievement of Young Men in Higher Education – and How to Start Tackling it, warns that, although he does not think the UK has yet reached this point, both men and women could be put off from going to university if campuses become female-dominated. And he highlights several reasons for the UK’s growing gender disparity. These include the fact that the gap between the average earnings of people who do and do not go to university is larger for women than for men; female-dominated careers such as nursing and teaching now require a degree; and girls do better than boys at school.

For Mary Curnock Cook, former chief executive of UK university admissions service Ucas, that last explanation is particularly compelling. “For some reason, boys are underperforming at pretty much every stage of education and it accumulates at each stage,” says Curnock Cook, who has warned that the gap between male and female applicants could, on current trends, eclipse the gap between rich and poor within a decade. “By the time it comes to applying to university, there are just many fewer boys [qualified to do so]. That’s not just school-leavers but in older age groups as well.”

workmen scaffolding female face

 

This trend was dubbed the “Martha Effect” in a recent South African study, based on the idea of the “Matthew Effect”, whereby the rich get richer. But Curnock Cook says that, while the phenomenon is well known, “there seems to be very little work to understand why that happens and still less to think about what solutions need to be put in place. I still find it quite extraordinary that there is no government policy that is saying this is a problem and we need to address it”.

One potential explanation for this silence, Curnock Cook suggests, is that “it’s quite unfashionable to have views about the underperformance of men”. While there are numerous initiatives aimed at getting more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics, little attention is paid to the much greater domination by women of fields such as nursing, teaching and social work, she says.

“The prevailing narrative for many decades has been about how women are disadvantaged against men, not the other way round,” she says. “I don’t see much evidence of people [treating this] as a societal issue, which I think it is.”

Equality issues aside, she adds, there are many business reasons why universities should want to tackle the issue because if men participated at the same rate as women “that would be an extra 40,000 people in higher education. To me, it’s a huge unmet potential issue and it’s a huge market issue”.

For Garth Stahl, senior lecturer in education at the University of South Australia, the low share of white working-class boys in Western universities should be seen in the context of the “crisis” of working-class masculinity that he perceives to have resulted from the post-industrial elimination of trade work, which was previously seen as “respectable employment” in such communities. The fact that higher education tends to value “middle-class and upper-class masculinity” means that many boys from disadvantaged backgrounds struggle to find their place there.

“Working-class culture doesn’t fit well in a university context because university is arguably about being the best of the best, whereas working-class culture, especially in the UK, is about fitting in, where no one is better than anyone else,” he says.

The Centre for Young Men’s Studies at Ulster University has conducted extensive research on this topic, in a project called Taking Boys Seriously. Brian Murphy, director of access, digital and distributed learning at the university, says that researchers on the project, which is now funded through widening access funds, are beginning to ask whether there is “something about the education system that is not recognising the barriers to educational attainment for boys from disadvantaged communities, particularly from year 10 onwards when their developing masculinity and their community influences add a new dimension to educational engagement.

“More affluent groups tend to have the social capital to succeed,” he says.

man walking past buildings

 

Similar factors could partly account for the gender disparity among students in other countries: even those in which discrimination against women is common. According to the World Economic Forum, the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Lebanon are among the worst nations for gender equality, yet women make up 55 per cent of the most recent recorded graduate cohort in the UAE and Syria and 56 per cent in Lebanon.

Natasha Ridge, executive director of the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, based in the UAE, says that in highly patriarchal countries, boys from upper-class families may enter the workforce through family connections, while historically popular, male-dominated careers in the Middle East did not previously require a degree. This has now changed for the police and local government, but “the school system hasn’t really caught up with that and I think there’s a lack of information [about that] for boys with a lower socio-economic status,” says Ridge, who co-authored the World Innovation Summit for Education report The Challenges and Implications of a Global Decline in the Educational Attainment and Retention of Boys.

In addition, she says, while traditionally women have been largely excluded from the workforce in many parts of the Middle East, university has long been considered a “safe space” for them to go after school, particularly in nations where education is gender-segregated. There is a “premium” placed on “the educated housewife”, she says: “A woman with higher education is [seen as] more marriageable, a better mother, and that’s across the whole Middle East.”

As the region sees what Ridge calls a “big shift” in the share of women entering the workforce, there are also more professional reasons for females to acquire degrees. Surprisingly, women in countries with low levels of gender equality are more likely than those in more equal countries to gain STEM degrees, according to a recent study that drew on data on 475,000 adolescents across 67 countries.

Gijsbert Stoet, professor of psychology at Leeds Beckett University, who co-authored the research, says one explanation is that the value of a STEM degree is higher in less liberal or developed countries.

“In a country that is poorer…you might be more interested in a career where you can make more money,” he says. “Whereas in the West there are more job opportunities in general that offer similar salaries, so women probably have more choice.”

Liberal mores in gender-equal countries may also allow personal preferences to be expressed more strongly, according to the study, which found that in nearly all of the countries analysed, girls tended to register a lower interest in science subjects. And while boys’ and girls’ achievement in STEM subjects was broadly similar, science was more likely to be boys’ best subject, it found.

In some Asian countries, the rise in the number of female students could also be partly explained by an increase in female-only universities. In India, female graduates outnumbered their male counterparts for the first time in 2014, according to Unesco, with the latest (2015) figure for female participation at 50.5 per cent: up from just 30.2 per cent in 1988. Over that same period, women-only universities mushroomed. About a decade ago, India’s regulatory body, the University Grants Commission, announced an additional 800 female-only institutions, on top of 2,500 that already existed, says Kristen Renn, professor of education at Michigan State University and author of the 2014 book Women’s Colleges and Universities in a Global Context.


Percentage of female graduates across developed countries

Percentage of female graduates across developing countries


Renn says that these institutions are particularly attractive to “very conservative” Muslim and Hindu families in rural areas, where young women do not have the opportunity to live at home while studying. Female-only institutions are also an attractive option for widows, who are a marginalised group in society but can benefit from evening courses, she adds.

Female-only institutions also help to address the discrimination that female students sometimes experience at India’s co-educational universities. Several of Renn’s interviewees “talked about sexual harassment and discrimination”; in one case a woman’s lab equipment was destroyed overnight in a gender-related attack. In another case, a female academic in Kenya revealed that she was unable to work late or participate in any evening activities on campus because Nairobi is not safe for women at night.

Female-only universities have “a very strong emphasis” on leadership development and entrepreneurialism, says Renn. And while such institutions have declined rapidly in the UK and the US as educational and employment opportunities for women have become more equal, Renn is sceptical that the tide will turn against them any time soon in developing countries.

“We’re in a wave globally where there’s this very strong conservative, fundamentalist backlash [against women] that I think would slow an otherwise moderate change towards most institutions becoming co-educational,” she says. “Then there are also cultures, geographies, political systems where the opportunity to be at an all-female campus for three years, to really focus on building resilience and leadership, is really important.”

Elsewhere in Asia, Munir Shuib, deputy director of Universiti Sains Malaysia, says that while there are more women than men in Malaysian universities, male students dominate in polytechnics and community colleges.

“This indicates that the trend occurs not by chance but by choice. Could it be that the universities are not able to cater to the learning needs of the boys?” he asks, adding that it has been argued that the curriculum in his country is biased towards girls’ needs.

“Generally, boys tend to be more practically oriented, whereas girls tend to be more theoretically oriented. So, perhaps a choice should be given as to how the students want to be assessed,” he suggests.

But Ana Martínez-Alemán, associate dean of faculty and academics at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and an expert on the impact of gender on learning, says that research suggesting that women learn differently from men is “highly contentious”.

She also rejects the idea that the increasing enrolment of female students means that universities are “now pitching everything to women”. “The changes that we [have] seen probably since the late 1980s is the impact of feminist and constructivist pedagogies that are fundamentally just good pedagogies – men do well with them too,” she says. These trends include more interactive, inductive and workshop-based teaching – although she acknowledges that some teaching techniques that “pit students against each other”, such as the use of clickers to collect student responses to questions, “tend to be more favoured by men”.

Martínez-Alemán adds that the general trend of higher university dropout rates among men could be because “women tend to underreport their academic potential…when they forecast their academic performance in college, and boys tend to oversell themselves”. This means that “a lot of young men get a very rude awakening [when they get to university] and their self-worth hasn’t really been ready for that.”

men walk past diploma

So what can be done to address the gender imbalance? Hepi’s 2016 report suggested introducing foundation years for boys, of the sort already offered to international students, to reflect the fact that their brains mature later than those of girls. Another idea is a “Take Our Sons to University Day”, modelled on the US-initiated Take Our Daughters to Work Day (which now includes sons, too).

“Probably the single thing that shocked me most when we put the report together was how few universities mentioned gender in their access agreements,” Hillman says. And even when universities do “try to grapple with this problem, they sometimes go for quite hackneyed and stereotyped solutions that slightly caricature men, just as women have often been caricatured in the past”. An example is access programmes run in collaboration with local football clubs.

When asked about male under-representation, commentators often default to talking about working-class boys. However, in the UK, at least, the issue is common across all demographic groups. Figures for 2016-17 from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that even among full-time students under 21 whose parents have “higher managerial and professional” jobs, women account for 52 per cent of the cohort. That proportion rises steadily as skill levels decrease, reaching 59 per cent among young undergraduates whose parents have “routine” jobs. However, it falls again, to 55 per cent, among those whose parents are long-term unemployed. And while female representation among undergraduates as a whole is lowest among those from the most privileged backgrounds (52 per cent) there is no clear trend across other skill levels.

One university that is working hard to increase its proportion of working-class boys is the University of Bath – despite the fact that 54 per cent of its student cohort is already male.

Mike Nicholson, the institution’s director of student recruitment and admissions, says that Bath has taken a two-pronged approach: engaging with white, working-class boys at primary school and adjusting its admissions support to help those who need it beyond the point of application.

“Research suggests that getting students very early is key,” he says. “White, working-class boys in the transition between primary and secondary school can get demotivated by education.”

According to Stahl, Australia’s 2008 Bradley review of higher education resulted in the government pledging that 20 per cent of undergraduates should be from low socio-economic backgrounds by 2020. In 2014, it provided funding incentives to help achieve this by proportionally distributing money to universities based on their share of students from such backgrounds, he says.

In 2016, the Scottish Funding Council set targets for its universities to stop “extreme gender imbalance”, ruling that by 2030 no courses should have more than three-quarters of students of one gender. In the same year, the UK government issued fresh guidance to the Office for Fair Access demanding that universities work more closely with schools in poorer areas, targeting white working-class boys in particular.

Ridge says that her institute in the UAE has several programmes focused on tackling the gender issue, one of which is modelled on an Australian programme called Hands on Learning, which aims to prevent pupils dropping out of school: “What we really stress is being responsible for yourself: [the idea] that you can control your behaviour and giving boys strategies for how to manage their emotions. And at the same time giving them a sense of competence,” she says.


Percentage of UK-domiciled students who were female in 2016-17, by parental employment type


But she suspects that the proportion of female students in the Gulf region is unlikely to decrease any time soon.

“There’s still a lot of focus on further improving the status of women…I haven’t seen any programmes addressing the issues of [low participation of] males,” she says. “I find that quite disturbing because…we fought for women’s rights and for equal access and [for women] to be given an education that was as good as [that given to] males. By the same token, we should be ensuring that males now have that same opportunity – especially since…we’re talking about a specific group of males: those coming from more deprived backgrounds, who can go on to pose other risks for society if they’re…marginalised.”

Schools across the world “need to do a better job of being welcoming for boys and of letting boys be whatever it is that they feel they want to be – not in a way that’s destructive but being supportive of them, helping them to find educational strategies that suit them,” Ridge says.

As for universities, heeding calls for them to lower entry standards for applicants from poorer backgrounds could boost male participation. However, the policy is highly controversial, with right-wing newspapers dismissing it as “social engineering” and the chief executive of the Russell Group, Tim Bradshaw, warning that it risks setting up those students to fail.

Shayna Medley, a Skadden fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT and HIV Project, is dismissive of the idea of positively discriminating in admissions in favour of men. In a paper published last year, while she was a JD candidate at Harvard Law School, she claimed that it is an “open secret” that there is already a “preference for male applicants”. “Affirmative action for men” would amount to “sex discrimination, and an unspoken cap on female enrolment…reminiscent of the racial and religious quotas of the past”. But, in contrast to the long history of explicit discrimination experienced by racial and religious minorities, “men as a whole have not been historically excluded from accessing higher education on account of their sex alone”, Medley writes.

walking past advert

 

In a 2006 opinion piece in The New York Times, Jennifer Delahunty Britz, former dean of admissions and financial aid at Kenyon College, a private, liberal arts university in Ohio, admitted that female applicants had to have stronger applications than their male counterparts because of the gender imbalance.

“The reality is that because young men are rarer, they’re more valued applicants,” she wrote. “We have told today’s young women that the world is their oyster; the problem is, so many of them believed us that the standards for admission to today’s most selective colleges are stiffer for women than men. How’s that for an unintended consequence of the women’s liberation movement?”

Meanwhile, the revelation in 2012 that female prospective students in China were facing higher entry barriers than their male counterparts led to protests. According to Chinese news reports, the practice began as early as 2005, in response to the rising numbers of women getting into universities and the fact that women were starting to outstrip men in some subject areas. Latest figures from Unesco show that 51.5 per cent of graduates in China were female in 2015, despite the fact that the country was home to 33 million more men than women in 2014.

Ellen Pugh, programme manager (policy) at the Equality Challenge Unit, says that while positive discrimination in favour of under-represented groups is illegal in the UK, “positive action” is not.

“Positive discrimination would be giving a place to a student because they are from an underrepresented group, full stop. Positive action is looking at the ways you can support underrepresented groups through the applications process and prior to that,” she says.

But the contentious nature of male under-representation among undergraduate cohorts – together with the focus on female under-representation among senior academics and university leaders – may help to explain universities’ lack of progress in this area.

Martínez-Alemán says that another factor is men’s reluctance to respond to more women entering previously male-dominated fields by, themselves, entering previously female-dominated ones. This is because, according to the cultural discourse, “for men to engage in women’s work is feminising them...It’s emasculating”, she says – particularly as such work is often lower-paid.

As for white, working-class males specifically, Ridge laments that “there’s nobody mobilising behind them”.

“It’s not a very popular cause,” she notes. “Males in general have been lumped into the whole concept of male privilege. But not all males are privileged.”

For her, boosting the numbers of disadvantaged boys in higher education is something everyone should support: not least women.

“Having well-integrated boys is a win for women,” she points out. “They treat women better; they’re respectful: they value women. These are outcomes everyone wants in society.” 

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POSTSCRIPT:

Print headline: Why is Martha doing better than Arthur?

Reader's comments (8)

The first paragraph says it all: 'here are now more women than men in higher education worldwide. While it would appear to be a victory for gender equality ...' Why would a gender imbalance against men that is growing be a victory for gender equality? If you look at the NUT or NASUWT web sites under equality you get references to women teachers, BME, LGBT and disability but nothing on male teachers who are a minority or boys who are performing far worse than girls in schools. There are endless programs to address the shrinking areas where girls do worse than boys and next to none that adress the much larger areas where girls do better than boys. There are studies that show significant bias in the marking of boys work by women teachers and perhaps worse research that shows boys know that women teachers mark them down compared to boys. Comparison of teachers assesments against exam results by gender show a consistent anti-boy bias. What needs to be faced is that in the UK and other western countries there is substantial, instituitionalised and ubiquitous discrimination against boys within the education system and in the interests of fairness and if we want boys to do better it needs to be addressed. Positive discrimination is a red herring while there is pervasive anti-boy, anti-male bias in the system.
Antman's point about 'positive' discrimination is entirely accurate, when I was a school governor I saw female teachers marking down male pupils, something that continues in Higher Education. I'm aware of male student nurses being marked down by female nurse lecturers, even though they had worker in pairs with the female student nurses they suffered 10-15% lower marks, just enough to fail. I also note on this evenings local BBC news, sitting as I am just outside Oxford, that space for underprivileged male (and female) potential students isn't worth as much as foreign government funded overseas students, the Winchester School of Art's current Chinese student income is around £11 million, for ONE course, (£20K per year each MINIMUM beats £9K for a UK student). Interestingly the biggest complaint in the BBC report is that those Chinese students attending the WSA once qualified go home, apparently due to visa/work permit issues, in truth the Chinese Gov't pays handsomely for them to qualify to then build up China's industries at home, whilst OUR potential UK students have reduced chances of attending University. The Confucius Institutes established within UK Universities also ensure Chinese students, and moreover Academics, don't cause offence to China's interests, whilst host the University greedily takes their money. That of course is the main issue, for the universities, the money...
“women tend to underreport their academic potential…when they forecast their academic performance in college, and boys tend to oversell themselves”. This means that “a lot of young men get a very rude awakening [when they get to university] and their self-worth hasn’t really been ready for that.” Comments such as this from Martínez-Alemán are all too common at every level of education need to be challenged. How many struggling boys/young men have been overlooked for help as teachers/lecturers see them simply having an over-inflated ego? If their results from school were good enough to get them into university, then they are strong enough academically-wise and the issue lies elsewhere. Clearly young men at her institution are not getting the help they need.
The information age has created a wonderful world for many women today due to very different treatment given from infancy. To see this we must remove from our minds the false teaching of genetics and effort in ability. We must also redefine our average stress as many "maintained layers of mental work" which take up real mental energy from many past, present, future - experiences, fears, anxieties, preparation for defense, needs along with many weights and values given (some very faulty) which may act as magnets for others accumulating layers of "maintained mental work over time". The belief boys should be strong is creating a very rough world for boys in general. It allows aggressive treatment by parents, teachers, peers, others from infancy so they will be tough. There is much less mental/emotional/verbal interaction/support for fear of coddling. This creates high, maintained layers of average stress for boys (new thought will send to all). These layers remain in the mind taking away real mental energy leaving much less mental energy for academics so they will have to work harder to receive the same mental reward. This treatment creates more social/emotional distance from others/adults. The total treatment creates higher average stress hurting learning/motivation; more activity (not genetic); higher muscle tension hurting handwriting/motivation; much lower social vocabulary/communication skills from both much less communication and social/emotional distance from fear. It creates lags in communication girls are given daily. The high stress creates activity for stress relief not genetics. This creates higher muscle tension which hurts handwriting motivation. The total treatment hurts reading/motivation which requires both a high social vocabulary/knowledge of syntax and low average stress, something boys through harsh, less support are increasingly weak in. This treatment creates more social/emotional from others/adults. It creates lags in communication girls are given daily. The high stress creates activity for stress relief not genetics. This creates higher muscle tension which hurts handwriting motivation. The effect with false genetic models creates more failure and hopelessness. To make it tougher boys are given love honor feelings of self-worth only on condition of achievement. This was designed to keep Male esteem low and be willing to give their lives in war for love honor from society. Males not achieving are given ridicule and discipline to make them try harder. Support is not given for fear of coddling and false belief in genetics. Many boys falling behind turn their attention to sports and video games for small measures of love honor not received in school. The belief boys should be strong and false belief in genetics create denial of the harsh treatment which is creating the low academics low esteem and other problems for boys. This is not about more openness from boys; it is about society allowing aggressive treatment from infancy so boys feel much wariness toward parents teachers who freely use aggressive treatment for any sign of weakness. This is condoned by society. This problem is affecting all male children but the lower the socioeconomic bracket and time in lower areas the much more amplified the treatment given male children by parents/teachers. There is a wrinkle to this. There are a "very few boys" given more stable, correct support from some families which will enable those boys to succeed in school. This enables those boys to do well -and receive love and honor from others, which they must continually do to continue to earn that love and honor. This then becomes a drug for those boys which drives them to continually achieve in different ways in school. However the vast majority of boys who do not receive that support will not do well in school and early on, go into other areas to generate love and honor such as sports, military, other. As girls we are given much support and care by parents teachers peers. As girls we are treated better and so enjoy support from society. Since we as girls are given by differential treatment much mental social/emotional support verbal interaction and care this creates the opposite outcome for girls when compared with boys. We receive love honor simply for being girls. This creates all of the good things. We have lower average stress for ease of learning. We enjoy much freedom of expression from much protection by society. We enjoy lower muscle tension for ease in writing motivation to write. We enjoy much positive trust/communication from parents teachers and support for perceived weaknesses. We are reaping a bonanza in the information age. Now with girls and women taking over many areas of society we enjoy more lavishing of love honor from society while boys and men are now failing more and are given more ridicule and abuse by society. Mind you this is now coming from girls and women using our still protected freedoms of expression and more with false feelings of superiority. As for girls there is a wrinkle also. We are given love and honor simply for being girls. This allows us to choose less than top planes of success and still find wonderful planes of innersecurity. We are not as driven. However, as the middle class continues to drop, there will be fewer boys able to receive the bare adequate support to be successful academically. Also more girls will begin "choosing to go into those higher fields by choice. This will slowly allow women to begin taking over those higher fields just as they have already taken over the other fields. Much more from learning theory.
To be quite clear, girls do not "do better at school". Girls score higher against the tests that have been tuned and tweaked constantly over the years to give girls a better chance at doing better. One example of this is that boys constantly perform better than girls on exams. Years ago the exam used to account for 80% of the work and the course work would account for 20%. As girls struggled with exams and no matter what they tried they could not get girls testing scores up, they simply adjusted the ratio. Now you will find for most courses the exam only accounts for 30-40% and as a result girls now outscore boys in assessment. They proved this one year by adjusting the ratio for the subject of maths A-Level and the boys instantly took the lead by a significant margin. Manipulating the assessment criteria doesn't do anyone a favour and will only lead to companies not trusting the grade system. Another factor which is not discussed in this article is the fact that the large majority of degrees that are being awarded to women are outside the major faculties. Social science, psychology, gender studies etc etc are the main degrees women are leading on. On the heavy hitting subjects like STEM fields you will see that women still lag behind. I highlight this not to diminish the significance of addressing the gender balance at university but to highlight that the bar has been lowered significantly over the years by universities to allow more people to join and get diplomas and degrees. The only real world affect that has is that degrees are now becoming more and more worthless.
"As girls we are given much support and care by parents teachers peers. As girls we are treated better and so enjoy support from society. Since we as girls are given by differential treatment much mental social/emotional support verbal interaction and care this creates the opposite outcome for girls when compared with boys. We receive love honor simply for being girls." I wish. As a girl, I was bullied, beaten, and sexually assaulted before I even left primary school. Boys routinely told me that lego was a "boy's toy" and it was only access to an all-girl secondary school that allowed me to develop STEM skills without being told "that's boy's subjects". Worldwide, girls face infanticide and sex-selective abortion. Being a girl is not the easy ride that you think it is.
It is a sad state that the past 40 years of feminism has done to society...at almost any avenue you look, it is apparent.....favoritism of females over males, no matter the age, to attempt to list the areas would be disallowed by this forum's sentence structure limitations....from preschool to all other ages, it is obvious, except to the blind. There may be a turn around, but not in our lifetimes. It is rare, indeed, that any kind of power reversal takes place, once placed on the "books". This effect is easily seen in history. Hundreds and hundreds of years...if ever....go by...possible to be broght on by calamity, when the better become a clearly obvious. But then, only after many centuries Men, will, and must become accustomed to an inferior, second class state until such times....a state of perhaps virtual slavery....due to their greater strength and intellect.....though the books/laws will continue with the belittlement. This state, or condition, is assured from the vast past 40 years of female entitlement...known as feminism in msny parts of the word.....and actually third stage feminism....which does not attempt to secure basic rights...those were secured many years ago...but instead it is the continuation of changing rights of one species over the rights of the other other.....ridiculous, practically obscene favoritism. The feminists are so accustomed by their own positions, and life style of denenegerating men that they cannot continue adding to womens rights
This is a most interesting article (and comments) because it highlights the insecurities that abound in this time of great change. Yes, I am disturbed that working class boys are not receiving the help they should get, but this should not be pitted against women finally achieving a degree of success. I cannot imagine that help for boys would be actually targeted to working class boys alone when the envy toward women finally achieving some parity is so palpable. There is a growing male backlash and I would guess some would only read the first part of this article and be smug in their belief that all males are suffering at the hands of women. If a moment is given to the numbers of single mothers working in low paying jobs and struggling to give their children, boys and girls, a chance at life; then it might be understood that we are living in a time of crisis and many are suffering. This crisis has also seen a tremendous rise in violence against women.

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