Girls Now Think They’re Smarter Than Boys

The days of girls questioning their skills and intelligence may be coming to an end, if a recent study from Britain is to be believed.

Via Jezabel:

The BBC reports that researchers from Britain’s University of Kent gave children between four and 10 a variety of statements like, “this child is really clever” and “this child always finishes their work.” The kids were supposed to point to a picture of a boy or a girl depending on who they thought better matched the statement. Girls of all ages “said girls were cleverer, performed better, were more focused and were better behaved or more respectful,” while boys started out giving evenly divided answers, but as they got older came to agree with girls. Another study tested kids’ math, reading, and writing skills — one group was told beforehand that boys usually did worse on the test, while the other was not. Unsurprisingly, boys in the first group did perform significantly worse.

Of course, no one wants boys to suffer self-esteem problems, either.  And that appears to be what this study is pointing to.  As Broadsheet points out:

This will hardly surprise anyone who has paid attention to the wealth of studies showing the devastating impact stereotypes can have on girls when it comes to math.  Even subtle reminders of gender — “male” or “female” check boxes, for example — can hurt girls’ test scores, and of course the same is true for boys. Lead researcher Bonny Hartley explains: “There are signs that these expectations have the potential to become self-fulfilling in influencing children’s actual conduct and achievement.” She warns teachers to avoid pitting the boys against the girls and using diminishing sayings like “silly boys” or “schoolboy pranks.” 

Still, I feel a little less concern over the boys, who thus far haven’t been subjected to a barrage of toys that tell them that their gender is less intelligent than the other.

The defining feature of this study is also proves that if your child is exposed repeatedly to idea that he or she is smart, that child will believe it.  It’s up to parents to build self-confidence, and for the rest of society to at least attempt not to chip away at it.

Growing smart, confident girls is our responsibility, and should be our pleasure as well.  And we can do it without cutting down boys, as well.

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Ann D.
Ann D.5 years ago

I really feel we need to examine how boys and girls are treated from a very young age, as early as one year old. We need to look more closely at how our average stress really does matter and takes up more or less, real mental energy. If one has lower layers of mental work (lower average stress) that one will be able to think, visualize, manipulate, organize, and use information more effectively. If one has higher layers of mental work (higher average stress) that one will have less mental energy to think, learn, and perform other mental work. This will also cut motivation to learn or mental reward received for mental work expended. The effects of differential treatment, more aggressive, less kind, less stable, more commanding, and fewer words during interaction needs to be addressed to see if there are much larger social variables creating less able Male students from an early age that hinders maturity and other mental/emotional/social growth.
Until we begin looking at differential treatment from an early age and show just how our individual environments create different mental/emotional/social conditioning; how average stress is made up of layers of mental frictions that take up real mental energy, and how differential treatment creates real advantages for girls today, we will continue to be at a loss to explain the growing Male Crisis. Please do not buy into the genetic models, for they will only make it much worse for Male students.
The probl

Susanna I.
Susanna A7 years ago

I 'm not sure about this study. Girls and women have been told we are inadequate and not worthy of education for a very long time. Boys and men have been expected to be smart and to succeed. I hope that ALL our children worldwide can be taught to have courage and self-confidence. Certainly not one gender at the expense of the other- as it has been in the past. And for the transgender, intersex and genderqueer children- there should be support for them as well.

Geri M.

I don't want to give boys self-esteem problems, I just don't like their gaining self-esteem at the expense of girls, like they did when I was in school. Girls were always being put down by the boys; even teachers joined in! I'm very gratified that girls are learning to respect their abilities and themselves. I am convinced that girls and women ARE smarter than most males on a number of fronts, they have much more common sense and much more maturity at EVERY age. It is really noticeable what a poor grasp of political matters most American men have compared to women. Most vote republican.

Hilary E.
Hilary E7 years ago

Boy David L. I bet you're just an utter joy at the dinner table during Thanksgiving...esp. considering that the food you're eating was probably slaved over ALL DAY by a WOMAN!

April Thompson
April Thompson7 years ago

Depends on the child involved.

H Fay H.
Holly F7 years ago

First of all, the test results described in this poll is proof-positive evidence that people in many parts of the civilized world* are finally starting to realize women are human beings and should be viewed as such. (*"Civilized world" refers to countries who have, centuries ago, banned the barbaric practice of death by stoning, hanging, the threatening, injuring, poisoning and killing of young girls who wish to attend school simply because they want to learn to read and write.)

There is still much work to do, but this a a great beginning! I commend the author's closing comment of this article "Growing smart, confident girls is our responsibility, and should be our pleasure as well. And we can do it without cutting down boys, as well.",

Jewels S.
Jewels S7 years ago

The wave is changing. Finally girls are learning how to level the field. It has been horribly biased for millennia. And to you men that don't think this is true, dress as a women and walk down city streets for one day and you will have a different view.

Allan Y.
.7 years ago

As a teacher, in my experience, girls are generally brighter than boys as they like school more. As they advance to high school, I find this intellectual gap begins to fade. Boys simply don't mature as fast as girls. But, give a boy a subject they like, they take off like a rocket.

Jill B.
Jill B7 years ago

OMG David...get a grip! When you've been disparaged and maligned for as long as women have you can talk like that O.K. Otherwise learn to like yourself. Who cares what anyone else thinks of you.

Lawrence E.
Lawrence H E7 years ago

Languages and other "soft sciences?" Are you kidding? A subject is either a science or it isn't. If the same results using the same procedures under the same conditions can not be replicated then it isn't a science, soft or hard. We discredited cold fusion because it wasn't able to be replicated. I am tired of the social sciences claiming the title of science when they can not replicate outcomes. Is metaphysics a science or a belief system? I see religion at opposition with science because their metaphysical beliefs do not coincide with true science. This has lead to several psuedo-scientific hypothesies discrediting not only evolution and relativity, but also the dangers of smoking and climate change. Can women be as good as men at science? Ask Madame Curie and her daughter. What it takes is taking the time to learn the math and the science so that you can participate. Calling a thing that is not science a soft science does not make it a science no more than calling a horse's behind a horse head makes it a head.