Beppie has a great post up at Hoyden About Town about the head-deskingly obvious connection between the increasing gender pay gap and the on-the-surface-contradictory gender school performance gap.
I would hypothesise, quite simply, that boys don’t work as hard at their schoolwork because they don’t have to.
Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner.
Oh, I’m not saying individual boys are horrid, lazy, entitled sods. It may just be, you know, that teachers are well-aware that women will have to work harder and perform better for their entire lives just to be treated somewhat equally to their male counterparts. It may just be that we still live in a patriarchal society which oppresses women, so some teachers push their girl students harder because they know what challenges they’re going to face in later life (like getting fired because their boss can’t take responsibility for his own brain.)
What struck me as well, though, is what this contradiction then means for the typical, semi-regular “oh noes, boys aren’t doing so well at school, what’s wrong???” handwringing.
Because obviously, boys’ lesser academic performance in school isn’t really hurting them that badly, in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like we can say “shit, boys are doing less well at school, so they’re not getting into university or high-paid jobs!!!” because that simply isn’t the case.
Maybe it’s as callous as this: boys doing less well at school is a problem because it highlights, as Beppie shows, just how bad the gender gap in employment is. It shows categorically that men continuing to sit at the top table more and get paid the big bucks more is not down to superior performance nor training.
Of course, patriarchy can’t allow this kind of clear evidence of its existence to sit out there for all to see; so any minute now I’m sure there’ll be wall-to-wall coverage of another “study” proving that women, despite our apparent intelligence, are just self-absorbed baby-making factories who can’t commit to proper careers.
Purely coincidentally, you understand.