These streaks seem to be running in my wife's family. My wife is one of five girls and my wife gave birth to three girls. My parenting experiences with daughters ran to Strawberry Shortcake, Smurfs, Cabbage Patch dolls and Rainbow Bright. Now with grandsons it is Thomas the Tank Engine, Lighten McQueen and Buzz Lightyear. Has anyone figured out how to harness the energy power of a young boy??
Title IX has given my daughters opportunities in sports and academic areas that were unknown to girls growing up in the 1960's. The lessons learned on the sport fields for girls has translated into woman looking at their capabilities in ways that translate to women taking a more active role in many parts of our society. I have joked that women in my generation wanted to be equal to men and women in my daughters generation feel that being equal to men is a step down.
So now that I have grandsons and watching the report recently on CBS news and other news media that report how boys are falling behind girls academically it does raise the question of whether the education model that is followed in most schools is better geared to girls. Seventy-two percent of high school valedictorians are girls. As the chart below shows woman are more likely to graduate from college.
"Let me raise another radical idea. Maybe the differences between the genders are more about motivation than ability. This is the difference between can’t and won’t. Return for a moment to the Larry Summers issue about why there aren’t more female physics professors at Harvard. Maybe women can do math and science perfectly well but they just don’t like to. After all, most men don’t like math either! Of the small minority of people who do like math, there are probably more men than women. Research by Eccles has repeatedly concluded that the shortage of females in math and science reflects motivation more than ability. And by the same logic, I suspect most men could learn to change diapers and vacuum under the sofa perfectly well too, and if men don’t do those things, it’s because they don’t want to or don’t like to, not because they are constitutionally unable (much as they may occasionally pretend otherwise!). Several recent works have questioned the whole idea of gender differences in abilities: Even when average differences are found, they tend to be extremely small. In contrast, when you look at what men and women want, what they like, there are genuine differences."