Scientists now have compelling evidence that girls are smarter — or at least do better at school — than boys.
Girls outperform boys in educational achievement in 70% of the countries studied by researchers regardless of the level of gender, political, economic or social equality.
The University of Missouri and the University of Glasgow scientists studied the educational achievement levels of 1.5 million 15-year-olds from around the world using data collected between 2000 and 2010.
David Geary, Professor of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science at The University of Missouri, says girls are outperforming boys in reading, mathematics and science literacy even in countries where women’s liberties are severely restricted.
Boys outperform girls in only three countries or regions: Colombia, Costa Rica and the Indian state, Himachal Pradesh. Boys and girls had similar educational achievements in the US and the UK.
In countries known for relatively low gender equality ratings, such as Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, the educational achievement gap is relatively large and favours girls.
The one exception worldwide is among students in economically developed nations where high achieving boys outperform high achieving girls, researchers said.
“With the exception of high-achievers, boys have poorer educational outcomes than girls around the world, independent of social equality indicators,” said Gijsbert Stoet, reader in psychology at the University of Glasgow.
“Results show that a commitment to gender equality on its own is not enough to close the achievement gaps in global education; the gap is not increasing. Although it is vital that we promote gender equality in schools, we also need to make sure that we’re doing more to understand why these gaps, especially among boys, persist and what other policies we can develop to close them.”
The research has important implications for educational policy, the researchers said.
The study, “Sex differences in academic achievement are not related to political, economic or social equality”, is published in the journal Intelligence.
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