New Yorker ads

Just a cool gallery of 80 years worth of New Yorker ads.  Fun to take a look at if you’ve got a few minutes.  For example:

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The gender gap in education

Girls have been outperforming boys in education for a long time.  In High School, though, apparently it’s becoming even more pronounced.  High achievement– as measured by percentage of A’s– shows an increasing gap between girls and boys.  Here’s a chart from a very interesting article in Slate/BusinessInsider:

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So, what’s been going on in the past decade to cause this?  Some options:

The researchers looked at four possible explanations: students’ plans for the future (including further education and eventual employment), non-cognitive skills, family environment, and working during school. By far the biggest change over the last 30 years has been in the labor market, and in women’s expectations about their careers. [emphasis mine] With the advent of computers and other technology, the number of clerical-type jobs, which used to largely employ women, has absolutely plummeted.

Basically, more girls than boys plan on extended higher education and they take their HS studies more seriously as a result.  Check out this graph:

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And some more explanation:

Just as the intention of going to grad school is strongly tied to getting more As, aiming towards a 2-year school is associated with lower grades, such as Cs. Boys, for example, expecting to go to graduate school leads to a 4 percent to 14 percent increased chance of getting an A. Expecting to go to a 2-year college lowers that chance -7 percent to -11 percent. The fact that more boys have aimed towards 2-year schools while more girls aim higher is one of the principle explanations of the gap. Boys also have higher levels of misbehavior, correlated with poor performance.

Too late to make the syllabus (photocopied it yesterday), but this will definitely be up for discussion in this semester’s Gender & Politics.

While there is still plenty of institutional sexism that harms girls, we do seem to need to do some work on boys here and, hopefully, get their academic ambition to catch up to that of girls.  Or at least not fall increasingly short.

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