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Friday, 20 November 2009

Education and feminism and Steve Moxon

This seems to be a common complaint of the education system these days. Apparently boys are being held back so that girls look better - not sure I believe that. People seem to be worried about most primary school teachers being women. I was at primary school in the 1950s/1960s and all my teachers - with one exception - were female. So how have things changed?

The other complaint is course work favours girls where exams favour boys. This is definitely a sweeping generalisation. I've come across more than one man who doesn't do well in exams but excels at coursework. I tend to do better in exams than I do at coursework but my mother used to go to pieces in exams. So surely if you have half the marks on the coursework and half on the exam that is fair to both? Or am I missing something?

I am currently reading an interesting book by Steve Moxon called The Woman Racket. I haven't got to the section about education though he has talked about men getting a higher percentage of first class honours degrees and being better than women at maths. His basic theory is that men are discriminated against because in almost any activity women cluster in the middle sections of ability with men at both ends - the best and the worst. Men have bigger brains and higher IQs. I paused to wonder whether that's because they were better at IQ tests but he seems to have ignored that point.

He also argues that the NHS pays more attention to women's health. Germaine Greer argues that's because it's an indirect way of controlling women by screening them for everything under the sun. I've also read somewhere that men in general resist attending for any sort of screening and that is one reason why screening programmes for prostate cancer etc are not considered viable. There is far more at stake than a simple discrimination issue.

Steve Moxon's basic argument is that women have never been discriminated against in any shape or form and have always lived privileged lives and yet they never achieve anything particularly noteworthy. Marie Curie anyone? Florence Nightingale? Rosalind Franklin? He also says we should not judge what happened in the past through the eyes of today. I know what he's getting at but surely nothing would change if we never looked at it differently? He is saying men are the ones who are discriminated against. He hasn't yet annoyed me and while I don't wholly agree with what he is saying it is interesting reading and is backed up by verifiable sources for a change.


kcm said...

Oh, really; boys are being held back? No, and they never were. As I understand it, and this was certainly borne out by my school days, girls actually do better at school on average than boys right up to O level (shows my age!). Boys only take over and do better once they get to A level. This is not new; I thought it was well researched.

Jilly said...

My thoughts exactly though it seems to be trumpeted at the moment as something new and wholly down to the feminisation of education which discriminates against boys. Just shows the human propensity to see two unrelated factors as cause and effect I suppose.