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Girls Are Smarter Than Boys (Or at Least They Think They Are!)

school boy“Anything boys can do, girls can do better,” goes the classic song from “Annie Get Your Gun.”

Girls are smarter than boys too, at least the girls think so. New research suggests that from the age of four, girls believe they are smarter, better behaved, and more hard- working than boys, according to BBC News.

By the time boys reached the age of eight, they agreed with the girls’ perceptions that they were better at all these things, according to the study from the University of Kent.

To conduct the study, researchers questioned 238 children from the age of 4-10. Presented with a series of statements such as “this child is really clever” and “this child always finishes their work,” the children in the study were then asked to point to a picture of a boy or a girl to indicate who they thought the statement was referring.

From age 4, the girls responses indicated that they thought girls were smarter, performed better at school and were generally better behaved than the boys.

The younger boys’ responses were equally divided between boys and girls, but by the time they reached 8, they agreed that girls were better at school.

Both boys and girls said that they though that grown-ups believed that girls did better than boys at school. I wonder if most adults do, in fact, hold that belief.

Bonny Hartley will present the research today at the annual conference of the British Educational Research Association. Hartley warns against the use of language which instills stereotypes such as “silly boys” or “school boy pranks.” In England, boys do, in fact, lag behind girls in elementary school performance. But Hartley wonders whether it is partially a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Even those of us who are acutely conscious of gendered language occasionally fall into assumptions and stereotypes about boys and girls. I’ve certainly heard my fair share of “Boys will be boys” and “what a pretty girl!”

“I stubbornly refuse to divide the world into boy/girl, pink/blue, rowdy/serene,” my Strollerderby colleague Madeline Holler wrote recently. I agree with Holler’s sentiment, but in a pink and blue world, it’s sometimes hard not to take sides.

I admit that as the mother of two girls, I find it amusing when they proclaim, “Girls Rule. Boys Drool!”

Do you think there’s any truth to the stereotype that girls are smarter than boys?

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Should Bars Refuse to Serve Pregnant Women?

Photo: flickr/bionicteaching

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