Thursday, August 13, 2009
It doesn't look like the patriarchy rules that well in Ireland either. If so, how do you account for the lessening performance of boys as it is in almost all western and English speaking democracies. What "spin" will the feminists put on this one.MJM
GIRLS HAVE outperformed boys in every core and popular Leaving Cert subject this year, with boys having a failure rate twice as high as girls in several subjects.
An analysis of the 2009 Leaving Cert results shows a continuing gap in the performance of girls and boys in the core subjects of English, Irish and maths as well as foreign languages, history, geography and science subjects.
The only science subject where boys did better was applied maths. Boys had marginally better results at higher level and significantly better results at ordinary level in this subject.
However, in almost every other subject, girls had more honours grades and fewer failing marks at both higher and ordinary level.
The gender gap is particularly wide in the three core subjects at higher and ordinary level, but is at its most stark at ordinary level.
In ordinary level maths, 12.6 per cent of boys failed, compared with 8.5 per cent of girls. The failure rate for boys was almost 2½ times that of girls in ordinary-level English at 4.4 per cent, compared with 1.8 per cent.
While for ordinary-level Irish, the failure rate for boys was more than 2½ times that of girls, at 6.3 per cent against 2.4 per cent for girls.
At the other end of the scale in these subjects, girls achieved more honours than boys. In higher maths, 82.1 per cent of girls got honours, while just 2.5 per cent failed. In the same subject, 79.5 per cent of boys got honours, but 4 per cent failed.
In higher English, 78.9 per cent of girls got honours and 1.2 per cent failed, compared with 72.2 per cent of boys getting honours and 2.5 per cent failing.
The higher level Irish results were the most impressive of any subject for both boys and girls, but here too girls had an edge with 87.1 per cent achieving honours and just 0.6 per cent failing. While for boys the rate of honours was 85.3 per cent and the failure rate was also very low at .7 per cent.
In the sciences, girls did better overall at higher and ordinary levels. In higher physics, 76.8 per cent of girls got honours and 5.7 per cent failed, while 71.5 per cent of boys got honours and 8.6 per cent failed. Results were similar in higher chemistry; 79.2 per cent of girls got honours, 6.1 per cent failed, and 75.2 per cent of boys got honours and 8 per cent failed.
The failure rate for these sciences at ordinary level was far higher for both sexes, particularly in chemistry, where 66.9 per cent of girls got honours but a substantial 12.7 per cent failed, while 59.3 per cent of boys got honours and 18.1 per cent failed.
Ordinary-level physics failure rates, while not as bad as chemistry, were also very high; 78.7 per cent of girls got honours and 7.5 per cent failed, whereas 73.6 per cent of boys got honours and 10.4 per cent failed.
A far greater number of boys sat applied maths than girls; 792 candidates compared with 249 girls at higher level and 59 compared with 22 at ordinary level. It was one of the few subjects where boys outperformed girls scoring honours in 78.5 per cent of cases compared with 76.3 per cent for girls.
The boys still had a slightly higher failure rate at higher level – 6.3 per cent compared to 5.2 per cent, but at ordinary level their failure rate was far lower with 8.8 per cent of boys failing applied maths compared to 15.2 per cent of girls.
Girls did better in French, German, Spanish, biology, accounting, business studies and economics.
It’s hard to listen to someone who compares feminism to “the historical rise of Nazism in Germany,” a phrase once written by prominent men’s rights activist David Shackleton. But while the men’s rights movement does have more than its share of extremists, that doesn’t mean feminists should dismiss the whole cause.
I believe that some moderate activists have made some sensible points and that we feminists ought to engage with our detractors if they’re willing to engage—reasonably—with us. Comparing their arguments with our own ensures that feminism remains relevant to our time and place.
One such argument is the concept of equal parenting: the idea, advocated by many men’s activists, that both parents should be equally involved in their children’s lives postseparation. Some feminist critics find it a dubious concept. Pamela Cross of theOntario Women’s Justice Network has pointed out that equal parenting doesn’t account for domestic violence issues and is often accompanied by questionable ideology. Still, changes in family structure—and skepticism about the women-as-nurturers assumption—make the issue worth considering. “You’ve got women who I’m sure would love to have the opportunity and the freedom to enter into the workforce on a full-time basis, who are being saddled with full [custody] … It should be a joint responsibility, as well as a joint right,” says Kris Titus, national coordinator of Fathers 4 Justice Canada.
Another popular cry in the men’s rights movement is that domestic violence affects women and men equally. A 2005 Statistics Canada survey did find that 653,000 women and 546,000 men had been subjected to spousal violence over the past five years. Feminists have since questioned the study’s methodology and critiqued its numbers as deceptive (women are more than twice as likely to suffer an injury or be the target of frequent attacks, and far more likely to be murdered). But while flawed, the study does highlight that men can be victims, as well as knock down the stereotype that women are never aggressors. With some 90 per cent of shelters refusing to admit men, it’s clear the issue warrants serious consideration.
Undoubtedly, misogyny (or pure bitterness) motivates much of men’s activism, but beneath the often ludicrous rhetoric are some legitimate issues that we feminists shouldn’t be wary of addressing. The trick is to figure out where fanaticism stops and the real arguments begin.