It’s time to WISE up, boys need more help than girls

The public have spoken.

Well, when I say “the public”, I mean that Mx36 was kind enough to suggest I keep my blog name as it is and who am I to argue with my loyal reader/manager.

I can only assume that Mx36’s supportive efforts are in the name of charity and she will be getting her Duke of Edinburgh bronze award or a tax break of some kind for her efforts, not that I am complaining. She has even sent one of my random musings to her Facebook friends giving me a decent amount of views this weekend, which is great.

Now if only she worked for a massive media business, then she could make a real difference!

On to the news of the day.

I know I shouldn’t, but I had to smile at the news that a boy has just won a competition set up by EDF Energy to encourage girls into science. Odd result I accept, but not as odd as the competition title: “Pretty Curious” because girls are um, pretty and, er, really curious. Brilliant stuff – what group of men came up with that??

It got me thinking about lots of things but I’ll save my nonsense about other ridiculous competitions such as Baby Jumping and Worm Charming for another time as I wanted to make a few more (semi) sensible points.

There has been a lot of recent comment about getting more women into STEM occupations. For those unaware, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and one of the organisations heavily involved in this effort is WISE (worth looking at the website) which has the current stated aim of getting 1 million more women into the UK STEM workforce.

I’m all for equality – have I mentioned that – and so if this is a massive issue in this country, then I guess it’s a good thing but I had a closer look at WISE’s detailed document of statistics that was published last July to try to reach my own conclusions.

Please flick through but my summary is as follows:

  • No real difference in subjects taken at GCSEs although girls do better than boys in exams;
  • Less girls take the STEM subjects at A-Level, other than Biology, but girls do better than boys in the exams; and
  • At undergraduate level, the distinction between the two sexes is quite stark with women far outweighing men in anything to do with medicine, biology  and veterinary studies and men dominating in other sciences, particularly computer science and engineering.

I also know from previous research that 57% of trainee lawyers are female.

So……girls are outperforming boys in all exams, earn more than them in their 20’s, and all want to be doctors, vets and lawyers whereas the boys want to be geeky computer guys and engineers…….and which gender has all the support to help them make better decisions?

Why is this stark distinction happening anyway? Well I’m a believer in role-models and I reckon young girls are making a subconscious choice between these two:

Conversely, boys see Mark Zuckerburg [have you lost my number, Mark?] making billions, and even see Leonard managing to pull Penny on TBBT, and think that the geeks will inherit the earth.

Boys, I don’t want to disappoint you, but you have to realise that for every one or two who invent Facebook or Twitter, there are a thousand of these guys:


Janice Turner wrote a great column in the Saturday Times (such a wonderful paper don’t you think, Mx36?) about a month ago about the relatively poor performance of boys in education and how, if we didn’t look at the causes behind this soon and do something about it, the disparity will simply grow and grow and men will face significant issues in later life.

I agree and think this is a massive issue and that support is needed for boys/men.

Incidentally, I do think that in the future that women will need support as well, but more a form of relationship counselling, as they won’t be able to find someone suitable to marry. In 30 years’ time, it will be a world full of Dr Meredith Greys having to choose between a whole bunch of Wayne Campbells and Garth Algars.

Anyway, rather than just blog about the woes of men, I’ve decided to do something about it and have set up a male support organisation. It’s all about a memorable name so I’ve come up with (fanfare please):

MILDEW – to encourage Men to become Lawyers, Doctors, get involved in Equestrianism (*cough*) and undertake more “Woman’s work”. Look, I may have squeezed in Equestrianism for the sake of an “E” but all I ever hear about is Zara Phillips and Charlotte Dujardin and her dancing horse, so think it’s fair.

Woman’s work may sound odd but it is to make a point about the traditional female roles. Men need to do their share of work around the house; to share child-rearing responsibilities equally; and to get more involved in child-minding/nursery roles and primary school teaching as these are the critical early teaching role models for children.

I need a strap-line too, how about something like:

“MILDEW – Helping you to be a fun guy”

All I need now is a national media organisation to get behind this and I think I’m onto something. Anyone know one?

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4 Responses to It’s time to WISE up, boys need more help than girls

  1. A really interesting post and I think that there is a whole host of complex reasons why there is such a divide between how girls and boys perform at school etc. I do think that this is something that needs to be looked at urgently and like you say there needs to be more positive role models for both boys and girls in different professions. As you are aware I believe that it all stems from early childhood and the labels used for girls and boys and the societal expectations of how both genders behave, this is even apparent in toy shops where construction toys and computer games are clearly aimed at the boy market etc.


  2. Pingback: Shock exclusive: Google tech employee has sexist views | The Important Novella

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