Monday, September 13, 2004

Women work harder than men - official stats

Turns out girls study harder than boys at university according to the BBC. Apparently thats why they get more 2:1s and higher grades. Meanwhile boys get more 1sts than girls because they study so-called "hard" subjects which hand out a disproportionate percentage of the firsts. Of course its pretty hard to say which are the "hard" subjects - they list "computer studies" as an example. But its classic chicken and egg, if language students were 95% lads probably languages would be considered the hardest subject. Still - nice one girls!

4 comments:

wufnik said...

well, you certainly seem to be having fun! Nice blog.

The Loathing Kite said...

Computers, Mathematics, Sciences and Applied Sciences are considered harder subjects because they require one to think logically and analytically. Those are two things that one must force oneself to do. Writing a poem takes little effort. I'm not saying that the arts are easy; I'm no Picasso. I'm saying that words are something that we experience and use everyday. Differentiation and integration are not. By the way, statistics can say whatever you want them to. It's not fair to be sexist because it's the same concept of racism, but on a much wider scale.

Cruella said...

Well welcome to my blog and thanks for reading...

I think you could argue that languages are harder because they not only require you to understand linguistic and grammatical rules but also to understand the circumstances in which they can be broken. Similarly thinking creatively is harder because it requires you to originate ideas rather than accepting given principals.

I don't feel personally that I have to force myself to think logically. If anything its easier to operate in a fixed set of rules than it is to have to define your own as you go along.

Also if, say, maths is DE FACTO harder than, say, english literature why can I do 2+2 in my head in a millisecond, but I can't provide a full critique on Ulysses, err, probably ever? One exam might be harder than another but no subject "just is" harder than any other. There are some pretty tough questions in my "star trek special edition trivial pursuit" set...

Judging which subject is "harder" is never going to be possible. The only sensible way to assess it would be to see how many hours are typically spent studying. Personally I got a maths degree and I definitely did not put in as many hours as my friends who did english lit. They had a lot more information to take in and process than I did.

Incidentally, if you think writing a poem "takes little effort" I'll thank you not to post any of your recent "odes" on this blog anyway...


Anyway your other points:

"By the way, statistics can say whatever you want them to." err, that's nonsense (trust me - I have a maths degree...). There are certainly examples around of unfairly collected statistics, and you certainly shouldn't trust everything you read but actually the statistical facts can usually tell you a lot more about a situation that sensationalised human interest stories will.

and finally:

"It's not fair to be sexist because it's the same concept of racism, but on a much wider scale."

I think everyone would agree that sexism and racism are wrong. What's your point here?

Andrew said...

'Also if, say, maths is DE FACTO harder than, say, english literature why can I do 2+2 in my head in a millisecond, but I can't provide a full critique on Ulysses, err, probably ever'

Yes, and you couldn't prove Fermat's Last Theorem, err, probably ever, either... What does that prove?

Sciences and languages are totally different subjects. They require different skills, both valuable in their own way. I don't think it makes sense to say one is harder than the other. The reason that people get higher grades in sciences is because questions on science exams have correct answers. It is possible to score 100% in an exam. It is not possible to do this in a non-science subject because of the subjectivity.

Having said that, as an employer, I'd take an average science graduate over a first-class languages graduate any day of the week. You can teach people to write competently pretty quickly. You can't teach them to think logically and to analyse in a comparable timeframe. This is one of the reasons for the glass ceiling.