The OECD has again determined that girls and boys are different in school and is again making wicked parents and environment responsible for this fact. Somehow it has to be possible to force girls and boys to become the same, even when girls do not want that at all, doesn’t it?
My wife and I have practically the same profession. She is a professor for Islamic studies, and I am a professor for the sociology of religion and theology. We have encouraged each other and have roughly achieved the same level professionally. In different ways and independent of each other we have become speakers for the World Evangelical Alliance, I for human rights and she for issues relating to Islam.
Still, our two children, each of a different gender, are the perfect pieces of evidence in support of the new OECD PISA results. I do not want to say more, since the private life of my children does not belong here. That our children are developing typical male and female interests is certainly not a question of the parents or of what we promote and encourage. My mother was a Chemist at Behring works and at the University of Marburg, so why should my daughter therefore not tend in such a direction? Since she was small, I have given her scientifically oriented books in order to balance out our one-sidedness with respect to the social sciences – apparently without success.
Could not the outcry of the OECD that even in Scandinavian countries, which have conducted ‘gender mainstreaming’ for a much longer period of time, more intensively, and at times with a wrecking bar, one finds that school girls are still better on average in different courses than school boys, rather be a sign of ideological and therefore unscientific reflexes?
Or stated another way: Should I force my daughter to do something else besides achieve her dreams and use her gifts and abilities so that the OECD and politicians are satisfied?
By the way, I know from my own experience that some female teachers downright despise boys and want to ‘turn them into’ girls. Why is this not picked out as a major theme by the OECD, given the increasing amount of evidence that boys are discriminated against in our school system? Why is it not considered discrimination that almost only women are becoming school teachers? Why is it always the same story, as if we still lived in the 1960s? I am a modern father (see my book Modern Fathers) and have no desire to measure myself against traditional wisdom that different slants and interests between boys and girls are only a consequence of societal and parental narrow-mindedness. Forty years ago one was not able to refute that, but today absolutely.
God created man and woman with equal value and with equal rights, but he did not create them as identical beings. This ancient insight from the first chapters of the Bible appears to me to me closer to reality and more revolutionary than the demands of fundamentalist streams in many religions, on the one hand, but also of the fundamentalism of gender mainstreaming dressed in scientific garb: what may not be cannot be.
I am in full and complete agreement with the following commentary by Dorothea Siems (Dorothea Siems, “Long live the Differences”. Die Welt dated May 27, 2009, p. 1): http://www.welt.de/die-welt/article3810235/Es-lebe-der-Unterschied.html
“The outcry is as loud as can be expected. The Pisa Report regarding the differences between girls and boys in educational achievement proves what educators and parents observe every day: Boys have an easier time with arithmetic, and girls read better. For politicians of equality this result is a scandal. After all they have been telling us the news for years that role models are only trained and a result of upbringing and societal pressure. Interestingly the forerunners of gender mainstreaming, who pursue the elimination of all gender differences, are standing there in northern Europe with results no different than ours. In countries such as Sweden or Norway women would rather study sociology than physics and would rather be nurses than lay floor tiles. OECD Experts themselves point to the fact that independent of their respective abilities, boys and girls have different interests: Ladies tend to choose a carrier in which they have to deal with people: boys, on the other hand, are more interested in facts and technology. That male pupils more often fall through the cracks also has to do with the fact that boys’ strengths stand too little in the foreground. . . . The strength of men lies in dealing with computers and jobs that are technical or mathematical in nature. If one were to only go by girls’ tendencies, boys would be able to quietly keep these territories. The spirit of the age, however, wants women to be equal in all fields.
Up to a certain degree gender differences will decrease. After all, long ago girls caught up in what used to be men’s domains such as medicine. Emancipation does not mean that women should become like men or vice versa. As a neuter, mankind would surely not be happier.”