What about the boys?

June 8, 2009

Both boys and girls have issues, but boys seem to be the ones getting the raw deal. According to Judith Kleinfeld, professor of psychology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the US, issues affecting boys are more serious than those affecting girls, but they have been neglected by policy makers. Her review (1) of issues characterizing American boyhood, how they compare to those affecting girls, and the lack of initiatives in place to address them has just been published in the June issue of Springer's journal Gender Issues.

Professor Kleinfeld's paper reviews the different viewpoints surrounding the debated existence of a so-called 'boy crisis'. She then looks at gender differences in measures of educational achievement including literacy levels, college entrance tests, school grades, engagement in schools, dropout rates, as well as psychological issues affecting young people including mental health, suicide, depression and conduct disorders. Lastly, she shows how boys and girls compare in terms of premature death and injuries and rates of delinquency and arrests.

According to Judith Kleinfeld, boys get the raw deal. Compared with girls, American boys have lower rates of literacy, lower grades and engagement in school, higher drop-out from school, and dramatically higher rates of suicide, premature death, injuries, and arrests. Boys are also placed more often in special education. Girls on the other hand are more likely to have different problems including depression, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders.

The researcher argues that although there have been numerous federal, state, school district, and foundation programs aimed at addressing issues faced by girls, led in part by the strong feminist movement, the same cannot be said for the problems encountered by boys. In her view, they have been largely neglected.

Professor Kleinfeld concludes: "In terms of policy discussion and educational investments, the nation is addressing gender differences which barely exist but ignoring gender gaps which are substantial. Policy attention has focused on the supposed underachievement of females in mathematics and science but these gender gaps are small. In contrast, substantial gender gaps are occurring in reading and writing which place males at a serious disadvantage in the employment market and in college…. Both and face gendered problems which need policy attention."

Source: Springer

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Group suggests pushing age of adolescence to 24

January 22, 2018
A small group of researchers with the Royal Children's Hospital in Australia is suggesting that it might be time to change the span of years that define adolescence—from the current 10 to 19 to a proposed 10 to 24 years ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (2) Jun 08, 2009
The boys might as well get used to being 3rd class citizens in the U.S. Once the boys (European White Males) become men, they will face continued discrimination.

In corporate America we have Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Woman Business Enterprises (WBEs). MBEs and WBEs are granted special privileges to bid on contracts for the government and large corporations, such as Toyota and P&G.

Search for this on Google:
minority supplier council
women supplier council

You'll find all kinds of government entities and non-profits created to simply channel funds to MBEs and WBEs.

The same discrimination exists among many colleges and universities and civil service employers.
1 / 5 (2) Jun 08, 2009
Actually African American males are at even more of a disadvantage in school than any other group. MBEs don't address that. You're talking about a different issue and you are an idiot.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2009
Well, hes not an idiot. Positive discrimination is still a discrimination. It shoud be Poors Bussiness Enterprises or something like that!
5 / 5 (3) Jun 08, 2009
Well in the wide world of racial and sexual favoratism both groups face systemic integration issues. In short they chose not to integrate completely and thus face issues.

Women who not as individuals but as a group wish to have door opened, the heavier boxes carried will face all the pro's and con's of the fairer sex issues. It doesn't matter if you personally don't want it if as a group it is prefered you are stuck with it.

The african american community if the youth chose to dress as thugs and gangsters congratulations you've effecitively sent your message you wish to be a thug so be prepared to be treated as such. Even for those who successfully become integrated in society are denigrated by thier race and called oreo's black on the outside white in the middle.

For a successful integration I offer you the Irish when they arrive they were poor and starving. Physically distinctive they worked hard as a group they've mainstreamed and being Irish mostly important only at St. Pats. Before I hear the tired arguement that they physically blend in I ask you to consider are you seriously looking at a fellow whose face if filled with freckles, whose head looks like it is on fire and telling me they are white and all look alike?

If you want true equality give me unisex bathrooms on no checkbox for race on job applications.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 09, 2009
I agree.

I learned in male female communication class that boys were conditioned as children to not ask for help and to view it as a sign of weakness and female behavior. A girl who stands up for her gender and demands fair treatment is considered strong. A boy who complains about unfair treatment is considered a sissy.
not rated yet Jun 09, 2009
not rated yet Jun 09, 2009
Women who are aggressive in the workplace are often referred to in negative characterizations, men who do the exact same thing are positively characterized.

There are many ways to discriminate, not all are overt. Each gender has its challenges. However, even today, women have not achieved pay parity with their male counterparts doing the same jobs (irrespective of the employment being traditionally male dominated).

What is clear today beyond gender and race discrimination no matter which end you look at, globalization is the real threat to availability of jobs and human rights associated with working, property ownership, personal freedoms and privacy.

We're looking at trees in front of our house while there is a raging forest fire behind it rapidly approaching.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2009
For 200K years men have been subjugating women, using physical mass and strength as our maul. In every culture and continent women are used as chattel, in every conflict women are raped, in every time period, women bear the consequences of male brutality. We finally reach a confluence of time and society in which, after a hundred years of unceasing struggle, women have a chance to make up some minuscule portion of the backlog of inequality and someone pipes up "What about the boys"? Are you kidding me? Boys have been handed (comparatively speaking) their meal ticket since the dawn of time! It's time that women get their fair shake at a meal ticket. "What about the boys" indeed.. What about the boys? How many women do you think would build a thermonuclear weapon? How many women contributed to weaponizing Anthrax? How many female serial rapists are out there?

I would not be a woman for all of the cash in the world. I like being a guy, but I suffer no illusions about what men have done to women over the eons.
not rated yet Jun 15, 2009
^Indeed! Look at representation in government for a prime example. Look at the choices available to women in traditional marriages to financially secure their futures. Politically, socially, economically, educationally challenges continue to be vast but less talked about or recognized. The objectification of women appears the same if not worse than even a mere 30 years ago to now include faddish cultural hostility that is expressed in music and physical. One step forward, three steps back.

Now,today, an entire generation of women will face poverty and abandonment in their old age. I expect suicide rates will rise. That will be met with glee by some whose myopia sees no merit except in themselves.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.