What would newspaper editors and academic researchers do without the 'battle of the sexes' as an endless source of interest and study? Two new studies have added to the column inches and research archives on this perennial subject in recent weeks.
The first, a study by Edinburgh University shows that intelligence in men is more widely distributed around the average - in other words, there are more stupid AND more smart men relative to the average. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to be 'bunched' around the average - there are very few that are stupid, but there are also comparatively few that are at the other extreme either.
Interestingly, the study explains why every year girls do better than boys in school exams. If females are more 'average' than males, and exams are designed to evaluate the education of average students, then girls will ALWAYS out-perform boys in relation to exam results. But in the long run it doesn't actually matter, as most of the jobs requiring above average intelligence will be filled by males. But I doubt that will stop some newspaper columnist gloating (and others fretting) every time the Leaving Cert results are published and show girls (yet again) doing better than boys.
So we've agreed that men are more likely to be stupid than women: what about happiness? It appears, again according to academic research, that despite all their gains in economic freedom and status in recent decades, women are significantly less happy than men by comparison with the past. Of course, much of this research simply rehashes findings replicated in earlier studies. For an excellent summary of gender research see the ironically entitled 'Is There Anything Good About Men' - the answer by the way, for those of us with XY chromosomes, is 'yes': whew!
So there you have it: men are stupid, and women are miserable - in the battle of the sexes that sounds like a draw to me.