Venus and Mars: Female Students Underestimate Their Intelligence, Study Shows

Women consistently underestimated their own intelligence

Young male scientists are more likely than their female colleagues to overestimate how smart they are, an academic study revealed. A doctoral researcher at Arizona State University found that women consistently underestimated their own intelligence. Katelyn Cooper published her findings in the Advances in Physiology Education journal. Her curiosity was sparked by the observation that female scientists often expressed a fear of being considered ‘stupid’.

After interviewing 250 biology undergraduates – asked to assess their own intelligence and that of their classmates – Cooper’s suspicion that men were more confident than women was confirmed. Male biologists were three times more likely to think they were smarter than their lab partner than female students were. An average male with average grades put himself in the top 33% of the class, while his female counterpart put herself in the top 46%.

Their self-analysis translated into action with the males more likely to take on a leadership role in group assignments. Cooper and the other researchers said this helped reinforce the lack of confidence felt by many female scientists. Cooper recommends that lecturers place less emphasis on group assignments and recognise that often ‘the quietest students have the best ideas’. She advises leaders to insist on hearing from all students to encourage both women and men to speak out.

Biggest student protests in France since the 1960s

Anger over proposed changes to university entry criteria have led to the biggest student protests in France since the 1960s. Emmanuel Macron’s government is facing widespread revolt over his plans to allow universities to select students based on merit. Dozen of lectures have been cancelled across the country, with thousands of students barricading the theatres, armed with sleeping bags and protest signs. Police forcibly removed students in Strasbourg, while masked men attacked young protesters in Montpellier. 

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has condemned the violence and said scheduled exams in late April and May would go ahead. He accused left-wing activists for fomenting trouble to coincide with a major strike by rail workers. 

French students have long enjoyed the right to attend university in their home region, provided they get the required exam results in high school. But some courses – especially law and psychology – are vastly more popular than others. As a consequence some universities no longer have the resources to educate thousands of psychology students each year who claim a constitutional right to local education. Under the Macron reforms, universities would be able to pick only the best students, forcing some to study in another region, or choose a different course.

Risking everything to live in Europe

A rap video encouraging young Guineans to stay at home instead of travelling to Europe received funding from the EU and International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Fale by rappers Degg J Force 3 can be watched on Youtube where it has almost 250,000 views. Fale means ‘bridge’ in the local language and the video sends a powerful message that travelling to Europe – as countless thousands of Guineans do – is a dangerous journey. It shows two friends preparing to embark on the voyage for a better life. One decides to stay at home and kisses the earth of mother Guinea. The other continues and his fate is shown to be an empty jacket floating in the Mediterranean. 

Lyrics are not subtle and include the messages ‘succeed at home’ and ‘the sea will kill you’. With help from the EU and IOM the rap group are touring Guinea hoping to convince youngsters to seek a better life in their own country.

The IOM has stated its plans to use contemporary music as a tool to combat the temptation faced by millions of African youth to risk everything for a shot at life in Europe. The UN organisation has recorded Guinea as having one of the highest rates of emigration, with more than 6,600 young Guineans reaching the shores of Italy last year.

Photo: Shutterstock

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