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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014
We know the score
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 17, 2012
First Published: 21:26 IST(17/7/2012)
Last Updated: 21:29 IST(17/7/2012)

Raise a toast to the sorority, woman, because you just got clever. No, we do not refer to the clever way you managed the finances of your household in these dire times, or the clever knick-knacks you fashioned out of things that would have otherwise been thrown away. This is hard empirical evidence (the sort that lends credibility to truth itself) coming from the harder-nosed world of facts and figures. It says that for the first time in the 100 years since Intelligence Quotient began to be calculated, women have stopped lagging behind men and actually moved ahead in their scores.

James Flynn, who has been tracking how IQs rise over periods of time, has attributed the phenomenon of women getting smarter to modernity. This is not a forced equivalence, but an acknowledging nod to the increasing complexity of a woman's life, from the time she sat brooding over a 'problem that has no name' to the present when she has to walk the tricky tightrope between the demands of a family and career. Women now have proof of their cleverness, and no more do they need to fall back on soppy emotional intelligence to prove their worth in a man's world. No longer must they contend with holding up half the sky; they can hold all of it, sans men, now that they are armed with the requisite certification.

But keep proving their worth they must and hence the predominance of these surveys. Of course, those put to the test belonged to countries like the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Argentina, and not regions where regressive practices would put a lid on the very existence of women, leave alone their intelligence. Still, it would seem that we have travelled some distance from the times when low IQ scores would be used by the eugenics movement in the US to forcibly sterilise poor African American women. Clever women can indeed be a thing of joy but those found wanting may yet find the road ahead somewhat difficult.


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