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Women's IQ on the rise

The move to modernity is being credited for the way women's IQ scores now match and, in some cases, exceed men's.

Emeritus Professor Jim Flynn: "I would say the evidence shows that women equal men."

In one of the chapters of his new book, Are We Getting Smarter?, Emeritus Professor Jim Flynn, has attempted to settle a long-standing argument about the comparative IQs of the sexes.

Flynn has focused on data using Raven's Progressive Matrices, an IQ test that is less affected by verbal skills, where women have an advantage.

He found six nations with sufficient data and, in five of them including New Zealand, women either matched men or exceeded them. On average, women had an IQ of 100.7 compared to men at 100.

"One shouldn't exaggerate the significance of that," says Flynn. "It may be that women are more self-disciplined during the test and, although their intellectual capabilities equal men, they get a very small bonus in that they might check their answers more thoroughly or try harder – this sort of stuff. So I would say the evidence shows that women equal men."

The sixth nation was Israel and Flynn says it was significant that women from highly orthodox Jewish backgrounds, about 20 per cent of the population, are not given a chance at modernity. Their mean IQ of about 90 dragged the national IQ for women down to about 98.

"There has to be equal emphasis on education for women and professions have to be open to women and, in the five countries where that was true, the women made as good scores or slightly better than men."

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