The World Economic Forum

has released its 2007 report on the global gender gap. 

128 countries are assessed on 4 dimensions: economic, education, political empowerment and health and survival. The United States, still believed by many of its conservative politicians to be the greatest country in the world, has fallen in rank from 23 to 31 over the last year, with its record of political participation particularly noteworthy: it ranks 69th.

The UK is 11th, a fall in rank despite an overall increased score.

While the United Kingdom has fallen in the relative rankings, it shows an increase in its overall score, driven by improvements in the ratio of women to men among technical workers, in the ratio of women’s estimated earned income over men’s estimated earned income and in the ratio of women’s labour force participation ratio versus that of men.

Still, those who think that the demand for equal pay is problematic should know that the UK  is in 61st place for equitable pay for similar work. Canada’s health care system leaves women’s health care at a puzzling 51.

The countries’ individual profiles, links to which are available here, are revealing.  For example, despite good scores on education and health, the exclusion of women in the economic and political domains leaves Japan at 91.  In short, with few exceptions, countries have much to worry about.  Not that one is surprised.

“Never let him think you are smarter”

Grandmother’s advice?  Not necessarily, Maureen Dowd tells us today.  Ray Fisher, a Columbia economics prof, conducted a two-year study which led him to conclude:

It isn’t exactly that smarts were a complete turnoff for men: They preferred women whom they rated as smarter — but only up to a point … It turns out that men avoided women whom they perceived to be smarter than themselves. The same held true for measures of career ambition — a woman could be ambitious, just not more ambitious than the man considering her for a date.

… So, yes, the stereotypes appear to be true: We males are a gender of fragile egos in search of a pretty face and are threatened by brains or success that exceeds our own.

Dowd goes on to recount the recent bad news for successful, intelligent women that the NY Times has been recording, some of it covered on this blog. And the news about having a zaftig figure (big hips = smarter kids) comes as no surprise after this post.

One has to wonder how one’s very bright friends ever ‘find a man.’  Hmmmmm.

Men in Feminist Philosophy

Since this topic comes up here with some regularity, I thought readers might be interested to know that next week SWIP-UK will be discussing the possibility of abandoning its women-only rule for paper-giving at conferences. I thought I’d also urge women with strong views on the topic in either direction to attend the SWIP meeting and vote! (Men can come to the conference, but they can’t come to the SWIP meeting.) By the way, if you want to get on the SWIP-UK mailing list go here.