The news, when it emerged this summer, had an air of inevitability: for the first time, women were scoring higher in IQ tests than men.
Today woman make up the majority of university students. When they graduate, they’re more likely than men to find work, and an increasing number are the family breadwinners.
The word ‘purse-whipped’ – referring to men being in financial thrall to women – is slowly entering the English language, and with it the understanding that this is not a question of equality. Britain, like many other places, is witnessing a reversal of power between the genders.
It is odd that this phenomenon should be the subject of jokes when its implications are so far-reaching. But five years ago, there was one senior politician whom no one could accuse of not taking women seriously.
When Boris Johnson was higher education spokesman, he noticed it had become a women’s game.
‘Far more women than men are receiving what is, in theory, an elite academic education,’ he wrote. ‘It is a stunning fact, the biggest social revolution of our lifetime.’
By the time these graduates reached the peak of their careers, ‘the entire management structure of Britain will have been transformed and feminized. This thing is huge, and it is happening at every level, and no one seems to be thinking about the consequences’.
For the past few years I have been thinking about those consequences. I wrote a book, The Richer Sex, about the gender power reversal under way in America. When I studied the British data, the trend was, if anything, more pronounced.