A revolution may be underway on behalf of boys, not just in the U.S. but also abroad. Our own Katey McPherson just returned from Singapore, where she presented and taught at the Maris Stella K-12 school for boys. Not just in the U.S., but throughout the world, issues facing our sons are beginning to be recognized.
An example: the latest educational research known as the PISA study (Programme for International Student Assessment) from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows boys behind girls in most developmental, behavioral, academic, and social markers in all industrialized countries. Another example: weekly and sometimes daily, I receive an email from a parent or professional in China, Japan, Qatar, Kenya, Brazil, Vietnam, Australia, and many other countries asking, “What can we do to help our failing boys?”
In 2015, the World Health Organization published a major study of men’s and boys’ health worldwide. This study makes statistical what we have all sensed anecdotally, and takes the boy crisis even beyond the school room. The study’s authors—from Europe, the U.S. and Asia—provided statistics and analysis from all continents, including the most comprehensive health study worldwide to date, the Global Burden of Disease Study led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The study concludes that in most of the world, girls and women are doing better than boys and men in both physical and mental health indicators. Even when statistics regarding female depression, eating disorders, and violence-against-females such as rape and genital mutilation are included, males are doing statistically worse. Saying this does not diminish female suffering, but it does help us see boys’ needs. Perhaps most surprising is the study’s wide reach: the health and wellness gender gap favoring females exists in some manner in all 72 industrialized countries, including countries like China or Oman, countries we have tended to believe privilege males and denigrate females.
The WHO study asks us to see the world’s invisible boys with a new lens. The authors write, “In most parts of the world, health outcomes among boys and men continue to be substantially worse than among girls and women, yet this gender-based disparity in health has received little national, regional or global acknowledgement or attention from health policy-makers or health-care providers.” The study concludes: “Including both women and men in efforts to reduce gender inequalities in health as part of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda would improve everyone’s health and well-being.”
Katey, I, and all of us at GI are proud to be receiving inquiries for services around the world. Recently, we have had some of those educators travel to the U.S. to attend our Training Institutes here. Participants have come from Russia, Australia, Jamaica, Amsterdam, Guam, and South Africa. The same questions are getting asked all over the world:
“Why are boys so much less motivated in school than girls?”
“Why are boys so restless and, in many cases, seem so aimless?”
“Why is the quality of their work declining?’
The Gurian Institute is proud to be a part of the new revolution on behalf of boys. We hope you will spread the word about how impactful it is to train parents, teachers, and mentors in the minds of boys and girls. So much happens when we fully understand both what our children need and how to help them thrive in whatever place, country, or community they are born.