Given that women have long outnumbered men on college campuses and hold more advanced degrees than their male counterparts, it makes sense that they would also score higher on IQ tests. But for the last 100 years, they’ve lagged behind men by as much as five points—although their scores have been rising.
Finally, according to IQ expert James Flynn, women have closed the IQ gap and are in fact scoring higher than men, reports the Telegraph.
IQ — or intelligence quotient — the most widely used measure of intelligence and is determined based on one’s deviation from the average IQ score of a certain age group. It’s thought to be a product of both environmental and hereditary factors, and is a statistically reliable predictor of future educational achievement, job performance and income. But the reasons for demographic differences in IQ — for example, between races or genders — have long been widely debated.
(MORE: Affirmative Action for Boys)
There are many possible reasons that women finally surpassed men in IQ after a century of falling behind, according to Flynn, who is writing a book about IQ and gender.
One theory is that women have always been capable of scoring higher but, because of discriminatory gender socializing, never realized their own potential. Gender-based differences in education, upbringing and social roles have historically set the bar lower for women.
“This improvement is more marked for women than for men because they were disadvantaged in the past,” Flint told the Telegraph.
Now if only women could close in on that pesky wage gap.