Apparently people still take IQ tests for reasons other than to distract themselves during the work day. And after 100 years of intelligence quotient assessment, women are finally coming out on top.
The Daily Mail reported that for the first time in recent history, women are scoring higher on these intelligence tests than men, according to data gathered by James Flynn, an emeritus professor of Political Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Flynn has been studying patterns in IQ test results for years and is a recognized authority on the tests.
In his most recent research, Flynn looked at scores from across Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Estonia and Argentina. He found that when modern IQ testing began in 1905, women trailed men by up to five points. But over time, that gap has virtually disappeared, and in some countries, women are now scoring better on these tests than men are. Flynn said that the increasingly complicated nature of our society accounts for the changes in these scores, but that more research is needed to make any definitive claims. He said that he plans to publish a book detailing his findings.
Two potential explanations have emerged for why women’s scores are outpacing men’s, the Daily Mail reported. The first is that women have always been more intelligent than men, but it’s only shown up on IQ tests as women's educational opportunities have expanded and better prepared them for the kinds of questions the tests ask. (Of course claims that men are innately smarter than women have also been made in the past.) The second is that women have been forced women to become good at multitasking -- specifically juggling a family life and a career -- which has upped their scores. “In the last 100 years, the IQ scores of both men and women have risen but women’s have risen faster,” he told the Daily Mail. “This is a consequence of modernity. The complexity of the modern world is making our brains adapt and raising our IQ.”
IQ testing isn't the only arena in which women are surpassing men. In her March 2012 book ""The Richer Sex," journalist Liza Mundy argued that the majority of American breadwinners will soon be female. Mundy also tracked how women are pulling ahead academically. Female students currently earn 57 percent of undergraduate degrees and the majority of advanced degrees as well. Data also indicate that while women are excelling outside of the home, they still overwhelmingly oversee the domestic sphere as well.
The practical implications of Flynn's data remain unclear, especially because many education experts have criticized IQ tests for only measuring the ability to give the textbook correct answer to a question and ignoring more creative types of thinking. However, Flynn's research might indicate that methods for measuring intelligence should account for socialization. As women's roles have drastically changed over the last century, is it altogether surprising that their test scores have too?
What do you think? What implications might Flynn’s research have for women?
RELATED ON HUFFPOST WOMEN: 10 Predictions From Liza Mundy's "The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family"
More Families Will Be Supported By Women Than Men
The 2009 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey found that in 4 out of 10 working couples, <a href="http://bls.gov/cps/wlftable25-2010.htm" target="_hplink">wives out-earned their husbands</a> -- essentially doubling this figure in two decades.
Women Will Do Less Housework As Men Continue To Do More
In <em><a href="http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2109140,00.html" target="_hplink">TIME</a></em>, Mundy cites a 2000 study from Ohio State University showing that the amount of time spent on housework per day for women decreased by 70 minutes between the 1970s and the aughts but for men has increased by 30 minutes since 1965.
Women's Economic Influence Will Be Great For Business
Mundy points out PEW research showing that in households where the woman makes more than her husband, she makes twice as many buying decisions. In 2009 Goldman Sachs predicted that the food, health care, education, and childcare sectors, along with many other industries, would receive a boost from women's increased purchasing power.
Rates of Cohabitation And Single Living Will Continue To Rise
"Women can afford to wait," Mundy writes.
Men Will Do More Hands-On Parenting
It's been widely reported that with rising unemployment, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/role-reversal-unemployment-creates-stay-home-fathers/story?id=11983642." target="_hplink">more men are becoming stay-at-home dads</a>. While the closer ties between child and father are a good thing, Mundy suggests that it may also lead to mothers spending more hours away from their families to feel further apart from their children.
Men Will Marry Up
With less stigma around a wife out-earning her husband and the offer of more and more successful women, why not?
Definition Of 'Masculinity' Will Adapt And Expand
Think "[h]unting but also cooking. Golf but also child care," writes Mundy.
Fathers In Dual-Earner Families Will Feel More Work-Family Conflict Than Mothers
Mundy cites research from the Families & Work Institute that found fathers in dual income households are already <a href="http://familiesandwork.org/site/research/reports/Times_Are_Changing.pdf" target="_hplink">feeling more pressure to balance family and work</a> than mothers.
Women Will Struggle With What Privileges -- If Any -- Come With Earning More
As women earn their own money and it becomes "shared" money, questions will arise about whether they need to consult their spouses before buying things for themselves. Also, do they need to help out as much at home if they make the higher salary? "Just as women begin to feel that maybe it is okay to luxuriate a little bit, when they get home from work," Mundy writes, "the next question arises: Just how much lux"uriating is fair?
Women Will Have To Adjust What They Value In Men
When traditionally masculine traits fall away, including being the primary earner, women will have to learn to appreciate different traits in his male partners. Is it his cooking? His parenting skills? The way he makes sure you come home to a clean house and kids?
More from HuffPost Women:
10 Reasons Women Are Poised To Become "The Richer Sex"
30 Things Every Woman Should Have And Do Before 30