Are men smarter than women?

Look at Nobel laureates (especially in the scientific domains), inventors, creative geniuses, brilliant scholars, or any other category of people that are considered to be extremely smart. Almost all of them are male. Photo taken from Thierry Ehrmann's Flickr Photostream ( are some females in all of these categrories, of course, but the male/female distribution is nowhere near the 50/50 one might expect when starting from the assumption that men and women have on average equal intellectual capacities.

In the days of extreme feminism one could not even point out that men and women are different in obvious ways such as average physical strength, without being called a male chauvinist pig (whereby the word average is of course key: being not exactly the most muscular representative of the male species, I would never stand a chance in an arm-westling match against a female world champion javelin throw or put shot, or any even moderately trained female for that matter). Those days are now behind us, so isn’t it about time that we start facing the reality about men also being intellectually stronger than women?

If you think that the previous statement makes perfect sense, you’re making the logical fallacy of not considering the entire spectrum: if you only look at these specific groups of people, men are indeed the vast majority. But the same is equally true for a lot of other groups, where supreme intellectual capacity is usually not the most pronounced feature of the persons belonging to them: serial killers, hooligans, village idiots, rapists, etc.

Taking the entire spectrum into consideration, the logical conclusion it leads to is quite simple: both men and women are on average equally smart, but in men you find much bigger deviations from the average – in either direction.

2 thoughts on “Are men smarter than women?

  1. anonymous

    Very interesting blog and analysis. Now, where do we find the evidence for the conclusion?

    1. Jan Van Haver Post author

      If you google around, you will find both references to argumentations or studies that claim to provide evidence for “men are smarter than women” and other studies that claim to prove “women are smarter than men”. The difficulty is of course that “smarter” is a subjective term which can consequently only be attempted to measure using tests that most likely have specific assumptions or even bias in their design, caused e.g. by the age, ethnicity or – obviously – sex of the people designing them (pretty much like “primitive” African tribes turned out to have a very low IQ when measured with the western IQ tests).
      The conclusion, therefore, is purely my own and the underlying logic used to reach it is called common sense.


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