The Geneva-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently completed a 40-country study of educational outcomes of children and found that girls continue to outstrip boys.
And in New Zealand, as this article shows, experts attribute much of that differential to divorce (Otago Daily Times, 5/30/09). In the first place, children of divorce generally do worse than children of intact families. One educational consultant said that differential is about 25%. (The article doesn’t explain what that 25% measures.) But boys particularly suffer from the lack of a father after divorce.
Apparently, about 85% of custodial parents in New Zealand are mothers, despite recent changes to family law intended to promote equally shared parenting orders. (See my blog post on that here.) That’s almost identical to the sex breakdown of custodial parents in United States.
New Zealand educators say that the absence of the father, particularly later on in childhood, uniquely affects boys, and that the effect grows with time.