Want a conversation starter (or a hand grenade!) for the coffee break or the family table? Try this transcript of the latest Freakonomics podcast on the differences between men and women. To make it easier I’ve picked out a number of fascinating facts:

  • More than half of all college students in the U.S., about 57 percent, are female.
  • The male-female income gap is tightening.
  • Women hold about 20 percent of the seats in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives– the highest proportion ever.
  • Three of the last five Secretaries of State were women.
  • Women file only about 7.5% of all patents (mainly because far more men work in Research & Design).
  • 80 to 85 percent of the lightning fatalities across the United States are men (they tend to be outside more than women and they also tend not to go inside when lightning threatens)
  • Males have almost 4 times higher drowning rates than females (men spend more time in the water, they overestimate their swimming abilities, and drink more).
  • Women are half as likely as men to become alcoholics, but twice as likely to have a phobia.
  • Women are more likely to kill off a bad marriage—they file for roughly two-thirds of divorces.
  • Females now outnumber males on Facebook and Twitter, and that’s been true just about across any aspect of the Internet you can imagine, including online games.
  • Only 9% of Wikipedia editors are women (perhaps because men have more spare time and women are less comfortable with conflict)
  • 75 to 80 percent of crimes prosecuted by the police are by male offenders.
  • There are only two crimes in the United States today for which women get arrested more than men - prostitution and being a juvenile runaway.
  • A man is much less likely than a woman to do you a favor.
  • Men are much worse at washing their hands.
  • Men are thoroughly incapable of simply saying “I don’t know” even if in fact they don’t know the answer.
  • Women are often underpaid because they simply don’t ask for the raise they should get; they don’t negotiate as hard.
  • Although women are earning more and have many more opportunities, they are reporting lower life satisfaction levels than in the 1970′s, whereas men are happier.

On the last stat, economist Betsy Stevenson comments:

Where women have gained more autonomy, more financial power, more market power, more responsibility and power within their families, they have become less happy and men have become slightly happier. And so one possibility is that somehow this sort of revolution in our lives has actually benefited men more than it’s benefited women.

All in all, still glad to be a man!

(Am I allowed to say that?)