Expert weighs in on how to help boys and men as research reveals big decline in achievement levels

The results are in. Years of research show a big decline in achievement levels for boys and men, and it's happening all across the developed world.

Men are falling way behind, in test scores, in the workforce, and in family life.

For women, the hard-won right to higher education was an economic game-changer and proved a positive boost for society. But women haven't just caught up, they've surged ahead.

The gender gap for tertiary graduates is now wider than it was in the 1970s, just the other way around.

On the top economic rung, women are still under-represented, and gender issues facing women exist everywhere.

But for the majority of men, particularly those at the lower end of the socio-economic scale, the differences are stark.

Automation has slashed manual jobs by a third, and the fastest-growing job markets - health, education and admin - are still heavily gendered towards women in the eyes of employers.

Men are no longer essential as breadwinners and now working fathers face an identity crisis. More men are absent in their kids' lives, and more are adding to increasing addiction and suicide statistics.

So with the divide increasing, how do we get the boys not just back in the game, but to bring their A-game as well?

Author Richard Reeves told The Project on Tuesday there are structures and systems that aren't working as well for men as they used to.

"[The] prime suspect here is the education systems, where there are fewer male teachers, there's less vocational training, and really we're seeing boys falling further and further behind girls in the classroom."

Reeves would like to see the education system reformed to better work around the needs of boys.

"We need to reform the education system to serve them better, so more male teachers," he said.

"I would start boys in school a bit later because they just develop later, and more chances to run around, more chances to learn with hands because on average - of course this is all on average - boys learn better that way."

And for men, Reeves believes the idea of masculinity needs to be workshopped to find what's  good about the male role and is still compatible with gender equality.

"I don't really think we've even started on that task and we've tended to frame it as, we have to somehow diminish men in order for women to become more successful, and if that ever was true, it's definitely not true today."

Reeves said both males and females should rise together rather than work against each other to get on top.

"Anyone who does frame it as, 'well whose side are you on?' is really no friend of human flourishing."

Watch the full interview above.