I always used to think of myself as a feminist, or at least a believer in equality of the sexes.

I didn’t do so in the hope of winning the approval of women, although if it so happens to that’s fine. It’s more because, as a bleeding-heart liberal type, it comes with the territory.

Most right-thinking people should surely agree with equal respect for people regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and so on. And it’s quite possible to support a cause even when it isn’t in your self-interest.

You could oppose apartheid without being a black South African. You can feel the Palestinians have received a raw deal without being a Palestinian. I have a certain retrospective sympathy for the miners’ strike, but I’m not a miner.

However I’m finding it harder to maintain this belief in sexual equality. It’s getting undermined all the time.

Although it goes against my principles to admit it, the sexes aren’t equal. Women are better than men.

The evidence keeps mounting up, with every statistics-laden news report I read.

For one thing, they’re healthier, if living to an old age is anything to go by - which it surely must be. According the Gerontology Research Group, there are 43 people around the world known to be living beyond the age of 110. And 42 of them are women.

They seem to be cleverer too. Girls do better than boys at school - even in countries where the sexes aren’t equal.

Researchers at Glasgow and Missouri Universities compared the achievements of 1.5 million 15-year-olds from 74 different parts of the world. In 70 per cent of them, the girls beat boys in maths, reading, science and literary subjects.

It’s not just at school. Women outperform men in higher education too.

The number of women at university began to overtake the number of men for the first time 16 years ago. They’re also more likely to get a good degree pass and are less likely to drop out.

Women are much further ahead in representation at the post-1992 universities - those that used to be polytechnics. But at the older established universities, women also generally outnumber men, with 11.3 per cent of them enrolling compared to 8.6 per cent of men.

Only the two oldest established, Oxford and Cambridge, had equal numbers of both sexes. But last year Oxford offered more places to women than men, for the first time in almost 1,000 years.

It’s long been known that you’re safer with a woman driver than a man. Now it seems you’re also safer with a woman surgeon.

A study by the British Medical Journal found that women make better surgeons than their male counterparts, and that four per cent fewer patients die following an operation performed by a woman.

For some reason society doesn’t seem ready to use all the talents of all its people, and there are still nasty unfairnesses.

The sexual harassment that seems endemic in Hollywood and is only now being fully exposed is one of them.

Or take the House of Commons. It’s supposed to represent the whole of the country - hence its name. If it did so properly then around half its MPs would be women, just as over half the population are.

Yet before the 1997 general election female MPs were still outnumbered by men called John. That election doubled the number of women, and the national press patronisingly described them as “Blair babes”.

The 2010 brought an extra crop of women Conservative MPs - who were equally patronisingly labelled, as “Cameron’s cuties”.

Eight years later we’ve got a woman prime minister in Theresa May and a woman first minister of Scotland in Nicola Sturgeon. If the Northern Ireland Assembly gets up and running again then the first and deputy first ministers will be Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill.

No-one made the fuss about these politicians being women that there was in 1979, when Margaret Thatcher became our first woman prime minister. But how much progress has there been?

It’s 48 years since the Equal Pay Act but there are still big discrepancies. The BBC isn’t the only employer guilty of it. To his credit the new boss of easyJet, Johan Lundgren, has voluntarily taken a pay cut this week to match the much lower salary of his predecessor, Carolyn McCall. Why was he offered more in their first place?

How can any of this be justified when - judging by all the figures - women are far smarter than men?