What do Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, JK Rowling and Beyoncé have in common? Other than riding high in Forbes list of the world’s most powerful women, they are also all firstborn children in their families. Turn to British science and one finds Dame Jane Goodall, Dr Susan Greenfield and Jocelyn Bell Burnell, also firstborn children. Now such anecdotal evidence of firstborn high achievement has been borne out by research. A groundbreaking study, by Feifei Bu at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, appears to show that, if you are the eldest child and female, you are statistically more likely to be the most ambitious and well-qualified of all your family. Next in line for success come firstborn boys – all 12 men to have walked on the moon were either eldest or only children.
Life isn’t fair (wrote a first born, glibly).