One Reason Why Girls Are Closing the Gap in Math Scores
Don’t blame genetics, blame society.
If you’re a woman who has been led to believe that a.) you're not good at math and b.) it's not your fault — it's genetic, there is new evidence to shake up that old theory.
It turns out, girls lagging behind boys in math, as they typically do on standardized tests, is likely the result of nurture, not nature, recent data compiled by Quartz suggests.
As positive societial influences — like girls being exposed to more female role models and as careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields have become more popular across both genders — have increased, so have the number of girls who are very high scorers on the math section of the SAT, research shows.
In 1980, the ratio of boys to girls who scored in the top 0.01% was 14 to 1. In 2010, it's closer to 2.5 to 1.
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While it's difficult to directly correlate the change in society since the 1980s to the increase in girls' math scores, it's definitely a good sign.
For example, in professional degree programs women now account for half of the graduating class while they previously made up merely 10%. They now also surpass men in college enrollment.
STEM programs are an important part of this transition and they are on the rise. Establishing resources and spaces for girls to succeed in the fields of math and science creates a foundation for establishing future innovators in these fields.
Even Tech Barbie, who was created to showcase what a woman who works in computer science might look like, has played a role in positive and inspiring imagery for young girls.
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Ultimately, the lack of women in math and science comes down to the lack of opportunities to participate in the the way their male counterparts do.
Shedding light on the data that explains this, is important in continuing to prove that women are capable, if granted equal opportunity.