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The Myth of the Mathematics Gender Gap

Coryoth (254751) writes | more than 4 years ago

Math 3

Coryoth (254751) writes "The widely held belief that there is disparity in the innate mathematical abilities of men and women has been steadily whittled down in recent years. The gender gap in basic mathematics skills closed some time ago, and recently the gap in high school mathematics has closed up as well, with as many girls as boys now taking high school calculus. As discussed in Newsweek, a new study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences begins to lay to rest the remaining argument that it is at the highest levels of mathematics that the innate differences show. Certainly men dominate current academia, with 70% of mathematics Ph.D.s going to men; however that figure is down from 95% in the 1950s. Indeed, while there remain gaps in achievement between the genders, the study shows that not only are these gaps closing, but the size of the gap varies over differing cultures and correlates with the general degree of gender inequality in the culture (as defined by WEF measures). In all this amounts to strong evidence that the differences in outcomes in mathematics between the genders is driven by sociocultural factors rather than innate differences in ability."

3 comments

why all the fuss? (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 4 years ago | (#28177599)

even if there is a difference between math abilities, nobody is going to stop a woman from carrying out any research or anything. nor would a mathematical theorem/discovery be ignored or contradicted due to being stated/discovered by a woman. then why the big deal?

Re:why all the fuss? (1)

doctor_nation (924358) | more than 4 years ago | (#28180255)

Because if you are hiring a math professor and there is scientific proof that women are worse than men at it, then you have reason to discriminate against all women applicants. That is probably a big reason why there's such a gender gap right now, even if its gotten better. The sooner that bullcrap about women being worse than men in any particular job is put to rest, the better for equality.

Remeber Lawrence Summers? (1)

juggledean (792527) | more than 4 years ago | (#28181763)

From the abstract "The gender gap has significantly narrowed over time in the U.S. and is not found among some ethnic groups and in some nations ... It correlates with several measures of gender inequality. Thus, it is largely an artifact of changeable sociocultural factors, not immutable, innate biological differences between the sexes." http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/06/01/0901265106.abstract [pnas.org]

The president of Harvard was changed for ignoring this equality.

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