Home > Women In Science > Who Is Better At Math, Guys or Girls? Answer Found Within…

Who Is Better At Math, Guys or Girls? Answer Found Within…

It’s always been an unfair stereotype that girls are not as good as guys at math. A lot of girls feel like they are not supposed to be good at math; that math and science are boys territory.

Science teachers and parents have been trying to spread the word that its OK for girls to be good at math, and to like math. And now, we have the science to prove it.

A recent meta-analysis of the published research in this area was performed. In total over 1.2 million people were studied between 1990 and 2007. Students from grade school through college level were included, as well as the results from several long-term, large-scale studies. The results all show that there is no significant difference between the math skills of men and women.

JS Hyde, one of the authors on the paper, discussed why there is still a stereotype in our society,

There is lots of evidence that what we call ‘stereotype threat’ can hold women back in math. If, before a test, you imply that the women should expect to do a little worse than the men, that hurts performance. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So having the data to show that women are just as good at math as men is only half the battle. We have to start making a change in our culture and encourage more girls to pursue their interests in science and math.

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  1. April 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I’m a mother of 3 daughters. Personally, I LOVE statistics, particularly raw data. My husband is a (darn good) tax accountant. So numbers are something we kinda like in our household.

    I work continually (sometimes against the schools) to reinforce to my girls that they *are* mathematical. I don’t expect them to be top of the class in maths necessarily as there are always people who are going to be smarter than you (or who just plain work harder). But I do expect them to believe that numeracy is as important as literacy. (My second daughter, who’s 10, recently entered a “pi-off” and memorised pi to 200 decimal places. She was just barely beaten by her best friend – who happens to have a photographic memory. Pointless but amusing!)

    Love your blog. I cannot bear bad science and I get a bit foamy at the mouth when I find dumb interpretations of statistics in the press … Keep it up!

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