« The gender gap in wages: The close to ultimate study | Blog Main | Women in science and the election »

It's the culture stupid

Ok I know that most people are saying "it's the economy stupid", but we at FairerScience have decided the only way to deal with the economy is to follow the advice of our fearless leaders at Go Fug Yourself and say:

I'm Just Going To Hide All My Money In My Mattress LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU TALKING ABOUT THE STOCK MARKET LA LA LA LA.

So while I'm avoiding listening to people talking about the stock market, I thought I would post about math. A new study, "Cross-Cultural Analysis of Students with Exceptional Talent in Mathematical Problem Solving"; has concluded that when it comes to mathematically talented women not being identified, "it's the culture, stupid."

As the New York Times article about the study explained:

The United States is failing to develop the math skills of both girls and boys, especially among those who could excel at the highest levels, a new study asserts, and girls who do succeed in the field are almost all immigrants or the daughters of immigrants from countries where mathematics is more highly valued.

The study's conclusion is chilling:

There exist many girls [in the United States and Canada] with profound intrinsic aptitude for mathematics; however, they are rarely identified due to socio-cultural, educational, or other environmental factors.

Their first recommendation:

First and foremost, the myth that females cannot excel in mathematics must be put to rest. Teachers, guidance counselors, parents, principals, university presidents, the lay public, and, most importantly, girls themselves need to be informed about the fact that females can excel in mathematics, even at the very highest level. When people believe they cannot do something, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. To quote Henry Ford, ďIf you think you can or canít, you are right.

The study is only 13 pages long, it's good and the recommendations thoughtful. Once you've read it, pass it on. Let's get everybody putting that myth of female math inferiority to rest!



Comments

Wow, that was very useful. I'll be using this in the course that I teach. Thanks!


Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)