Girls doing well in math

    Are boys better at math than girls? New research from Villanova University offers some answers.

    Are boys better at math than girls? New research from Villanova University offers some answers.
    (Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reway2007/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    Listen:

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    When a talking Barbie doll hit the US market in the early nineties, the first words out of her mouth were:

    Barbie: Math class is tough, party dresses are fun!!

    Women’s groups protested. Barbie was silenced, but – the underlying belief didn’t go away says Villanova psychologist Nicole Else Quest. To see how girls are really doing in math, she studied the results of two international math tests taken by students in 69 countries.

    She found that in the United States and other countries where girls receive the same schooling as boys girls are doing equally well in math.

    Else Quest says still, girls in the US tend to feel insecure about their math skills – and blames stereotypes:

    Else Quest: There is still a message there that math isn’t for girls, that it’s not normal for a girl to want to become an engineer.

    According to the Association for Women in Science, women are under represented in many scientific professions.

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