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Gender & STEM Achievement

October 1, 2018

Girls get slightly higher grades in science and math worldwide than boys, but fewer enter STEM professions.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Debunking STEM gender myths. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Fewer women than men are employed in science, engineering, and math fields. But that’s not due to differences in academic achievement, according to a study in Nature Communications. University of New South Wales researcher Rose O’Dea and her team analyzed the academic performance of 1.6 million students worldwide and found that girls received slightly higher average grades in STEM than boys.

ROSE O’DEA (University of New South Wales):

Our study suggests that there are enough talented girls to feed into this STEM pipeline and shrink this gender gap in science and maths, but just that this talent pool is being underutilized.

HIRSHON:

O’Dea’s team also found that boys’ overall performance was more variable than girls, but more so in non-STEM fields like reading and writing.

O’DEA:

So rather than worrying about improving girls’ maths skills, maybe we should be worrying about improving boys language skills.

HIRSHON:

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard