Bridging the gender gap in math

Jan 26, 2012

This week on the show, we explore gender differences in math achievement and performance.

It’s no secret that women continue to be underrepresented in careers in science, math, engineering and technology, also referred to as STEM fields. According to a US Department of Commerce report released last year, women fill close to half of all jobs in the nation’s economy, yet they only make up 25% of STEM jobs.

So why is this the case? One explanation is a theory called stereotype threat, which holds that stereotypes like “women are bad at math”, plant the seed of self-doubt, which causes girls to underperform on tests.

A new study from the University of Missouri, is raising questions into that theory. David Geary is a curator’s professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. He joined us in the studio to talk about his research, and why the gender gap might still exist.