Thursday, June 4, 2009

Girls, Boys and the Math Myth

Well, so much for "boys are naturally better at math because it's the genes" argument:
Researchers have more evidence that takes aim at the old stereotype that boys are better at math than girls. Psychologist Janet Hyde had previously studied scores on standardized math tests in the United States, and found no difference in performance between girls and boys. Her new study expands the scope of the work by analyzing international data. She and her colleague analyzed studies from around the world on math performance along with gender inequality as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index. This index measures the gap between men and women in economic opportunity, educational attainment and other socioeconomic factors [LiveScience].

They found that countries with poor gender equality, like India, had a larger gender gap in math, while in countries with excellent gender equality, like the Netherlands, girls performed as well as boys. If males really did have an innate advantage in math, the researchers note, that advantage should be obvious throughout all these cultures. Instead, the study suggests that cultural issues are the basis of the math gender gap.
This is one of my favorite things about science, you just don't get to keep your herd of sacred cows...

And it points out your flaws as a society. Where the genders have equality, girls and boys do the same. Where you don't... Not so much... Like here in the US:
Mertz points out that the US ranked 31st out of 128 countries in the World Economic Forum’s latest international study of educational, economic, health and political gender equity. The top three were Sweden, Norway and Finland.
And, so we know where we are compared to the world... Not exactly enlightened. But then, if you've been paying attention, you'd know that... We are, after all, a "Christianista Nation."

And, as we know, God hates women.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

not so fast.

this "debunk" of the gender gap comes from a rather and debunked source.

Geoffrey Falk has the interesting post with links that investigate the dodgy studys in question. seems this "study" has dubious origins from an author that has stretched credibility in the past and puts out this material as political fodder instead of as real science. the goal i guess is to get headlines and thus affect perception through a new announced truth even if it is false. especially easy since the press will not bother to fact check your work, especially on such a touchy subject. the idea that data sets from lower level students has anything to do with the highest achievement at the pinnacle of the extreme math genius is laughable. the number of such real genius's is a tiny fraction of that said %. her new study reeks of someone massaging the results to fit her agenda.

might as well repost these since they are rather interesting.
http://www.geoffreyfalk.com/blog/June2009.asp#5
http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/math.htm
http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/math2.htm