TWO STUDIES OF POSSIBLE INTEREST
- Psychologists at Villanova University examined international statistics on math and science performance of nearly 500,000 students aged 14-16. Overall, gender differences for math ability were "negligible," but girls in countries where women have more money, political power, and education performed better (Psychological Bulletin, 136, 1).
- Sapnya Cheryan of the University of Washington exposed male and female students to computer science workplaces that were decorated in both conventional and "stereotypical male" ways (Star trek posters, video game boxes and Coke cans). Women who saw the stereotypical workplaces had a lower opinion of the profession of computer science (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 6).
I have not read either article. They are summarized in this month's Monitor on Psychology. I don't subscribe to either journal, and I don't have a moment right now to track them down at the library. But I thought they were worth mentioning, because they suggest that the situation is more nuanced than a simple conspiracy against women (or men), and that opening the doors to math and the "hard" sciences, while necessary, may not be sufficient to allow women to feel welcomed and entitled.