Sex Roles

, Volume 66, Issue 3–4, pp 184–190

Understanding the Paradox in Math-Related Fields: Why Do Some Gender Gaps Remain While Others Do Not?

Feminist Forum

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-011-0060-z

Cite this article as:
Cheryan, S. Sex Roles (2012) 66: 184. doi:10.1007/s11199-011-0060-z


Despite the ubiquity of harmful math attitudes that disadvantage girls, girls are now performing just as well as boys in math in the U.S. (Hyde et al. 1990; Hyde et al. 2008). At the same time, stark gender disparities remain in who chooses to pursue math-related careers (National Science Foundation 2009). Why have gender disparities persisted in some math-related domains but not others? I suggest that considering the extent to which math-related domains are stereotyped as masculine can help explain why women do not seek out math-related careers, even as they perform just as well in math. Changing current stereotypes of math-related careers to make them less incongruent with the female gender role may help to recruit more women into these careers.


Gender disparities Stereotypes Underrepresentation Gender roles Education 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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