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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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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