Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

2014 Edition
| Editors: Stephen Lerman

Gender in Mathematics Education

  • Helen Forgasz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4978-8_64

Issues of Definition

According to Haig (2004), it was the feminist scholars of the 1970s who adopted gender “as a way of distinguishing ‘socially constructed’ aspects of male–female differences (gender) from ‘biologically determined’ aspects (sex)” (p. 87). In the mathematics education literature, the gradual shift from “sex differences” to “gender differences” occurred during the period from the late 1970s into the 1980s. Fennema’s (1974) seminal work in the field was reported as “sex” differences in mathematics achievement, and in the renowned Fennema and Sherman studies on affective factors (e.g., Fennema and Sherman 1977), the findings were also described as “sex” differences. As noted by Haig (2004), in more recent times, the “distinction is now only fitfully respected and gender is often used as a simple synonym of sex” (p. 97); this is also evident in the mathematics education literature.

In this encyclopedia entry, the term “gender” is used in the sense that Leder (1992)...


Gender differences Sex differences Equity Women's movement Feminism Social justice Explanatory models Technology Neuroscience 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia