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Genius Girls!


Sorry, Larry Summers, you were wrong.

A new study shows that girls perform just as well in math as boys in countries where they are treated equally.  To a certain extent, we already knew that math performance was equal- at least for average boys and girls.  However, previous studies have shown that the upper percentages of math performance are dominated by boys (actually, so are the lower percentages).  This study analyzed the trend across different countries and found that in countries with greater gender equality, the top performers were just as likely to be girls as they were to be boys.  Huzzah!

From the abstract:

…studies find more males than females scoring above the 95th or 99th percentile, but this gender gap has significantly narrowed over time in the U.S. and is not found among some ethnic groups and in some nations. Furthermore, data from several studies indicate that greater male variability with respect to mathematics is not ubiquitous. Rather, its presence correlates with several measures of gender inequality. Thus, it is largely an artifact of changeable sociocultural factors, not immutable, innate biological differences between the sexes. [emphasis mine]

The full paper is available here; again, subscription needed, and if my university has a subscription I will be reading it shortly and perhaps updating this post.

Remember, not only can girls be good at math, they can be great.

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