A recent study shows that the lack of women in scientific and technical fields is not due to discrimination by men nor by the possible turn-offs experienced by women. Instead, researchers suggest that women simply don’t know enough math to be in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) areas. For this reason, not many women find themselves working at jobs related to these areas.
Economics professor Donna Ginther and her colleague Shulamit Kahn compiled statistics of mathematical qualifications and requirements of young American women for college courses. In their research, they found that the lack of women in a particular course can directly be attributed to the fact that a majority of young women don’t know many maths.
Ginther commented, "It is all about the mathematical content of the field. Girls not taking math coursework early on in middle school and high school are set on a different college trajectory than boys.”
The purpose of the study was to negate the results of another study conducted earlier in the year that suggested that prejudices held by members of those particular areas were the reason that there weren’t high numbers of women in STEM fields.
Ginther says that the results of the previous study “didn’t add up” and that women begin moving away from STEM fields way before college by the classes that they choose.
There are countless theories as to why more women don’t reach high levels in science or tech areas. Some say that women fail to mention they are attractive during their interviews. Still, some others suggest that women are simply disgusted by nerds, sci-fi posters and empty cans of soda.
Tim Worstall of The Register suggested similarly that the simple explanation for the lack of women in STEM fields is the fact that many steer clear of math and out of fields like tech, engineering, or sciences.