LiveScience debunks the top 5 myths about girls, math, and science:
The days of sexist science teachers and Barbies chirping that "math class is tough!" are over, according to pop culture, but a government program aimed at bringing more women and girls into science, technology, engineering and math fields suggests otherwise.
Below are five myths about girls and science that still endure, according to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Research on Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE) program:
Myth 1: From the time they start school, most girls are less interested in science than boys are.
Reality: In elementary school about as many girls as boys have positive attitudes toward science. A recent study of fourth graders showed that 66 percent of girls and 68 percent of boys reported liking science. But something else starts happening in elementary school. By second grade, when students (both boys and girls) are asked to draw a scientist, most portray a white male in a lab coat. Any woman scientist they draw looks severe and not very happy. The persistence of the stereotypes start to turn girls off, and by eighth grade, boys are twice as interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) careers as girls are. The female attrition continues throughout high school, college and even the work force. Women with STEM higher education degrees are twice as likely to leave a scientific or engineering job as men with comparable STEM degrees.
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From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]