Female Participation in STEM at a glance
Average SAT Math scores for boys are 30 points higher than girls
38% of those scoring 700-800 in SAT Math are girls
Only 25% of AP Computer Science A students are girls
– College Board
43% of bachelor's degrees in mathematics are awarded to women
39% of degrees in physical sciences went to women
20% in engineering and 18% in computer science degrees went to women
- National Science Board
Less than 30% of all U.S. doctoral degrees in mathematics and statistics are awarded to women
- National Science Foundation
26% of the workforce in computing and math are women
Only 15% engineers are women
– National Science Foundation
US has a below average score in math gender gap
PISA 2015 Results
The US has a below average score in Math gender gaps compared to the rest of the world. In 2015 the US came in at 41st place amongst 71 countries from a study done by The Programme for International Student Assessment when testing math ability for 15 year old students
Perception starts early
Research shows that the gender gap in mathematics achievement and teacher perceptions start as early as kindergarten.
"Teachers consistently rate girls’ mathematical proficiency lower than that of boys with similar achievement and learning behaviors. Gender differences in learning approaches appear to be fairly consistent.... but girls’ more studious approaches appear to have more payoff at the bottom of the distribution than at the top."
The gap widens in high school
Research highlights a clear gender gap for high level math competitions by 9th grade, with the gap widening further over time."We find a 4.6-to-1 male/female ratio among the 500 highest-scoring ninth-graders on the AMC. So, there’s already a really dramatic difference between boys’ performance and girls’ performance by ninth grade, and it grows a lot over time. This widens to about a 7.4-to-1 ratio of boys to girls among the 500 highest-scoring 12th-graders."
Gender reactions to competition may be a factor
Research from Stanford University provides evidence of "... a large gender gap in mathematics performance at high percentiles in part may be explained by the differential manner in which men and women respond to competitive test-taking environments."
Social environment plays a role too
MIT researched showed "Whereas the boys come from a variety of backgrounds, the top-scoring girls are almost exclusively drawn from a remarkably small set of super-elite schools: as many girls come from the top 20 AMC schools as from all other high schools in the U.S. combined". This is fascinating as it provides evidence that social environment has a larger impact on girls likelihood of success at the highest level of math than for boys."