Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm a math whiz and so are you!

We're equals! Finally, a study has shown that women are just as proficient in math as their male counterparts. The paper was published in Science magazine: 'Gender Similarities Characterize Math Performance' by Janet S. Hyde, Sara M. Lindberg, Marcia C. Linn, Amy B. Ellis, Caroline C. Williams. Here's the link for those with access to Science Mag. I want to point out that all of the authors are women! I must say I have never seen a paper in a top tier journal by all women. This is an exciting day indeed. Their conclusions:
Our analysis shows that, for grades 2 to 11, the general population no
longer shows a gender difference in math skills, consistent with the gender similarities hypothesis.


Habladora said...

Oh, I see you beat the LA Times to this... good work! It is covering the story now though, so for those without access to a subscription of Science (aka those who don't live in a lab), a good synopsis can be found here. According to the LA Times:

An analysis of standardized test scores from more than 7.2 million students in grades 2 through 11 found no difference in math scores for girls and boys, contradicting the pervasive belief that most women aren't hard-wired for careers in science and technology.

The study also undermined the assumption -- infamously espoused by former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers in 2005 -- that boys are more likely than girls to be math geniuses. Girls scored in the top 5% almost as often as boys, the data showed.

"Both parents and teachers continue to hold the stereotype that boys are better than girls" at math, said psychologist Janet Hyde of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who led the study. "That's just not accurate."

Hyde and her colleagues examined detailed data from math tests administered between 2005 and 2007 as part of the No Child Left Behind initiative. Comparing the average scores of girls and boys in California and nine other states, the researchers found that neither gender consistently outpaced the other in any state or at any grade level.

Anonymous said...

Awesome. I've been waiting for this paper since the day I whooped my "genius" boyfriend's ass in Mathletes.

frau sally benz said...

My favorite subject pretty much ever was math. Then I got to college and placed out of math (I got the second highest score you could get). I wanted to take an advanced calc class, but the (male) advisor there said that I would have time to take that class later if I really wanted to, and wouldn't I want to take something easier instead like sociology. So, I thought he was probably just trying to ease me into college and registered for an easier class.

Yea... I never did get around to that advanced math class. It's the only thing I ever regretted in college.

Habladora said...

Argh... Blogger is eating comments again. If you don't see your story here - I swear I haven't rejected it, but it disappeared into the inter-ether. Please, leave it again - we actually love stories... really!

:-jon said...

Linda Buck (2004 Nobel Prize)has a couple of journal articles in Cell (2005, 2000, 1995)where she is the only author. Does that count for top tier female authorship?

Or Barbara McClintock (1983 Nobel Prize) She published solo in Genetics (six times btw 1929-1953)& PNAS (1942, 1950).

Anonymous said...

I beat the LA Times! Take that LA times--you were beaten by a LADY.

Habladora said...

:-jon, thanks for the tour of awesome women scientists - yes, they count! Our celebration of a big group of female authors all on the same Science paper shouldn't diminish the accomplishments of scientists like Linda Buck and Barbara McClintock. Cheers all around!