Good News: Girls Outperform Boys On Science Exam
Bad News: It’s Not Happening Where You Think It Is
15-year-old girls outscored boys on science exams, but not in Western Europe or the Americas. While in Eastern Europe and the Middle East girls abilities seem to exceed those of their male classmates, that doesn’t hold true in the most traditionally “scientific” nations. And that sucks.
We’ve heard this bad news too many times. Girls are underrepresented in the sciences from a young age. Despite their equal interest as youngsters, societal pressures drive a wedge in between them and the performance of their male classmates. When they have to indicate gender on a science exam, they score a full 20% lower than if they don’t. All of this translates to the continued discrimination of of women, overt and incidental, all the way up the ladder of science.
Sometimes I feel tired of repeating it. But we can’t grow tired. As frustrating as it is, every time we continue to call out the problem and raise our fists of fury, it helps raise attention and gain support for change. That change will take a long time, because scientific “establishment” moves like molasses, but only a steady push will make it budge.
I know I’m preaching to the choir when I talk to all of you, but remember this: Every time you share science on Tumblr or Facebook or Twitter or Reddit or wherever you hang out on the internet, then that’s one more chance to reach out and grab someone who doesn’t think they’re “into” science. It’s one more chance to give a 14-year-old girl a boost of confidence (or anyone who needs a boost, for that matter). This isn’t something that can be done by a few. We need to spread this like the most contagious virus the world’s ever seen: An infectious curiosity!