The long-term belief that boys are better at mathematics than girls appears to have no foundation in facts, researchers behind a new scientific study report. They reveal that an international survey that looked at numerous men and women across the globe and assessed their mathematical training found no major discrepancies to favor one of the two genders. Details of the investigation appear in the latest issue of the scientific journal Psychological Bulletin, ScienceDaily reports.
“Stereotypes about female inferiority in mathematics are a distinct contrast to the actual scientific data. These results show that girls will perform at the same level as the boys when they are given the right educational tools and have visible female role models excelling in mathematics,” Villanova University Psychology Professor Nicole Else-Quest reveals.
She is also the lead author of the new journal entry, and the related meta-analysis. The researchers also found that women living in countries that provided them with the same rights as men tended to fare better than women in less civilized nations, where their access to culture and knowledge was restricted by a patriarchal society.
“This meta-analysis shows us that while the quality of instruction and curriculum affects children's learning, so do the value that schools, teachers and families place on girls' learning math. Girls are likely to perform as well as boys when they are encouraged to succeed,” Else-Quest says.
In their analysis of females, the scientists took into account a number of factors related to each individual woman, such as her education, level of political involvement, welfare, and overall income. Among other things, it was found that girls in countries where women occupied more prominent, scientific positions tended to be better at math.
The investigation also assessed the degree of confidence that the test respondents had in their own math abilities, as well as the level each individual had to reach in order to have a promising career in the field. It was determined that men generally had a much better and accurate perception of their own skills, as opposed to females, who tended to either over- or underestimate their own abilities. In addition, men were also found to be more motivated in doing well in this field.
Math Skills Comparable in Both Genders
Boys are equally as skilled as girls