Who are Better in Math? Boys or Girls?

Math, the abstract science of numbers is most of the time (or is it always?) frowned upon by students in middle school. Who loves the subject anyway? I mean, aside from those few lucky souls, bless you. Kids, teenagers, college students honestly don’t want to dwell with the complexities of algebra and numbers for hours, do they? Like among Netflix, playing video games, internet and Math? Dude. Get real. It doesn’t stand a chance. But there seems to be this general idea that boys perform better than girls in Math. In most cases, boys are expected to perform higher than girls. So, what do we say about this?

Here’s the deal. Studies show that cognitively, boys and girls perform similarly rather than differently in Mathematics. There is a very small difference between their performances which can be considered insignificant. This means that gender doesn’t have much effect on one’s performance in Mathematics. But why is there a large gap between Math-related career choices?

Well, here are some of the factors that can contribute to gender differences in Mathematics:

1. Difference in Attitudes Towards Mathematics

Researches show that at a young age, girls are more hesitant, less confident and more anxious than boys in dealing with Math. This attitude is an important predictor of their performance in the subject. Moreover, girls also tend to prioritize working with people while boys care more about working with things. This can explain why boys tend to prefer math-related courses than girls.

Well, this is hard.

2. Problem-Solving Strategies

Some researches show that boys tend to use different problem-solving strategies (some might not be taught in school) while girls are more likely to follow “school-taught” procedures. In general, girls more often follow teacher-given rules in the classroom. This difference in approach contributes to the way boys and girls deal with the content in Math as it gets complicated and complex.

3. Teachers’ Math Anxiety and Stereotypes

Recently, researchers found that girls’ math performance is lower if they have teachers who are anxious about Math. Teachers’ perception that boys are better than girls can affect the girls’ performance because they can pick up the stereotype. Even students are aware of the stereotypes in the society.

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So, to sum it up, it’s not the gender that is the basis of who is better in Math but rather the attitudes, values and other factors that might affect the overall performance in the subject. Ditch stereotypes. After all, boys and girls ARE equal.

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