According to a study published in the American Educational Research Journal, prior achievement does not account for the gender inequality within STEM college majors. Many arguments insist that gender differences in entrance into STEM majors are mainly explained by disparities in prior achievement. This particular study analyzed data from three “national cohorts of college matriculates across three decades” and concluded that theories focusing on gender differences in skills are very limited (Riegle-Crumb, King, Grodsky, & Muller, 2012). Many similar studies have been conducted and they have all come to the same conclusion – there are absolutely no gender differences in skills. Therefore, achievement does not play a factor in the gender gap, contrary to popular belief.
Explanation for the Gender Gap
At a young age, children are placed into specific roles and are often limited in what they are allowed to do. This includes who they play with and what they can play with. Toys continue reinforcing stereotyp...
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..., which can greatly affect the number of women choosing to pursue STEM careers (Lazare, 2013). Young girls need supportive role models who will guide them in the right direction.
Many programs work continuously to support women in science fields. AAUW is an organization whose main mission is to empower women. According to their website, “not all STEM education takes place in the classroom” (Hill, Corbett, & Rose, 2010). AAUW members provide community programs that tear down stereotypes about STEM and demonstrate to girls that intellectual skills grow over time, regardless of gender. These programs create an environment where girls are encouraged to expand their knowledge and ability in STEM through fun and educational activities. By doing so, they stimulate girls’ excitement for STEM (Hill, Corbett, & Rose, 2010), making them more comfortable to pursue such careers.
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