Gender Bias in Math and Engineering, What is being done?

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA, November 1996

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As a woman, mother, and, future teacher, I am worried about the future of young girls. Female students consistantly score lower then boys on standardized tests and take fewer advanced math courses. Some schools have implemented single-sex classrooms to ensure that girls receive the attention and modified instruction that they sometimes need. Others have chosen to modify already existing programs. Still others, have done nothing. This problem has become a source of controversy and frustration. As a future teacher, I feel it is important for me to recognize the problems , and to the best of my abilities, ensure that students have a non-biased classroom.

Up to the high school years, girls and boys score equally in overall achievement. However, by the end of high school, the majority of girls take fewer math courses than boys, preferring English or history. Around the seventh and eight grade, girls and boys have the desire to fit in.

Girls' self-esteem and confidence in their ability drops significantly around this time as well. In the majority of mathematics courses, these are required attributes to succeed. Young girls who excel in math during this time are likely to not choose advanced math courses because very often they will be the only girl. She won't fit in, thus, lowering her self-esteem further.

In is during the middle-school years that young girls make their first career moves, and they don;t even realize that they have. They decide to cut advanced math out of their schedules, thus, limiting their career opportunities. This is a problem which could be solved simply by educating young girls of the importance of math for any given occupation. For example, when surveyed middle-school girls felt they would be capable of becoming doctors or veterinarians, but did not want to have math or science...