– Is the shortage of women in STEM jobs due to the anxiety and unconscious bias of Female teachers about those disciplines? Although research has shown that girls can perform as well as boys in science, math, technology and engineering, the widespread and tenacious bias against female students persists, even starting as early as kindergarten or even earlier.
– According to a 2015 study conducted in Israel by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), teachers’ “unconscious gender bias” has an influence towards the results of students’ math exams. When the pupils were graded by teachers who did not know their gender, girls got better results than boys. But when the students were graded by teachers who know the sex of the participants, boys outscored girls: boys’ skills were overestimated, while girls’ skills were underestimated.
– So, paradoxically, teachers who probably want the best for girls are perhaps at the core of the problem. Young girls may be kept away from math by the people themselves who teach them the subject. Female elementary school teachers with poor confidence in their own math skills tend to pass their own anxiety to their pupils and behave differently toward girls and boys, a behavior that gives boys an advantage in scientific thinking. An unintentional but unfair advantage.
Image: NASA Science Update – The Voyager Spacecraft (Wikimedia Commons)
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