Battle of the sexes in science hurts girls — and boys, too

Battle of the sexes in science hurts girls — and boys, too

Researcher at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln found the stereotype that boys do better in sciences doesn’t just hurt the interest to go into the scientific fields among young female students, but male students, as well.

Sociologist Patricia Wonch Hill conducted her study with 529 middle school aged students as part of the university’s project to investigate why there are fewer women pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

“The implications of these findings are that we need to work to get rid of this cultural stereotype in the United States, and it really is specific to certain places and times,” Hill said. “It’s not only harmful to young girls, but this shows it can be bad for boys, too.” And the solutions to this problem, based on Wonch Hill, could be as simple as introducing classroom diversity and reinforcing inclusion.
The study, now published in Science Sciences, is co-authored by Julia McQuillan, Amy Spiegel, G. Robin Gauthier and Judy Diamond and funded by the National Institutes of Health (R25OD01506). Find out more here.