As I have covered in previous entries, there is a lot of research on this topic and various interpretations of when and why girls lose interest in math. Some have argued that girls lose interest as early as elementary school while others have argues that they lose interest in middle school to high school range. A new study published by Microsoft states that girls get interested in STEM related fields at the age of 11 and lose the interest around 15 because of social pressure, negative stereotypes, and lack of mentors.
According to the World Economic Forum report: “one area in which women continue to remain under-represented is among STEM graduates, for which the global gender gap stands at 47%, with 30% of all male students graduating from STEM subjects, in contrast to 16% of all female students. That gap is commonly attributed to negative stereotypes and lack of role models, lowering girls’ performance and aspirations vis-à-vis science and technology.” Many physical sciences related professions including Computer Science rely on STEM graduates for so called the forth industrial revolution and hence hopefully these gender gaps improve as we move forward.
The oscar nominated film “Hidden Figures” does a nice job of showing contributions of three women at NASA to US winning space race in 1950s. I recently came across “Gina Davis Institute on Gender in Media” which claims to be “The Institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence content creators and audiences about the importance of eliminating unconditional bias, highlighting gender balance, challenging stereotypes, creating role models and scripting a wide variety of strong female characters in entertainment and media that targets and influences children ages 11 and under”.
I really admire the issues they are highlighting of gender imbalance in the media and its lasting impressions on females.