-Girls performed similarly to or better than boys in science in two of every three countries.

-In nearly all countries, more girls appeared capable of college-level STEM study than had enrolled.

-Paradoxically, the sex differences in the magnitude of relative academic strengths and pursuit of STEM degrees rose with increases in national gender equality. An explanation of this paradox that the authors offer is that “the liberal mores in these cultures, combined with smaller financial costs of foregoing a STEM path, amplify the influence of intraindividual academic strengths. The result would be the differentiation of the academic foci of girls and boys during secondary education and later in college, and across time, increasing sex differences in science as an academic strength and in graduation with STEM degrees.”

-In 97% of the countries, boys’ intraindividual strength in science was (significantly) larger than that of girls.

-In all countries, girls’ intraindividual strength in reading was larger than that of boys, while boys’ intraindividual strength in mathematics was larger than that of girls.

-The gap between boys’ science achievement and girls’ reading achievement relative to their mean academic performance was near universal.

-Boys’ science self-efficacy was higher than that of girls in 58% of the countries.

-Boys expressed a stronger broad interest in science than girls in 76% of the countries

-Boys reported more joy in science than girls in 43% of the countries.

-Countries with lower levels of gender equality had relatively more women among STEM graduates than did more gender-equal countries.

-The sex differences in academic strengths and attitudes toward science correlated with the STEM graduation gap.

#### Current Selections

Clear## The Gender-Equality Paradox in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education

## Gender Gaps in Math Performance, Perceived Mathematical Ability and College STEM Education: The Role of Parental Occupation

– All three factors, math achievement, perceived math ability, and parental occupation in a science field, are found to be significant predictors of the probability of majoring in science in college.

– Having a parent working in a science related field is associated with a better performance in math but not necessarily higher levels of perceived math ability, given math performance.

– Most of the observed positive effects of having a parent in a science related occupation seem to be concentrated among females.

– Estimated effects of higher levels of math achievement are about double for boys than for girls. Estimates of perceived math ability are also slightly larger for boys.

## Women and STEM

Are girls’ math abilities and skills sufficient for them to pursue those fields? If not, when do differences arise and are they affected by environmental factors?

## Choice of Majors: Are Women Really Different from Men?

– High school academic preparation, faculty gender composition, and major returns have little effect on major switching behaviors, and women and men are equally likely to change their major in response to poor grades in major-related courses.

– Women in male-dominated majors do not exhibit different patterns of switching behaviors relative to their male colleagues.

– Women are more likely to switch out of male-dominated STEM majors in response to poor performance compared to men.

– It takes multiple signals of lack of fit into a major (low grades, gender composition of class, and external stereotyping signals) to impel female students to switch majors.

## Family Socioeconomic Status and Choice of STEM Major in College: An Analysis of a National Sample

Does students’ decision of STEM enrollment in college differ systematically by family SES?

## Cracking the Code: Girls' and Women's Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

The report is intended to stimulate debate and inform STEM policies and programmes at global, regional and national levels. Specifically, it aims to: i) document the status of girls’ and women’s participation, learning achievement, and progression in STEM education; ii) ‘crack the code’, i.e., decipher the factors that contribute to girls’ and women’s participation, achievement and progression in STEM education; and, iii) identify interventions that promote girls’ and women’s interest in and engagement with STEM studies.

## Gender Streaming and Prior Achievement in High School Science and Mathematics

– Gendered choices they make remain largely intact after conditioning on prior test scores, indicating that these choices are not driven by differences in perceived mathematical ability, or by boys’ comparative advantage in mathematics.

– Girls who choose matriculation electives in physics and computer science score higher than boys, on average.

– Girls and boys react differently to early signals of mathematical and verbal ability.

– Girls are less adversely affected by socioeconomic disadvantage.

– Girls score higher in all four subjects, with a greater advantage in

language arts than in mathematics and science, implying that boys have a comparative advantage in mathematics and science.

– There is a strong pattern of gender streaming in the choice of electives in science and mathematics. The share of boys choosing advanced physics or computer science is more than twice that of girls; the share of boys choosing advanced mathematics is about 20% higher; while the share of girls choosing advanced biology is about 60% higher than boys and their share in advanced chemistry is 40% higher.

– For physics or computer science and for advanced mathematics, accounting for the observed gender difference in the distribution of prior mathematics achievement widens the gender gap very slightly.

– For biology and chemistry, accounting for differences in prior

achievement reduces the gap favoring girls by 0.6 percentage points.

– In the regression, as girls do slightly better than boys in eighth-

grade mathematics, controlling for prior achievement in mathematics increases the gender gap favoring boys in physics or computer science and in advanced mathematics, by 1.0 and 1.2 percentage points respectively while reducing the gender gap favoring girls in biology or chemistry by 0.8 of a percentage point.

– The largest effect is in advanced mathematics and the smallest in biology or chemistry, in line with the relevance of mathematical ability for each subject.

– All prior scores exhibit a statistically signiﬁcant, positive (and in most cases convex) relationship with the probability of choosing a science or mathematics elective.

– An interaction term, the product of the mathematics and Hebrew scores, also has a signiﬁcant positive effect.

– Boys’ and girls’ different propensities to choose science and mathematics electives are partly a reﬂection of their different responses to prior signals of ability. A signal of strong mathematical ability has a positive effect on both boys and girls for all three categories, but the effect is stronger for boys with regard to choosing advanced mathematics and physics or computer science, and stronger for girls with respect to choosing biology or chemistry; and a similar pattern applies to prior achievement in science.

– Selection of science and mathematics electives increases in parents’ education. The rate of increase is more moderate in biology or chemistry; and the share of girls declines with parents’ education in all electives. These ﬁndings are a further indication that boys beneﬁt from a strong family background more than girls.

– The size of the gender gap increases in parental education for all electives, and more steeply in the male-dominated subjects, mathematics and physics or computer science, showing again that boys beneﬁt more from a strong family background.

– Of the three groups, coeducational religious schools serve a population of students from markedly lower income groups, and achieve the lowest GEMS scores in all subjects for both male and female students in these schools. Coeducational non-religious schools and single-sex religious schools have more similar student populations.

– In non-religious schools, girls outperform boys, whereas boys outperform girls in religious schools.

– Single-sex religious schools have the highest matriculation rates, followed by coeducational non-religious schools.

## The Role of School Performance in Narrowing Gender Gaps in the Formation of STEM Aspirations: A Cross-National Study

To determine whether the school context is related to the gender gap in STEM aspirations cross-culturally.