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See Inside His Brain, Her Brain

Sex, Math and Scientific Achievement [Preview]

Why do men dominate the fields of science, engineering and mathematics?

Where We Go from Here

If Larry Summers's comments had one appealing feature, it was the benefit of simplicity. If the lack of women in science were a reflection, in part, of lack of ability, then the take-home lesson would seem to be that we can do nothing but accept the natural order of things.

As this article shows, however, the truth is not so simple. Both sexes, on average, have their strengths and weaknesses. Nevertheless, the research argues that much could be done to try to help more women—and men for that matter—excel in science and coax them to choose it as a profession. The challenges are many, requiring innovations in education, targeted mentoring and career guidance, and a commitment to uncover and root out bias, discrimination and inequality. In the end, tackling these issues will benefit women, men and science itself.

(Further Reading)

The Science of Sex Differences in Science and Mathematics. Diane F. Halpern, Camilla P. Benbow, David C. Geary, Ruben C. Gur, Janet Shibley Hyde and Morton Ann Gernsbacher in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Vol. 8, No. 1, pages 1–51; August 2007.

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