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Men better than Women in Mathematics: A myth or reality?

So who is better in mathematics Men or Women? This tend to be a stable question for a while now! Washington State University’s Shane Bench conducted a research to find out the answer. We see so much of men population entering into science and engineering, however, with more men in science and engineering, does it really mean that men are better than woman? The research won’t think it that way! Well according to Shane Bench, who is leader of a study in Springer’s journal Sex Roles, The difference is that men think they are much better at math than they really are. Women, on the other hand, tend to accurately estimate their arithmetic prowess.

Men better than Women in Mathematics A myth or reality

Bench conducted a study which examined how people’s biases and previous experiences about their mathematical abilities make them more or less likely to consider pursuing mathematics-related courses and careers. Two studies were conducted, one using 122 undergraduate students and the other 184 participants. Each group first completed a math test before guessing how well they had fared at providing the right answers. In the first study, participants received feedback about their real test scores before they were again asked to take a test and predict their scores. In the second study, participants only wrote one test without receiving any feedback. They were, however, asked to report on their intent to pursue math-related courses and careers. After the participants in Study 1 received feedback about their real test scores, the men were more accurate at estimating how well they had done on the second test. The results of Study 2 show that because the male participants believed they had a greater knack for math than was the case, they were more likely to pursue math courses and careers than women.

Across the two studies Bench found that men overestimated the number of problems they solved, while women quite accurately reported how well they fared. His team also found that women who had more positive past experiences with mathematics tended to rate their numerical abilities higher than they really were. This highlights the value of positively reinforcing a woman’s knack for mathematics especially at a young age.

Gender gaps in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields are not necessarily the result of women’s underestimating their abilities, but rather may be due to men’s overestimating their abilities.
– Shane Bench, leader of a study in Springer’s journal Sex Roles.

I think it’s really good time to point out that whatever be the gender, it only depends on your ability to know what you are good at! Here it is important to note that the gender gap in mathematics and science enrollments may be based on male overconfidence and not just the female’s lack of confidence. It’s high time to motivate people, be it men or women, to do well in the field that they are good in!!, rather than dragging the old myths in your decision making!

Madhumanti Pal
Madhumanti is a software engineer by profession. She has keen interest in technology and discussing about technology. Hope you will have a great time reading highlights on latest technology. Feel free to comment if you have any query.

3 thoughts on “Men better than Women in Mathematics: A myth or reality?

  1. As a woman math major, all I can say is THANK YOU for posting this.

    I think it’s true that there are inherent gender differences the genius level. But at the level of garden-variety talented-enough-for-a-math-career folks, there are plenty of women–and perhaps as many women as men. Why is our image of what math looks like dominated by the demographics of the top couple percent? Most people *in any field* are not geniuses, and math is no exception.

  2. ” Two studies were conducted, one using 122 undergraduate students and the other 184 participants ”
    Do you really think these no. of people represent the whole of humanity. The thing is these type of inaccurate and insufficient surveys are loss of time, energy and money.

    Everybody has a friend or relative or knows some man/ woman who is very good in mathematics. All literate person knows that being good in something depends completely on one’s talent and dedication regardless of sex.

  3. I believe the opinions are divided, some people say that up to age 7 there are not differences in math skills after that age boys have better results than girls, although differences tend to disappear in more gender-equal societies.

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