Women make up just 12.8 per cent of the UK’s workforce in science, technology, engineering and maths, according to one recent analysis. But what’s behind this gender gap in the STEM subjects?
A popular explanation is the idea that a person conforms to a perceived stereotype about themselves – something called stereotype threat. For example, girls performing less well at maths because they have heard that boys are better at the subject. The effect of such stereotypes may then go on to affect subject choices and career paths.
This idea has become one of the most studied theories in social psychology, and has been tested in hundreds of experiments. But the latest results suggest the consequences of stereotyping by race or gender are less clear than we previously thought….
Read the rest of this article at the New Scientist – the home of Brain Scanner, my weekly column. Image: Lorraine Turnbull Foster, first woman to earn Ph.D. in math at Caltech, 1964.
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