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Are boys really better than girls in mathematics?

Are boys really better than girls in mathematics

“Boys are better than girls in mathematics”: a generally-believed statement. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove it. More boys than girls call mathematics their favorite subject, and statistics show that their grades are higher than girls’. What’s more, boys participate in more extracurricular math activities, such as summer math schools and math competitions. The truth is that more boys than girls claim to like math but, can we assume that this happens because they are “better” at it?

The truth can be found in the following sentence: boys are better at math because they are more fond of the subject. But is there a reason to explain boys’ preferences? Some scientists explain it based on the different functions between the right and left sides of the brain (the right side is more active in males) or based on research and studies showing that boys have a better understanding of space.

However, according to another scientific view, social and cultural factors influence boys’ like or girls’ dislike for mathematics. Culture creates standards about what subjects we consider “male” and “female”; conventional behavior, prevalent ideas, and the mass media reproduce these standards. Typical families thus pass them on to their children as life goals, or even as  a life philosophy. Children adjust to this framework and learn to get involved in specific fields of interests, such as mathematics. If the child is encouraged to start with mathematics, the percentage of success is high. On the contrary, if a child loses interest in this field because it was never given the right motive to explore it, it is more likely to fail.

According to research, when girls are asked how they feel about mathematics, they reply that:
1. Math is an unknown field for them, so they are afraid of failure;
2. They are not sure of the purpose of mathematics in school;
3. Math doesn’t fit in the ideal image they have created for themselves;
4. They are not aware of their potential; they don’t feel confident about solving problems.

As a parent, what can you do to encourage girls to bring out their talent in math?

First of all, you have to recognize your child’s talent at an early age. Let them play math games, puzzles and encourage them to sign up for summer math classes, and participating in math competitions. Also, encourage them to meet children with common interests. Challenge them to read higher level physics and mathematics and solve more difficult problems than their class level.

A very important thing for all fields, not only mathematics, is to promote your girls’ self esteem. Help them be confident about their skills; talk to them about great women with great careers in this field as well as in other fields (such as literature). Tell them that sometimes, the media promotes a false image of women and girls – teach her that each and every person is special. Last, but not least, if you have a boy and a girl in your family, do not treat them differently.

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Comments (11)

  1. yeah Tuesday - 12 / 01 / 2010 Reply
    yeah that is true about a parent can do to nourish their child as they grow up.
  2. samuel tackie komme Wednesday - 03 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    thanks for your views and ineed more of it
  3. am i a freak? Saturday - 13 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    I am really good at maths (not to blow my our horn) but i am usally at the top of my maths classes with the best scores. am i freak becauese i am a girl and good at maths?
    • Acute Tuesday - 07 / 09 / 2010 Reply
      Exceptions always exist...;)
  4. Cosmetology Luv Friday - 26 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    This was a really great article, thanks for taking the time to put it together! Touched on some very good points. I'll certainly be back soon
  5. Tracie Kuhlo Wednesday - 02 / 06 / 2010 Reply
    Great web site! Love the content you have on here. Please continue the very good work and I is going to be confident to visit quite frequently. Thanks very much!
  6. Aditya Shekhar Marar Sunday - 01 / 08 / 2010 Reply
    Thanks for your tactful subsidy for my quarrel able debate.
  7. iTutorMaths Monday - 06 / 02 / 2012 Reply
    I feel strongly that the sex-bias is something artificially construction and upheld by our own perception. I think the reason there is a divide is because of expectation and nothing to do with a pupil's sex.
  8. Mohammad Tuesday - 07 / 08 / 2012 Reply
    We can always debate and try to establish our own theory. But the question is, do we really know who is better in maths? Boys or girls?
  9. shops Wednesday - 15 / 05 / 2013 Reply
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