Everyone Knows Girls Are Bad At Math, Right?! Part 1

Everyone Knows Girls Are Bad At Math, Right?! Part 1


Mary>>
Ok, so 87 times 3… so 7 times 3 is 21 carry the 2…24… 261! John>>
No, that’s not right! It’s 258. Mary>>
No, I did the steps. I checked it. I did it right, it’s 261. John>>
No, you’re wrong. Oh come on, let me do it. See, I got 258 again. Everybody knows girls are bad at math. Narrator>>It’s a commonly accepted premise that
girls are worse at math than boys. This kind of claim is very appealing to many for a variety of reasons, such as explaining why
there are so few women in science, technology,
engineering and math careers compared to men. Demonstrating the claim is often
approached pseudo-scientifically. Pseudoscience is a process of approaching a claim in what appears
superficially to be scientific but is fundamentally flawed. Here, the question being asked
assumes that the claim is true, based on logical fallacies,
such as it being common knowledge, the argument ad populum, and that the claim is correct, which is begging the question. The scientific approach looks at the claim and asks
is it even true? Scientific approaches rely on the
falsifiability of the process, where pseudoscience assumes
a truth and doesn’t want to falsify it. Mary>>
Hey Jenny, are you and Dave going to the dance
on Saturday night? Jenny>>
No, he’s playing in the game earlier, so he said he’d be too tired. Robin>>
All those boys care about is sports. Why ask us out if they never
want to do anything with us? John>>
Hey Dave. You going to practice tonight? Dave>>
Yeah. Winning the game on Saturday
means we’ll go to state! Mark>>
What about Jenny? Won’t she complain you’re not
spending enough time with her… …again? Robin>>
So I want to go shopping to get new shoes for the dance, but we have to stay around Friday afternoon for the career showcase. Jenny>>
I’m going to look at the education table, nursing, and librarian careers on Friday. What about you Mary? Mary>>
I’m going to check out pre-med, the engineering, and whatever other
science ones there are. Robin>>
Are you sure? That’s a lot of math and science. Jenny>>
Hey, so is nursing! John>>
What tables are you guys hitting at the career showcase? Mrs. Black says we have to go
to at least three to get credit. Mark>>
I’m going to the police table,
the army, but I don’t know about the third yet. John>>
My mom insists I go the pre-med and the pre-law ones, but I want
to go to the army one too. Dave>>
I’m going to the engineering and physics
tables, and probably computer science Mark>>
Nerd. Dave>>
Jock. Narrator>>The trope of girls being more interested in
fashion and social events and boys just wanting to relax
and watch or play a sport is so common it’s the basis of
many episodes of sitcoms. A pseudoscientific approach to this claim is to accept that these are
the only two choices and that girls do one and boys the other. Scientists would start with seeing what activities are available, and if there is a difference
in participation by gender. Mary>>
I want to go to med school, and so I know I need general bio,
genetics, microbiology, organic chemistry, and
physics. But what else should I take? Professor>>
Well yes, but that’s a lot of science courses. Do you think you can
handle all of that? Mary>>
Yes, I know I can. I did really well on my SATs. Professor>>
You should probably also take calculus, but that’s pretty advanced math. Mary>>
I should be able to do calculus. Professor>>
We get a lot of students who come in as pre-meds. Most of them end up changing their major. Why don’t you think about
what else you want to do now so you don’t have to play
catch up again later on? Narrator>>It’s well known that there are more female
nurses than male ones, and more male physicists than females ones. STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and math, has long been considered
the domain of men, to the point that doing an image search
of “famous scientist” on the internet brings back many images of men
and only a few of women. A pseudoscientific approach to this claim is to assume that there is some inherent difference between girls and boys that causes these choices, which is the argument for nature. Additionally there is the idea that traditional
career choices are best. The scientific approach starts with
the claim itself to see if it holds up. Mary>>
In a lot of ways, we’ve been told we can be
whatever we want to be, but when you look at the success of
women in science, technology, engineering, and math, you have to wonder… Even though girls now get one third
of the top 1% of the SAT math scores, up from less than one tenth 40 years ago, this isn’t reflected in the
college degrees achieved. Although women received 58% of the
bachelor’s degrees in biology, we only got 19% of engineering degrees and
18% of computer science degrees, with the proportion of women taking
the courses in those disciplines dropping rapidly in the
first two years of college. I did well in high school and
scored well on my SATs, and when I went to college I declared
a pre-med without hesitation. But I didn’t get a lot of encouragement and there weren’t as many mentors
as I could hope. So, is it because girls are just bad at math?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *