Math and Gender

A new study was trumpeted by the media last week, indicating that girls do no worse on standardized math scores than boys. Clearly, the commentary added, the disparities of the past were due to social preconditioning, not genetic differences, and our war against this evil stereotype is finally paying off.

Heather MacDonald took a closer look at the study, and discovered that, once again, the media reported only part of the story, the part that seemed to match their agenda. There was another angle they conveniently ignored: “while boys’ and girls’ average scores are similar, boys outnumber girls among students in both the highest and the lowest score ranges.”

Boys are found more often than girls at the outer reaches of the bell curve of abstract reasoning ability. If you’re hoping to land a job in Harvard’s math department, you’d better not show up with average math scores; in fact, you’d better present scores at the absolute top of the range. And as studies have shown for decades, there are many more boys than girls in that empyrean realm. Unless science and math faculties start practicing the most grotesque and counterproductive gender discrimination, a skew in the sex of their professors will be inevitable, given the distribution of top-level cognitive skills. Likewise, boys will be and are overrepresented among math dunces—though the feminists never complain about the male math failure rate.

Men and women are inherently different, in ways that we are still struggling to understand. To deny this basic fact of human nature is not only intellectually dishonest, it suppresses the diversity that academics insist is so vital among the human community.

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One response to “Math and Gender

  1. Pingback: And in the Idiot’s Hall of Fame « Sanefeminist’s Weblog

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