Gender gap in math confidence is studied

July 27, 2005

A survey of middle school girls suggests their self-confidence in math suffers when their parents believe math is a male domain.

Researchers Ruchi Bhanot and Jasna Jovanovic of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which released research data Tuesday, said a gender gap exists in math and science, but it's a gap about performance or achievement.

"It's about attitudes," said Jovanovic, a professor of human and community development. "Girls are not as confident about math and science."

According to the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 71 percent of eighth-grade boys and 60 percent of eighth-grade girls reported confidence in their math ability. The gender gap in confidence persists into high school.

Bhanot, a graduate student in human and community development, said, "Research shows when parents endorse the stereotype that math is a male domain, their daughters underestimate their math ability."

Jovanovic and Bhanot hypothesize parents inadvertently impose stereotypes when they give unsolicited help with their child's homework.

The research appears in the journal Sex Roles: A Journal of Research.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Academic 'gender gap' similar in US, India

Related Stories

Academic 'gender gap' similar in US, India

October 12, 2016

Academically talented girls in the United States surpass boys in language performance and are narrowing the gap with their male counterparts in math achievement, according to new research from the Duke University Talent Identification ...

Recommended for you

Making energy-harvesting computers reliable

October 28, 2016

A revolutionary and emerging class of energy-harvesting computer systems require neither a battery nor a power outlet to operate, instead operating by harvesting energy from their environment. While radio waves, solar energy, ...

Close up of the new mineral merelaniite

October 28, 2016

A team led by a physicist from Michigan Technological University has discovered a new mineral, named for the region in Tanzania where it comes from.

133 million-year-old dinosaur brain fossil found in England

October 28, 2016

Soft tissues such as hearts and muscles are very rarely preserved in the fossil record. For that reason, nearly all study of dinosaur soft tissue has to be reconstructed from fossil bones. However, researchers in the United ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.