Barbie says, “Math is hard”

teentalkbarbie.jpgIn high school there were just as many girls as guys in my AP Biology and Organic Chemistry classes, but fewer hanging out and talking BBS smack at Computer Club. In college the Intro to Computer Science class was pretty balanced, but CS II showed the first signs of a noticeable gender imbalance, skewing toward guys having the majority. I’d go home after classes and log a few hours on Quake, and noticed that my opponents tended to be all men. Usenet newsgroups that focused on cryptography, open source computing, and similar subjects also seemed to have a higher number of male names than female. These days, I show up at electronic music workshops or log into similar forums and am usually one of two or three other girls there. And there’s only a handful of recognized women electronic musicians in the field as opposed to the countless men. Seeing as we’re supposed to be a pretty egalitarian culture, that’s weird, right?

Girls and young women are less likely than boys and young men to agree with the statements “I like mathematics” and “I like science,” in a national survey:

  • 40% of girls and 31% of boys said that math is their least favorite subject
  • 21% of girls and 17% of boys said that science is their least favorite subject *

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