Debunking Gender myths associated with STEM

1) ‘Nobody is telling a seventh-grade female student who is good at math to go read poetry instead’- Ben Shapiro.This unidimensional perspective on the gender gap in STEM is perpetuating the gender misconceptions entrenched in contemporary society. The gender myth that thrives is that intrinsic differences in motivations and aptitude are causing the disproportionate representation - ‘Boys are gifted at Math’. Psychologist Simon Cohen claims that men are predisposed to mathematics whereas females are drawn towards people and emotions - ‘men have a greater cognitive aptitude for science’.

2) However, a study by Jessica Cantlon proved through neural imaging that both boys and girls showed similar neural stimulation and cognitive understanding when shown an educational video. Boys and girls prefer different strategies when approaching a complex problem, and sex differences do exist. Nevertheless,they can’t be viewed in isolation: interplay of societal and cultural forces engender these supposed cognitive differences.

3)Mr. Shapiro contends that women are disproportionately represented in nursing and teaching, for they have a natural disposition towards these fields. A panoply of factors is responsible for this gender segregation: Correlation doesn’t imply causation. Psychosocial factors and cultural stereotypes are essential factors in sustaining and generating STEM engagement.

4) Jackie Eccles's study illustrated significant variation in parents' perceived talent of their children, with parents overvaluing their son’s mathematics aptitude despite grades showing no differences between the genders. The myth that most individuals embody is that STEM fields require you to be ‘brilliant’. However, research suggests that proper training and perceived ability are necessary for a STEM career. There is a cultural misconception that females lack this brilliance trait, and fields that valued brilliance for success in the field witnessed less representation of women.

5) Stereotypes lead women and other minority groups into believing that underrepresentation suggests that chances of succeeding in STEM fields are low, resulting in them undervaluing their aptitude. Studies have proven that exposure to diverse role models and emphasis on individuals who succeeded in these fields on account of persistence rather than ‘being gifted’ is likely to promote greater interest in STEM.

6)A study conducted on first-grade teachers revealed that they were more likely to attribute a female student’s achievements to hard work and boy’s to inherent talent. Research suggests that women preferred career choices that were described as requiring hard work rather than brilliance. Therefore, cherry-picking claims supporting their ideology have been a strategic point deployed by the right, neglecting to pay attention to the myriad of reasons spawning these gender imbalanced representations.

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