“Girls Are Bad at Math” and Other Lies That Limit Women’s Potential

Sep 22, 2020 by

Though the majority of current discussions revolving around our implicit biases are related to race, there are still many other instances that affect a given group of people’s abilities to achieve a given task. You can take a quick look at the history of presidents in the United State and see that, though progress is slowly getting made, it has certainly been a patriarchal government since the dawning of the country.

One of these common misconceptions passed on (incorrectly) from generation to generation is the stereotype that “women are bad at math” or even some thoughts that still exist like “a woman should be a home keeper and care for the children.” Obviously these “traditional” (to keep it G-rated) role stereotypes are repeatedly proven wrong by decades upon decades of women proving they can do whatever men can do, and in a lot of cases, they wind up doing it better.

Regardless of those truths, however, numbers surrounding women in mathematics and other STEM fields continue to be very low, compared to men, and these unfair and unfounded stereotypes are still major reasons. Implicit bias doesn’t mean members of society are maliciously viewing women as inferior, but intentional or not, it is an issue that women continue to face (and overcome) in our society.

Here are few other lies that still find their way into some people’s psyche in modern America.

Science is for Men”

The aforementioned numbers related to women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are truly staggering. Women do make up almost exactly 50% of the U.S. workforce, which is proof that the super-ancient “homemaker” stereotype is finally dwindling, but they only make up 28% of the STEM workforce, which also happens to be a very lucrative one. This also translates to college, where a pretty similar percentage (24%) of students are women, meaning the issue starts very early.

Encouraging young women to get involved in STEM, and actively breaking down “math is for men” stereotypes when you witness them, can help remove this bias that is based solely on generational norms, and not women’s ability to excel in fields like engineering, cyber security, architecture, and research sciences.

Women Aren’t Strong Enough to Be Politicians”

Though the stereotype certainly still exists, and the current administration doesn’t seem to go out of it’s way to be inclusive, politics is one area showing a lot of recent improvement in female inclusion and equality. In all of its flaws, the government is one place with no gender gap in pay (which is still very much an issue across most private sectors), whether it be military or politics or anything in between. The only gap that needs closing in politics, is the amount of women actually serving as politicians.

Similar to the numbers in STEM, women comprise about 25% of the U.S. Senate, and 23% of the House of Representatives. However, more prominent and outspoken examples of female politicians are helping to fuel the younger generation of girls to become more involved in the field, a place where STEM still seems to be lacking. There is still plenty of work to do, but the amount of women in politics is definitely trending in the right direction, especially recently.

Women’s Sports Don’t Count”

According to experts, girls are twice as likely to drop out of sports when high school starts, as boys are. For a long time, part of that reason was a lack of options, but laws now require female sports to be evenly funded with male’s. Those laws, however, don’t change the ingrained perception so much of the country has that “sports are for men.” The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is a fantastic example of girls being way better than the boys at the professional level, yet they receive fractions of the pay and endorsements.

End the Bias

All of these issues, and the many more that exist making life paths for women more difficult than those of their male counterparts start at perception. Parents abound still buy their daughters dolls and their sons trucks, even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest that females and males enjoy different toys. Kids believe what they are taught, and the more that superheroes are men and presidents are men, the more we need to tell our daughters that the norm is wrong and they are every bit as capable of achieving great things of their male counterparts.

If we end the biases, we end the trends!

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