In the article, “Gender Gaps in STEM Fields,” the author, Allison Schrager, argues that when it comes to extreme mathematical genius, boys have long dominated; however, when it comes to standardized admission tests, girls are beginning to perform as well as boys in all sections.
The author suggests that the gender gap is closing for top SAT math scores. Females on average are beginning to score nearly as high as males on the SAT math section; this could be because of soaring social change since the 1980s. However, the occurrence of women winning Nobel Peace Prizes is not as common as men. The closing of the test score gap does not solve the STEM achievement gap.
The author used evidence of research conducted in Vanderbilt, concluding that brilliant women tend to have more well-rounded intelligence than males, but they noticed women were more likely to choose jobs that were less research focused and they were attracted to jobs where they could use their strong communication skills. The author used this piece of evidence to justify why women usually are not upholding Nobel Peace winning statuses in STEM fields. So while female high schools are scoring nearly as well as their male counterparts on the SAT, males still outperform them in high profile research positions and award winning work.
The author’s claim is correct in some facets. Women are usually seen participating in occupations where they can use their communication skills because the majority of women appear well rounded in terms of accomplishments and interests. Perhaps there remains a slight pressure on men in American for them to work in STEM fields, hence why they may become more interested in math and science subjects at a young age.
The issue the author wanted to address would be the lack of women participating in STEM accomplishments. However, this issue cannot simply be ‘solved’, because women in America are simply in realms of study that they are interested in. There already exists a ‘Women in STEM fields’ social change, of trying to get women to join STEM fields as it is. There forth, this issue cannot be addressed, simply because women are making the choice of using their skills elsewhere.
While there is a gender gap in terms of STEM accomplishments, the author failed to clarify the gender gap of college degrees that are obtained. Schrager failed to explain that women, especially in the last decade, women have far outperformed their male counterparts when attending college. Research has shown that women obtain 58% of college degrees, whereas men only obtain 42%. So the issue the author wished to address is simply not an issue.
Women are getting an education in their preferred field in the U.S, and the gender gap of high achieving STEM researchers has nothing to do with ‘discrimination,’ rather, many women see their strong communication skills useful elsewhere. However, this topic should really bring up the question as to whether or not males have become pressured at a young age to have interest in STEM subjects. Whether this issue was caused simply because boys are innately better at math or if girls are socially conditioned not to be math experts still remains an open question.