Girls and Math

Girls have a problem with math. The surprise is that they don’t start out that way. Girls in the forth grade are right up there with the boys but by the seventh grade they have fallen behind. Could it be because girls are not confident of their ability in math or because girls have more interest in communicating and see math as a lonely project.

Girls and Math

It’s been know for years that girls don’t have an aptitude for math. But did you know that girls don’t naturally start out like that? In a study done by the U.S. Department of Education 66 % of girls in the forth grade liked and did well in math, but by the seventh grade only half girls did the same. In high school only 17% of girls represented themselves well in math. Educators are now coming to understand that beginning in the lower grades the stronger focus should be on multiplication tables and in depth practice. Girls tend to lack confidence and be more critical of themselves even when they are doing well, so they need motivation, self confidence and a keener appreciation for math.

Image by Torley via Flickr

The goal must be educational programs in schools that offers hands on exploration of math, science and technology. Today’s educators agree the expectations of parents, examples children see around them and whether teachers adapt to student performance will tell the tale of how well girls and boys perform in math. The good news is that schools are becoming more creative in teaching. Sometimes boys and girls need different approaches to become proficient and confident. That is a lesson worth learning.

Schools are using enrichment programs to make learning more interesting. One such program is working throughout Texas. First to twelfth graders are tackling environmental engineering. Teens are creating computer search engines to help Texas residents find parking spaces and cut down on emissions. They use math problems and are making pages with HTML. They are excited about the work they are doing to make the world a better place to live in.

 For girls, a huge problem is the lack of role models. Working in isolation doesn’t appeal to young females. The contribution of women must be emphasized and females must be searched out who excel in math and science. Girls are more in tune to improving their lives and the lives of others. Schools must show math and science as creating new technologies and improving communication rather than an isolated pursuit. In some schools students spend hours in laboratories taking apart fans, mixers and small appliances  to see what makes them run. On farms they run soil tests and lend a hand harvesting crops. High school students test cars in a wind tunnel. Make it interesting and students, girls and boys will learn.

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49 Responses to “Girls and Math”
  1. lpshady Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 12:04 am

    nice post

  2. lxdollarsxl Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Actually ruby i find it pretty strange, maybe though as they get older and have to run a home they improve dramatically. I know the ladies i had working for me when in business when they produced figures for me they were alway correct no matter how complicated the system, seemed though the men didnt quite grasp it and had to have figures rechecked by a lady.

  3. Inna Tysoe Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Interesting–especially when you consider how many women manage the household books and, indeed, have done through the years.

  4. Brewed Coffee Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 12:24 am

    That’s a very interesting that made me feel I am strange LOL! :-) I started out hating math during grade school, but I ended up taking engineering. But it was only in college that I really learned to appreciate math subjects. I guess for me, it has something to do with discovering the practical applications of math and not just some strange theories that I cannot fully grasp.

  5. OhSugar Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 12:29 am

    I would prefer not to have to deal with math, but I am still pretty good at it. I got a call from a junior in high school( who lives in another state) who need help with geometry; we were on the phone for a little time, but I was able to help with the problem. I would much rather help with English, History or Spanish. In other words, math is not my favorite subject.

  6. Brenda Nelson Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Math could be taught differently to make it more interesting for both genders..

  7. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Math isn’t a favorite subject for quite a few people. I think both sexes will do well if their learning styles are taken into account.

  8. PR Mace Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Math has never been a favorite of mine but then again when I went in high school they didn’t think girls needed as much math as the boys. Then I went to nursing school and I really needed math.

  9. lapasan Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 12:50 am

    If some girls can’t excel in math, they should focus in communications.

  10. Jimmy Shilaho Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 1:58 am

    It is the society that starts discriminating between male and female subjects.

  11. The Quail 1957 Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Very interesting article. My girls slowed down and then picked up again once in high school. Awesome article though.

  12. writing4angels Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 2:19 am

    This topic may also demand more research. You have pressed on the subject with an organized manner.

  13. LCM Linda Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 2:47 am

    I’m very poor in mathematics. Once you are poor in one subject, no additional help can make the study even worse.

  14. awesome11 Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 2:53 am

    greatb article friends

  15. strategy03 Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 3:14 am

    good or excellent

  16. ur guide Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Nice article…….I think everyone has got some special abilities. I think girls can overcome this weakness easily by showing some better management skills than boys.

  17. Christine Ramsay Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 4:26 am

    I know what you mean, I think you have to make learning fun if children want to learn. I can remember making a point of ensuring my pupils learn their multiplication tables by differentiated competitions so that all levels of pupils could feel they have achieved. A very interesting and well written post.


  18. bala99 Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 7:50 am

    You have done your Math homework, Adds up nicely!

  19. Betty Carew Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Great post Ruby. I agree at least from my daughters experience. She had a hard time with math but did conquer it to go on and be a teacher. Interestingly though I didn’t know it was a problem in females overall.

  20. Literary Princess Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Funny…a week ago I had an idea to write an article about women and math (after stressing over my Algebra course this semester), and well here is an article about girls and math. Good share!

  21. Anbuselvan Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Good One

  22. BeatsMe Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I didn’t know most girls are not good in Math. Great article.

  23. Videomark Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I think in the old days girls were taught that it was harder to get a man if you were smarter than them.

  24. PSingh1990 Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Nice Share.


  25. coffeeadict Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    In my opinion its both, girls are more interested in social things and communication, but the other part has to do with the role model situation. Boys are more trusted with challenges of this sort, as they have more guidance by male role models in this concern as well. So, giving girls more credit and challenge them more in terms of math and technical things, and they will grow into it.

  26. Anastasia Meredith Oh Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I disagree!
    I’m doing maths for A-Level (UK SAT) and I find maths reasonably easy to grasp!
    I’m in an all girls school, and most people seem to find maths OK, only 1 person is doing foundation tier. Loads of people do Physics or maths for A-Level.
    I got 98% in my jr school SATS (british version) and loads of the girls in my school did really well too, the boys did way worse!

  27. LoveDoctor Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Some people are more mathematically inclined than others. It could be that the girls in this study are better in reading and writing than math or they just see math as boring and complicated so laziness could be the result of them not working hard enough to pass the class. (besides the confidence and motivational factor you listed). I think most schools incorporate math and science as part of their curriculum.

  28. Shirley Shuler Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Excellent article Ruby, I had no ideal that most girls were not good at math, I was always good at math and most of my friends were too.

  29. N. Sun Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Well I love math and I’m a boy. I guess I have noticed less girls in my class when I took more advanced math courses in school. I never knew it was because girls didn’t like math as much. Thanks for informing us!

  30. Judy Kaelin Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Excellent, Ruby – I did not enjoy math in school, but I am fine with it now – good thing, I am responsible for the farm books and and I need it for my work too!

  31. Thewoodlandelf Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I confess, my dad was a math wiz and I inherited his mathmind, so I always loved math, both in school and after I started homeschooling. But, I think a big problem with most girls, is that it’s just societally expected that boys will do better in math, so they start to believe it too.

  32. CA Johnson Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    This is really great. I was definitely one of the girls who thought math was easier when I was younger. It got harder the older I got. It would be better if teachers could find a way to make math and science easier. I know it would have made a difference for me because both of those subjects were hard for me in high school.

  33. LJ Spain Says...

    On December 18, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I like the way they having the girls help out with other issues to make it more interestng. I would have loved that in school,

  34. Jennifer Marre Says...

    On December 19, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I know about the stereotype of girls not doing as well in math as boys, but I’ve actually noticed the opposite. My female math teachers have always been much better teachers than their male counterparts from grade school up through college (in other subjects, I haven’t really noticed as much of a difference between male and female teachers). I have also noticed a lot more women than men in higher level math courses in college. Perhaps this stereotype is beginning to change?

  35. Anuradha Ramkumar Says...

    On December 19, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Very interesting…I would say it is because of the gender differences in the society. In our country, even in the 21st century, many girl childs are deprived of even the basic primary education.

  36. learnandearn Says...

    On December 19, 2010 at 4:39 am

    well … i dont accept that … it’s just a natural phenomena that one person (gals or guys) stop liking maths after a certain period of time and just go careless about it…

    there are quite a lot of “women” mathameticans & physicsts who have won laurels in the field.

    It’s just that people dont take enough time to look around and choose their “role models”

  37. albert1jemi Says...

    On December 19, 2010 at 6:59 am

    good share

  38. Yandrox Says...

    On December 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

    This is quite an interesting share, I always wondered they were good at math when we were little and now they aren’t.

  39. Nawazish ali Says...

    On December 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    ITs really cool post

  40. nimbleful Says...

    On December 19, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    interesting article : )

  41. Anj M Says...

    On December 20, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Hi Ruby.. To be honest, as far as my experience is concerned, girls are good mathematicians.

  42. ninghui465 Says...

    On December 20, 2010 at 3:17 am

    I’m in an all-girls’ school, and most of my classmates really hate math and physics. Only a few of them like math. But I love math!!!!!!!!!!!! I think it’s quite easy once you grasp the concept and methods.

  43. gaby7 Says...

    On December 20, 2010 at 4:00 am

    A very educative argument here-I know just a little maths to count my little salary, but i also know some very serious female mathematicians in my vicinity-my friend’s wife is doing a Phd. in mathematics!!

  44. starmagic92 Says...

    On December 20, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Nice Post…. :)

  45. LewSethics Says...

    On December 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I don’t think the problem lies with the female students, I think it lies with the school system, which seems to have unrealistic projections about the number of students that should excel in math. When kids are young they are interested in everything, and as they get older they tune out more and more as they focus on things important to them.
    Also, boys are more competitive than girls, and higher math is more challenging, so I think more boys would answer the challenge just because they need that victorious feeling one gets when finishing a hard problem.

  46. wonder Says...

    On December 20, 2010 at 10:38 am

    A very good educative account.Various stimuli should be incorporated to make learning functional.

  47. zokkizox Says...

    On December 20, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    wow, so true! I’m terriable at math! Great article

  48. Tulan Says...

    On December 22, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I am not good with math but I can balance the family budget.

  49. RONY ROY Says...

    On December 27, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    very good.

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