Girls cannot do math? Think again!

Dec 23, 2021 | Red Deer

Female math instructors at Mathnasium of Red Deer: Gayathry - a double degree in math, Ilena - an engineer, Yani - an MBA/accountant. Click here for full team's background.

 

Whether in a social event, in a networking event, or in our centre, when we meet parents, it is too often we hear women say, “I was never good at math” – often with a sneer gesture as if math is a bad food. They are just being honest, but mothers do not realize that this attitude significantly influences their daughters’ perspective about math and their achievement can go down.

 

But is it true that boys are more capable in math than girls?

Short answer: no. The new research findings suggest that boys and girls are equally equipped with foundational number skills and therefore should be equally capable of succeeding in math.

So why do women remain underrepresented in STEM?

 

The myth of the male math brain

Even though studies demonstrate otherwise, this stereotype that boys are better at math continues to be held, not only by parents but also by teachers. Numerous studies have shown that boys and girls are treated differently at home and in the classroom when it comes to math and science.

A study discovered that the more mothers who thought math was something boys were better at, the worse their daughters felt about their own math abilities.

Not only mothers but also teachers, who are predominantly women, often have math anxiety they pass onto girls and assume girls are less capable. They spend more time explaining math and science concepts to boys, and even tend to grade boys higher in math class and steer them towards harder classes.

 

So what should we – as parents – need to do?

  • Be mindful about your attitude about math. Stop expressing your bad experience with math, and instead foster growth mindset. Believe that daughters’ abilities can be developed as opposed to being static and unchangeable
  • Now, since you know that girls are the victim of outdated gender stereotypes even in countries with relatively better gender equality like Canada, resist and change your mindset
  • Let your daughters have female STEM role models to spark their interest in the field; it doesn’t have to be famous female mathematicians – like women at NASA (Katherine Johnson and others), or the “Nobel Prize of mathematics” winner Maryam Mirzakhani – but perhaps it’s her mom’s friend who is an engineer, her math teacher, or her math instructors at Mathnasium of Red Deer!
  • Engage them with math and science activities since early on, so that they have hands-on experience with STEM activities, such as joining math summer camps.

It’s a long way but let’s improve women’s representation in STEM – starting with our own daughters!

Come visit Mathnasium of Red Deer to see how we can help your child. We are conveniently located in the shopping destination area in Red Deer: 5250 22nd St, Unit 30 B – at the Gaetz Avenue Crossing shopping centre, in the same area as Chapters Indigo, Michael Arts, Petland and Ashley, and the phone number is 403-872 MATH (6284). Our centre director, Riwan Prasatya, would be happy to meet you!

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