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There has been a lot of research on this in recent years, but I have also seen it personally.  I am a female engineering student and the unconscious biases are very evident.  Several girls I tutor have been told growing up that they do not need math, they are not good at math,  the careers for girls don't involve math.  Girls tend to then criticize their performance a lot more than the boys because they are looking for that reason why all the things they have been told are true.  Most of the time in these situations, girls realize to get into the career they want they have to take at least one upper level math course and this scares them.  They think they are incapable of completing the problem.  If you don't think you can you never will. These girls have been prepared just as much as their counterparts, yet with their lack of confidence they perform lower in upper level courses.  It has been a struggle for me as a tutor because I can teach material,... read more

I remember going to school and feeling like something was wrong with me because I was good at mathematics. Especially, since nearly every teacher felt the need to re-iterate how girls were not as good at mathematics as boys based on what ever random statistics at the time.   However, I excelled and kept going. I got a degree in mathematics. So, what made me different from all the other girls that got discouraged. Natural ability for mathematics; however, when I reflect that's not the whole story. As I went to college, there were other girls that were great at mathematics, but once again got discouraged. So, what made go on to pursue degrees is Computer Science, Mathematics, and Computer Engineering.   I got the same discouraging information as everyone else, but I kept going. Why?  1) "Fighter" Personality My personality is such that when someone tells me that I can not do something, then I wanted to fight that much harder to prove them... read more

"Girls often believe themselves to be bad at math, in accordance with gender stereotyping, and often experience high levels of anxiety about the subject. That anxiety appears to be driven by social influences, and may be vanishing in early education. Still, identifying its causes could help eliminate it at later stages of education, and prevent it from making a reappearance in young girls. A new study suggests that elementary school may be a breeding ground for this anxiety. The study found that when elementary school teachers, who are primarily female, displayed a high level of anxiety about math, that skittishness was transmitted to their female students. Those students who spent a year with a math-phobic teacher displayed lower math achievement and an increased belief in stereotypes about female mathematical ability...   ...Seeing a math-anxious woman encouraged female students to buy into the stereotype that girls were unskilled at math, thereby allowing... read more

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