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Study shows empowered women less likely to choose math and science professions

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22:  A young girl marches with scientists and supporters in a March for Science on April 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. The event is being described as a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images)
Sarah Morris/Getty Images
A young girl marches with scientists and supporters in a March for Science on April 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

A new study published last month in the journal Psychological Science explores a strange paradox: In countries that empower women, they are less likely to choose math and science professions.

A new study published last month in the journal Psychological Science explores a strange paradox: In countries that empower women, they are less likely to choose math and science professions.

The study addresses the issue of an underrepresentation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Using an international database on adolescent achievement in science, mathematics, and reading, the study showed that girls performed “similarly to or better than boys in science in two of every three countries, and in nearly all countries, more girls appeared capable of college-level STEM study than had enrolled.” Gender differences in relative academic strengths and pursuit of STEM degrees rose with increases in national gender equality.

Guest:

Susan Pinker, developmental psychologist and a columnist who wrote about the study for the Wall Street Journal; author the book, “The Sexual Paradox: Men, Women and the Real Gender Gap” (Scribner, 2009)

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