Women in Math Infographic

created using SXSW Report template
published by jgaietto


Where are the Women?

Rebecca Goldin, a math professor at George Mason University and a mother of four, told Time magazine in 2010, “When having children and trying to be serious about mathematics, you can feel like your entire intellect is being judged and that if having children disrupts your publication or teaching efforts, you are a failure.” Among her friends, women have left mathematics because they felt marginalized, not because they didn’t like math.



Former Harvard President, Dr Lawrence H. Summers, angered several of  the women at the National  Bureau of Economic Research by suggesting that innate gender differences may explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers




Below are the results of one of the earliest experiments looking specifically at women in the STEM sciences(1999). One group was told that men performed better than women on a test (the threat condition), and the other group was told that there were no gender differences in test performance (the non threat condition). Women scored almost evenly with men when no preconceived bias was revealed. But when a woman's confidence was shaken by the supposed female "performance", she did significantly worse.

Myths of Women and STEMM

From the time they start school, most girls are less interested in science than boys are.

Classroom interventions that work to increase girls' interest in STEM run the risk of turning off the boys.

Science and math teachers are no longer biased toward their male students.

When girls just aren't interested in science, parents can't do much to motivate them.

At the college level, changing the STEM curriculum runs the risk of watering down important "sink or swim" coursework.







Disparity in University Programs

First Year College Students Intended Major in 2006

Women graduate with bachelor degrees in math at the same rate as men, and since the mid 1990's more than a quarter of the math PhDs have gone to women. But at the next professional level, university professors, the proportion of females shrinks to single digits. Female undergraduates often report lower confidence than male undergraduates report in their math or science abilities and their ability to succeed in their STEM major. Even among women and men who have similar grades, women in computer-related majors are less confident than their male peers of their ability to succeed in their major.


Women vs Men

Math and Sciences



    According to a 2010 study published in Intelligence, the gender gap in math and science has narrowed over the past 30 years, but it still exists. Though the gap is improving, there is still a long way to go and many aspects of society are still catching up. The image below is the first result to a Google Image search.

Bachelor’s Degrees Earned by Gender, 2007

Lindsey Shepard has made it her mission to empower women to recognize that they are much more than the titles on their business cards or their appointed position on the PTA. She hopes to reach the women who are raising the girls of GoldieBlox in order to encourage them to embrace their natural inclination toward innovation and invention.

Doctorates Earned by Women, 2006

Workers with Doctorates in Computer Sciences


Cornell University scientists Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams say that one overlooked factor is that among men and women of similar outstanding math ability, women are more likely to also have outstanding verbal ability. In the end, men choose math careers because they have fewer other options. It’s cultural stereotypes that may be indirectly pushing women away from scientific fields. If you are highly skilled in two areas but one is more in line with social stereotypes and has larger social support, it’s not surprising that it would be the talent you choose to develop. Historically, they say, women have preferred careers that center around living things, rather than inanimate ideas or objects.

But how does this affect the workplace?



When ranked in the workplace by their peers, women are rated significantly more hostile than the men when she was described as clearly successful, but the woman was rated significantly less hostile than the man when performance was unclear. This 2004 research brings to light the subtle and subconscious discrimination of women in their workplaces,

What makes a Successful Woman?


Implicit Bias

Implicit biases against women in science may prevent women from pursuing science from the beginning, play a role in evaluations of women’s course work in STEM subjects, influence parents’ decisions to encourage or discourage their daughters from pursuing science and engineering careers, and influence employers’ hiring decisions and evaluations of female employees.

   According to Margolis and Fisher (2002),“A critical part of attracting more girls and women in computer science is providing multiple ways to ‘be in’ computer science.” Other researchers concur that feeling like a misfit can lower confidence, especially among women.    When a woman has shown herself to be competent in a male-type field, she then pays the price of social rejection in the form of being disliked. Being disliked appears to have clear consequences for evaluation and recommendations about reward allocation, including salary levels. Research may partially explain why women working in STEM occupations leave at higher rates than their male peers do: most people don’t enjoy being assumed incompetent or, if thought competent, being disliked.

Women make up a bit more than half of the world’s population, yet even in the most developed countries, men hold the majority of jobs in STEM fields. What's more, men take home most of the prestigious scientific awards. As of 2013, of the 357 people awarded a Nobel in the science categories — Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Economic Sciences — only 16 have been women. It took until 2014 for a woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Mathematics, with Maryam Mirzakhani being granted this achievement.

The first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the first woman to win an unshared Nobel Prize in the sciences and the first woman to win two Nobel Prizes— an achievement that no woman has yet to duplicate — when she was awarded the 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Nobel Prize Recipients (2013)

Men 341 Women 16



Women vs. Men

Data from nearly 300,000 students in 40 countries who took an international test showed that in countries where women are treated more equally, no gender gap exists in math and science scores, and in a few countries, women even do better. In more equal countries, not only are women seen as equally capable of math performance, but both genders have government-required paid family leave available to them, as well as free or cheap access to high-quality day care, making the pursuit of demanding careers in science and technology easier and female role models who do it more visible.

Is it just the USA, or is this problem                ?

Little Women In school, many gifted math girls.   Later, so few famed math women! -Anonymous



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Jillian Gaietto