Gender and Learning

Post date: Sep 08, 2010 5:59:41 PM

Harvard President Lawrence Summers ignited a firestorm recently when he suggested more men than women are scientists because of differences between males and females in "intrinsic aptitude." Many scientists - both men and women - expressed outrage at Summers' remarks and blamed any lag in math among girls mainly on discrimination and socialization. They point out that girls have closed the gap in average scores on most standardized math tests in elementary and high school. Today women constitute almost half of college math majors and more than half of biology majors. But Summers' supporters say he courageously raised a legitimate question for scientific inquiry. Indeed, in recent years some researchers have been pursuing a scientific explanation for the discrepancies in math and science aptitude and achievement among boys and girls and have found differences, including biological ones.CQ Researcher Gender and Learning v.15-19