- How can we best explain men and women’s differing cognitive strengths?
There is not really a wrong or right or answer for fewer women than men in math and science careers. There are some studies that show some good reasoning but still isn’t the exact explanation that we are looking for. One reasoning is that it could possibly be because of nature vs. nurture. Lawrence Summers also said there are a wide variation of aspects that influence career choices for men and women, including; sex differences, stereotyping, discrimination, sex roles, education, and biological influences. Study’s comparing boys and girls start in preschool.
What they came up with was that their cognitive skills seem equal at that age. Once school starts, females seem to perform better on verbal abilities, memory and basic skills. Whereas males did better in visual skills and scored better on their SAT. Even into college the studies stayed persistent to the school age kids. Although there was one difference in college age females and males. That was that, women did seem to do better in the classroom than men. But the women did worse on the standardized tests. Women just naturally are lacking in science and math abilities.
- What clues do we have from studies of animals in comparison to men and women’s brains? What role do social expectations play in this whole dilemma?
When studying female and male animals of different species, they all seem to have the same results, hormones. Starting all the way in prenatal development, they found that males have higher levels of testosterone in the brain and male patterns of cognitive performance. Studies show that hormones play a role in cognitive development all throughout life for men and women. For example, people who receive large quantities of male or female hormones for a sex exchange surgery. People going female to male through hormone treatments show more manly changes in their cognitive patterns.
Examples would be, better visual processing and verbal skills. Also, females and males have differences in their brain’s appearance. Females have a higher percentage of grey matter brain tissue packed with neurons and fast blood flow. Whereas males have more white matter tissue and nerve fibers that are insulated by protein called myelin. Also, men have more grey matter in the left hemisphere and females do not. Since the brain reflects learning and other experiences it is possible that sex differences in the brain are influenced by the difference in life experiences that are typical for women and men.
- How can we help more women excel in science?
Well, it clear that males and females can excel in science. Even if males do score better in math and science, females are still fully capable of it. I think that females should not determine their career choice from their SAT score. If they like science and do good in class, I don’t think they should give up because of that. Women could also excel by, getting targeted mentoring, career guidance, innovations in education, take out discrimination and inequality. I also think it has to do with the equal opportunities for men and women role. They say that sex discrimination is gone but is it really? I feel like males will still get picked over a female for a scientific job. Another thing that would help women is excel is the support from their families.
Especially their spouse if they have kids. In a normal household, the women spend more time doing household chores. So, they spend less time working on their career. If their spouse was to help them more around the house and with the kids, they could focus more on school or their career if they are done with school. And be able to get the extra help they need in science/ math to excel. Yes, it might be harder to accomplish but if they really want to go down that career path then I know a female could.
- Interesting and relevant to my life
I thought the whole article was quite interesting, I never really thought there was studies behind men and women with math and science. But it makes perfect sense. In my life it reminds me of me of my brother and I. He is so incredibly smart at math and science and enjoys them. Then there is me, I struggle with math and science. I always have. I never understood how it came to my brother so easy. We went to the same schools and had the same teachers. Plus, our parents taught us the same with each subject. He is 2 years younger than me and he would help me with my math and science homework that he never learned before and would still know how to get the answer and I wouldn’t.
We would get paid for our grades and I tried so hard in my math in science class, harder than my brother ever had too, but I still didn’t get as good of grades as him so he would get more money. I thought it was always so unfair because I tried harder than him all semester. So, it makes perfect sense to me now. It isn’t that he’s smarter than me. It is just that our brains are different. I am defiantly more of a “housewife” type female. I like taking care of people and keeping up with house work. I am going to school in the medical industry (like a typical female). I am pregnant with my first baby, now. This information will help me understand how boys/ girls learn differently with my baby as he/she grows up. I also thought it was interesting that female and male brains are different. I always thought they were the same. So, I learned something new today.