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Everyone knows that girls do poorly in math and science. Boys are just better at mathematics and the hard sciences. The girls should settle for the easier subjects, preferably the humanities or maybe psychology or sociology, better preparing them to be wives and mothers, their true calling.

The opinions above were expressed to male and female college students by both male and female authority figures and in another test by other male and female college students. All the study students were pre-tested in a neutral setting in maths, giving a baseline score for each student.

After being subjected to a verbal expression of the stereotype, the students were re-tested at the same level of maths. Every female student scored worse, often significantly worse, even those who had protested strongly denying the so-called facts that women are worse at maths than men.

The mens' scores did not fluctuate significantly.

Worse, another study, done recently, showed that a verbal expression of female stereotyping wasn't necessary. In a similarly structured study, women who were subjected to visual sexual objectification (a polite term for ogling) also underperformed on followup math tests.

It's a vicious circle, doing a task poorly because one is expected to do poorly (internalized one then expects it of oneself), thereby reinforcing the stereotype.

I suppose there is also the need to be perceived as feminine (as defined by men) and being good at maths does not come under that heading.

emjay's comment gives me hope again. read it.

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