May 30, 2008
Cultural Attitudes Affect Girls' Math Performance, Analysis Finds
The debate over why girls do worse than boys on math tests—is it their nature or their nurture?—has continued in the three years since Lawrence H. Summers, then president of Harvard University, provoked an uproar by coming down on the side of nature. He suggested that the underrepresentation of women in science and engineering might reflect innate differences in mathematics ability. Now a new analysis finds that national culture, not innate ability, can account for some test differences.