Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Linear algebra and the ladies

by Julia Kearney

I was reading a December issue of Time at the gym this morning when I had to stop and do a little dance (no, seriously). The article featured new advances in the state of American health but one in particular meant to most to me. Girls have closed the gender gap in most middle and high school subjects including the humanities and the natural sciences. However, for years math has been a traditionally male domain.
This year, new studies confirm that the sexes are now performing equally well in math from 2nd to 11th grade. Most importantly girls are taking higher-level math classes rather than opting out of them as soon as they get the chance. While this might not translate into more women mathematicians in the near future, it’s a huge and important step. This research counters the sexist opinion of former Harvard President Lawrence Summers who stated that the dearth of high school girls taking math courses suggests that that women lack an innate ability in the math and science.
So much for your “scientific theory” Larry!


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