General Article Girls worldwide lag behind boys in mathematics, failed by discrimination and gender stereotypes – UN

Topic Selected: Gender Equality Book Volume: 432

Girls worldwide are lagging behind boys in mathematics, with sexism and gender stereotypes among the root causes, according to a new report published today by UNICEF.

Solving the equation: Helping girls and boys learn mathematics features new data analyses covering more than 100 countries and territories. The report finds that boys have up to 1.3 times the odds of obtaining mathematics skills than girls. Negative gender norms and stereotypes often held by teachers, parents, and peers regarding girls’ innate inability to understand mathematics are contributing to the disparity. This also undermines girls’ self-confidence, setting them up for failure, the report notes.

‘Girls have an equal ability to learn mathematics as boys – what they lack is an equal opportunity to acquire these critical skills,’ said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. ‘We need to dispel the gender stereotypes and norms that hold girls back – and do more to help every child learn the foundational skills ...

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