The unfounded belief that men are successful in academic professions and scientific fields has begun to decline lately. But it wasn’t always like this. Even in the not so distant past, women still did not have the right to education. There is an important part of the society that argues that men have made more scientific developments throughout history and that they are more ‘bright’ in scientific fields, by disregarding this fact. The exposure of little girls to these stereotypes at the beginning of their education life can have devastating consequences.
According to a new study on gender stereotypes involving 500,000 students worldwide and published in Science Advances, girls believe more than boys than boys that the reason behind academic failure is ‘incompetence’. While these gender-based stereotypes have been repeatedly researched and destroyed, the new research also makes it possible to make cross-country comparisons because it covers a very wide area.
Girls believe that when they fail, it is because they are ‘incompetent’
To learn more about 15-year-old students’ knowledge and skills in math, reading and science Based on data from the 2018 Program for International Student Appraisal (PISA) survey, which is conducted every three years and includes the sentence “When I fail, I fear that I may not have enough talent”. turned out to be more inclined to attribute it to ‘inability’. While it was noteworthy that men blamed ‘external factors’ for their failures in the research, the only exception in the middle of the countries was Saudi Arabia.
Strangely enough, the research revealed that, contrary to expectations, the countries where this difference is most evident are wealthy, developed and ‘egalitarian’ countries. According to the research, 61 percent of girls in powerful countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) think that their failure is due to their talents, while this rate is 47 percent for boys with a 14 percent difference. In non-OECD countries, the difference was only 8 percent. On the other hand, one of the striking results of the study was that the difference was larger among the higher performing students compared to the average performing students.
Gender inequality in developing countries is ‘restructuring’ rather than disappearing
It has been observed before in matters such as the contact in the middle of it. Stating that they do not have a definitive explanation for this paradox, the co-authors of the study, Thomas Breda from the CNRS and the Paris School of Economics, mentions that this is proof that as countries develop, gender inequality does not actually disappear, but is only restructured.
Countries that offer more freedom of intent than a hypothesis provide more opportunity for individuals to revert to old stereotypes. In addition, the fact that individuals in these countries are more focused on personal success also causes the concept of talent to be given more importance. Societies that place a higher value on talent, by contrast, give people less opportunity to apply stereotypes.
The research also reveals a strong correlation between the idea of being less talented and three other indicators examined as a module of the PISA research. Accordingly, when girls believe how less talented they are compared to boys, their self-confidence also decreases. As a result, they enjoy less competition, and girls are less willing to work in male-dominated occupations such as information and communications technology. These three indicators are often cited as contributing factors to the existence of the ‘glass ceiling’ that prevents women from reaching the highest positions.
The authors, evaluating the results of the article, state that the possibility of the glass ceiling to disappear is lower as countries develop or more gender equality is achieved. As an analysis of this situation, Breda recorded in the form “Stop thinking in terms of innate talent,” and uses the words: “Success comes from learning through trial and error. If we distort the concept of pure talent, we will also distort the idea that girls are endowed with less natural talents than boys.”