A meta-analysis of half a million boys and girls in 69 countries has found that there is no significant gender gap in mathematics ability, reports Scientific American magazine.
The worldwide study was carried out under the leadership of Nicole Else-Quest of Villanova University and is to be published in the Psychological Bulletin.
The research analyzed boys and girls between the ages of 14 to 16, testing algebra, geometry, data analysis and number concepts. It showed, “on average across all the nations the gender difference was negligible.”
At the same time the researchers found that there was variability across nations. In Tunisia and Korea, for example, there was a large gender gap favouring boys, whereas in Jordan and Bahrain the gender gap favoured girls.
Most countries showed no gender gap, including the U.S., Sweden and Germany.
The researchers found that there is “some” association between the status of women in a country and their mathematical ability. For example, in countries that had fewer women in parliament, there was a larger gender gap favouring males.
The article was entitled, “No Gender Gap in Math,” by Christie Nicholson, in Scientific American, attached to a podcast, dated January 6, 2010.