The Myth of the Gender Ability Gap

While the world argues over the cause of the gender achievement gap in math and science, it’s interesting that at RSM there is no gap. There has never been one in fact. Our female students are and have been on completely equal intellectual footing as their male peers.

True, our success lies partially in the quality of our teachers. In January 2010, the associated press reported, “A study of first and second graders suggests: female elementary school teachers who are concerned about their own math skills could be passing that along to the little girls they teach.”At RSM, while many of our teachers are women, they have absolutely no concern about their own math skills. On the contrary, they embrace and enjoy the subject. They use it to empower themselves.

Still, I find it hard to believe that elementary school teachers are the dominant cause of the problem. From my experience, it is mothers – not teachers – who have the greatest effect on their children’s intellectual development. Mothers who have a passion for math always find a way for their children to love it. Whether enrolling them in extracurricular programs, or playing math games at home, they make sure to develop a sustained interest and knowledge in their children.

The same correlation is true for those mothers who either don’t feel that math is important or are burdened with their own anxieties toward the subject. At RSM we have an average retention rate of 87%. In the majority of cancellation cases, it is the mother who is not supportive, for whatever reason, of her children attending the school. Through their apathy or fear, these mothers assure their children that their lives will be perfectly successful without the knowledge of math.

As mothers, we have a unique opportunity. From my point of view, if we raise women who are mathematically competent, we have the potential to completely erase the math issue in our society. These women will go on to be mothers who will not settle for anything less than a solid mathematical education for their children.

It was my goal with this newsletter to introduce you to a few remarkable women in the RSM community, who through their work have proven that the fields of math and science are equally achievable for either gender.

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By: Mrs_Rifkin   Mrs_Rifkin

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