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The Gender Gap Essay

723 words - 3 pages

51 percent of the United States is female but only 34.4 percent of doctors are women. While 90.4 percent of nurses are female (“Women in Medicine”; “Male Nurses Becoming”), the women who do become doctors earn an astounding 25 percent less than their male counterparts (Groves). These staggering figures are only a single piece in the larger overall lack of women in STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which has remained prevalent since the beginning of these fields. Although women are underrepresented in these STEM fields, this is not due to ineptitude, but instead it is a result of the force of societal stereotypes coupled with their wider range of abilities. The recent increase in women’s association with STEM seems promising, however, it is not actually due to decreasing cultural stereotypes.
The lack of women in STEM fields, though evident, is not due to incompetence as some suggest. Previous scientific studies “proving” the intellectual superiority of men are shown to be based on faulty science (Gould). Gould’s examination of previous scientific studies on the topic in “Women’s Brains” truly demonstrates how the stereotype of women not being intelligent in STEM fields has propagated through early false scientific conclusions. In reality, numerous studies, specifically one conducted by James Flynn, an IQ testing expert, show that women score equal to or higher than men on IQ tests around the world (Gann). This study effectively relinquishes the myth of any intellectual inequality between genders by demonstrating that the genders are truly equal in intelligence. These studies, along with a plethora of others, essentially verify the equivalence between men and women.
Although women are of equal intelligence to men, they are urged away from STEM careers by societal stereotypes that have increased influence due to women’s well-roundedness. Society’s preconceived notions of the caring, motherly woman and the hard-working, ambitious man are the greatest barrier for women wishing to enter scientific fields. According to “How Cultural Stereotypes Lure Women Away from Careers in Science” by Maia Szalavitz, two-thirds of students who excelled across the board on the SAT were women; however only about 14% of...

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