Saturday, April 10, 2010

No gender gap in math in Muslim countries

Roland G. Fryer and Steven D. Levitt (the latter of Freakonomics fame):
We document and analyze the emergence of a substantial gender gap in mathematics in the early years of schooling using a large, recent, and nationally representative panel of US children.

There are no mean differences between boys and girls upon entry to school, but girls lose more than two-tenths of a standard deviation relative to boys over the first six years of school. The ground lost by girls relative to boys is roughly half as large as the black-white test score gap that appears over these same ages. We document the presence of this gender math gap across every strata of society.

We explore a wide range of possible explanations in the data, including less investment by girls in math, low parental expectations, and biased tests, but find little support for these theories.

Moving to cross-country comparisons, we find earlier results linking the gender gap in math to measures of gender equality are sensitive to the inclusion of Muslim countries, where, in spite of women's low status, there is little or no gender gap in math.
Emphasis added.

Source here, with a hat tip to Chris Blattman.

My experience is that women in the UAE and other Arab countries, given the opportunity of an education, do not waste it: the better their educational achievement, the greater their independence -- from fathers, brothers, and husbands. It is a means to delay marriage, and insurance in case of divorce.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the UAE there is a gender gap when it come sto Math and hard sciences... Women simply are better at it then us men.

We see this alot in the federal college systems, women go after more math and science oriented majors, OR the exact opposite, crap like media studies.

No middle ground. So I'm not surprised that there are findings where women and men show no clear gap in maths in Muslim countries.

And like I said, in he UAE, the gap is probably there in favor of women.

As for why women here get an education,:

independence -- from fathers, brothers, and husbands.

No, as LEGALLY and ISLAMICALLY they will always be a dependant of one of the above.

It is a means to delay marriage

Most have the GOAL of marriage, and a HUGE percentage of Emarati women (I cant comment on other countries, for them it might as well be true) are already engaged by the end of highschool or the middle of college. It's a "status" thing, Oooh! Im already taken!

insurance in case of divorce.

This one yes, and in case of death of the husband. Though once again, in the UAE, women who are divorced for the most part will be taken back into the care of their larger family. But this is a good point as life is full of BS. One should be ready.

Nice piece. I wonder if we can find some info on a gap of the same in the UAE specifically. I'd like to see if my theory is right,

6:23 AM  

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