n AfricaGrowth Agenda - What has variability got to do with it? Explaining gender achievement gaps among African primary school students

Volume 2016, Issue 04
  • ISSN : 1811-5187


There has been a global increase in the number of girls studying mathematics but women still remain underrepresented in the scientific workforce. The literature is not without controversy about why there are fewer men than women choosing scientific careers. One strand of literature suggests that greater variability in the mathematical skills of boys naturally results in a higher proportion of men among high achievers. This study casts doubt on the variability hypothesis as the main reason for gender differences. We suggest that social and institutional explanations are more credible.

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