For 100 Years, Female Students Have Gotten Better Grades in Every Subject

Yes, that includes math and science

Photo: Maskot/Corbis

Why more women don't pursue careers in science, tech, math or engineering? Do the sexes' brains function differentlyIs it discrimination? Societal factors? Only one thing in this debate does seem to be clear: women are just as capable as men of doing math and science. In fact, according to a new study, females students actually outperform their male counterparts not only in math and science, but in all subjects.

This isn't a new development, either. The researchers analyzed data spanning nearly a century, from 1914 to 2011. They took the data from 308 studies conducted in 30 countries (though primarily the U.S.), which added up to 369 different samples, representing more than 1 million students. The researchers compared the students' grades, as given by teachers. The grades were from classes ranging from elementary school to graduate school, depending on the study.

Overall, the researchers found that female students consistently earned higher grades across the board. The difference between the two genders' grades peaked around junior high, then slowly tapered of through high school and college. 

The authors speculate that parents might be pushing daughters to study harder than sons, or that males and females have different learning styles. Whatever the case, it's clear that girls can do math and science and excel at it. Why more women choose not to pursue a career in STEM, on the other hand, is a completely different question.  

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.