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Home > 10 Key Areas of Title IX > Math and Science

Math and Science

Before Title IX

The widely held stereotype was that girls didn't like math and science—and therefore couldn't be good at it. Girls were sometimes steered away from higher-level classes in these subjects and discouraged from joining math and science clubs. (The fact is, girls start out in grade school scoring as well as or close to boys in standardized tests. By high school, the numbers drop.)

Since Title IX

High school girls now take upper-level math and science courses required for math and science majors in college at the same rate as boys. Between 1987 and 1997, the percentage of girls taking AP calculus increased by 6% and the percentage taking AP physics increased by 10%.

Why Title IX Is Still Critical

Despite this secondary school gain, female students' participation rates in math and science decline once they graduate from high school:

  • Women receive 47% of bachelor's degrees in mathematics and 40% of bachelor's degrees in physical sciences; however, women are awarded only 25% of doctorate degrees in each of these areas.
  • In engineering, women receive only 18% of bachelor's degrees, 21% of master's degrees, and 12% of doctorate degrees.
  • The highest median starting salaries for college graduates are in the fields of computer science & engineering, fields that have the lowest percentage of women.
  • Stereotypical attitudes about women's ability to do advanced science are still pervasive, as illustrated by former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers's hypothesizing that women might, on average, be less capable than men of performing at the highest levels of these disciplines.

Take Action

Ask the Secretary of Education to Keep Title IX Strong in Math & Sciences
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