This is actually already old news (it is from September 2018), but since then it was on my list of things to blog about and only now I found the time to actually do it.
There was a meta-study published in Nature Communications (doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06292-0) about the performance of girls and boys in STEM fields. I learned about it from here.
To summarize a bit the results of the meta-study, let me quote a few sentences from its abstract:
- According to the ‘variability hypothesis’, this over-representation of males [persuing careers in STEM] is driven by gender differences in variance; greater male variability leads to greater numbers of men who exceed the performance threshold.
- Their meta study confirms the greater variability (but less average performance) of men: In line with previous studies we find strong evidence for lower variation among girls than boys, and of higher average grades for girls.
- But the variability hypothesis is disproven: However, the gender differences in both mean and variance of grades are smaller in STEM than non-STEM subjects, suggesting that greater variability is insufficient to explain male over-representation in STEM.