A recent study by the OECD has found that female students lack confidence in science, technology, engineering and maths, and, even when they excel, this rarely translates to the workplace, where women are still under-represented and paid significantly less than their male counterparts.
The study, ‘The ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behaviour and Confidence,’ examines and highlights the differences between grades, confidence and employment between the genders, reported the BBC.
Interestingly, boys constitute both the vast majority of the very lowest achievers and the very highest percentile in science; while girls make up the majority in between.
And, although many girls achieve excellent grades in science, the report found that this rarely translates into the workplace, where women still lack confidence and are grossly under-represented in scientific industries.
The study used data from international Pisa tests in more than 60 countries and examined why the increasing success of girls' in the classroom has yet to be followed by similar advantages in the workplace.
The OECD’s education director, Mr Schleicher, maintains the issue is not "about men and women doing similar work for different pay, but about men and women pursuing different careers". Women lack considerable confidence in scientific industries, and, even when they excel are unlikely to pursue a scientific career.
Schleicher notes that clearly culture is the culprit and not aptitude, as parents still continue to push boys towards scientific industries, while encouraging girls to seek careers elsewhere.
"We may have lost sight of important social and emotional dimensions of learning that may be far more predictive for the future life choices of children," said Mr Schleicher.