Women remain underrepresented in the sciences, but why? One team publishing in Psychological Science claims that it’s simply because women have more career choices these days.
To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers examined national survey data from 1,490 students, both male and female, bound for college. The partipants were interviewed in the 12th grade, then again when they were 33 years old. They answered questions about their SAT scores, their motivations and beliefs and, later, their occupations.
Those who had the highest verbal abilities—a group already dominated by women—they found, were most likely to avoid a career in science, technology or engineering. Given that women are more likely to have high verbal abilities, the researchers then assumed that women with high math abilities are more likely than men with high math abilities to also excel at verbal skills. With two skills sets, women, the researchers said, had a broader range of career possibilities open to them.