We've come a long way since Immanuel Kant stated that "women might as well have beards rather than trouble their pretty little heads about mathematics." A new study found that girls actually score higher than boys in mathematics until age 13. Only then do boys, whose skills accelerate more rapidly, gain a slight edge.
Erin Leahey, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that at the end of high school, boys' math scores surpass those of girls by no more than 1.5 percent. The scores of more than 12,000 students, ages 4 to 18, revealed few differences in mathematical aptitude.
These data challenge evidence of the male mathematical advantage, demonstrated most prominently by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) launched in 1972. Researchers including Julian Stanley, Ph.D., used SAT scores to establish male superiority among gifted seventh-graders and college-bound high school seniors. Male high school seniors scored higher than females on the math section of the SAT every year from 1966 to 1997.