For many years the view has been that there exists great difference between the academic performance of between men and women, and especially within the areas of science and mathematics. Spelke (2005) reports that few women show the talents required in the fields of science and mathematics, therefore there are fewer women within these fields. A recent review found that women in science, engineering, and technology are less likely to obtain tenure (29% of women compared to 58% of men in full-time, ranked academic positions at 4-year colleges) and are less likely to achieve the rank of full professor (23% of women compared to 50% of men; (Ginther and Kahn, 2006). The social cultural factors influence the differences in performance of boys and girls in mathematics and science education.
The society has a strong influence on how men and women perform in science and mathematics because it defines what role, duty or assignment is to be fulfilled by each (Marini, 2010). In Zittleman (2007) states “In elementary school, both male and females report that they like math and science, and their test scores are comparable. Yet by the 12th grade, females report less positive attitudes and consider math and science harder subjects than do boys” (pg. 77). According to West and Zimmerman (2007), it is the aspect of men and women doing gender roles and trying to accomplish gender that gives the differences in achievement in mathematics. The aspect of trying to be gender gives the men and women the ability to develop competencies and realize productiveness that is based on the social constraints. The social structure drives humans to have a perception, interactions, and achievements that are based on social complexities. This social aspect influences the unconscious decision by many women to leave science and mathematics careers and take up other fields (West and Zimmerman, 2007).
In Marini (2010), women are often encouraged to take up academic courses and subjects that would lead them in nurturing careers of nursing, teaching and secretarial (Marini 2010). Such careers and professions were seen as befitting women and give women a chance to take care of her family. Meanwhile the fields of science and technology are left to the men, this is because they are perceived to have the intellectual capability to handle the complex mathematics and innovative ideas behind the fields (Marini 2010). According to Ripley (2005) on her article, she discussed Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, explanation that women are just not so interested as men in making the sacrifices required by high-powered jobs” (pg. 220). Summer also discussed the possibility that sex-related differences in socialization or discrimination during hiring or promotion could be barriers to female success in science, mathematics, and engineering, but he said he did not believe that these mechanisms contributed much to keeping women as...