Girls ‘failed by discrimination’ and stereotyping in maths class: UNICEF
No girl should be left behind.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) September 14, 2022
Negative gender norms and stereotypes often held by teachers, parents, and peers regarding girls’ innate inability to understand mathematics, are contributing to this disparity.
These stereotypes are projected onto young girls and often undermine their self-confidence, setting them up for failure, UNICEF says.
The report further recognizes the long-term effects of sustained gender disparities, specifically noting how boys are more likely to step up and apply for jobs in mathematics. The finding represents a stark gender gap, depriving the entire world of talent in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Opportunity fails to knock
“Girls have an equal ability to learn mathematics as boys – what they lack is an equal opportunity to acquire these critical skills,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.
“We need to dispel the gender stereotypes and norms that hold girls back – and do more to help every child learn the foundational skills they need to succeed in school and in life.”
Learning maths at a young age strengthens memory, comprehension, and analysis, in turn improving children’s ability to create, the report notes.
Ahead of next week’s crucial Transforming Education Summit, UNICEF warns that children who do not master basic maths and other foundational learning, may struggle to perform critical tasks in the future.