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# Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion

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Intern
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Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion  [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2018, 04:18
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Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion of women taking degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a new study has found. Dubbed the “gender equality paradox”, the research found that countries such as Albania and Algeria have a greater percentage of women amongst their STEM graduates than countries lauded for their high levels of gender equality, such as Finland, Norway and Sweden.

The researchers, from Leeds Beckett University and the University of Missouri, believe this might be because countries with less gender equality often have little welfare support, making the choice of a relatively high-paid STEM career more attractive. The study, published in Psychological Science, also examined what motivates girls and boys to study STEM subjects, including overall ability, interest or enjoyment in the subject and whether science subjects were a personal academic strength.

The researchers found that while boys’ and girls’ achievements in STEM subjects were broadly similar, science was more likely to be boys’ best subject. Girls also tended to register a lower interest in science subjects. These differences were near-universal across all the countries and regions studied.

Professor of psychology GijsbertStoet said this could explain some of the gender disparity in STEM participation. “The further you get in secondary and then higher education, the more subjects you need to drop until you end with just one. We are inclined to choose what we are best at and also enjoy. This makes sense and matches common school advice. So, even though girls can match boys in terms of how well they do at science and mathematics in school, if those aren’t their best subjects and they are less interested in them, then they’re less likely to choose to study them.

The researchers then looked at how many girls might be expected to choose to further study in STEM-based areas on these criteria. The results show that there is a disparity in all countries, but with the gap once again larger in more gender-equal countries.

“Broader economic factors appear to contribute to the higher participation of women in STEM in countries with low gender equality and the lower participation in gender-equal countries.” Countries with higher gender equality tend also to be welfare states, providing a high level of social security for their citizens, compared to those with lower gender equality which tend to have less secure and more difficult living conditions. Using the UNESCO overall life satisfaction figures as a proxy for economic opportunity and hardship, the researchers found that in more gender-equal countries, overall life satisfaction was higher.

Professor Stoet said: STEM careers are generally secure and well-paid but the risks of not following such a path can vary.

Despite extensive efforts to increase participation of women in STEM, levels have remained broadly stable for decades, but these findings could help target interventions to make them more effective, the researchers said. “It’s important to take into account that girls are choosing not to study STEM for what they feel are valid reasons, so campaigns that target all girls may be a waste of energy and resources,” Professor Stoet said.
“If governments want to increase women’s participation in STEM, a more effective strategy might be to target the girls who are clearly being lost from the STEM pathway – those for whom science and maths are their best subjects and who enjoy it but still don’t choose it,” he said. “If we can understand their motivations, then interventions can be designed to help them change their minds.”
Q1. The central idea of the passage is that:

a)The results of a study on gender participation in STEM are counter-intuitive and do not reflect gender equality prevalent in society in general.

b)The results of a study on gender disparity in STEM can be used to help target interventions to improve female participation in STEM.

c)Initiatives designed for improving female participation in STEM can be more effective if based on the results of the study on gender disparity.

d)The study on gender disparity in STEM results have been contradictory and must be used to bring gender parity in STEM.

Q2. According to the passage, the study proves all of the following EXCEPT:

a) Gender equality does not lead to greater female participation in STEM.

b)Female participation in STEM is lower in higher gender equality countries than in lower gender equality countries.

c)Female participants in STEM in countries with higher gender equality are more risk-averse than those in countries with lower gender equality.

d)Girls in less gender-equal countries were more likely to graduate in STEM than girls in more gender-equal countries.

Q3. The study looks at all of the following factors affecting choice of STEM subjects EXCEPT:

b)A student’s curiosity about the subject or subjects under STEM.

c)Affirmative action towards a gender-equal society.

d)Social organisation and economic factors.

Q4. According to the passage, the gender disparity in STEM participation arises partly from:

a)In general, boys show a greater interest in STEM than girls do.

b)The absence of any real consequences to not choosing STEM for girls.

c)Reasons that validate the choice of girls not to study STEM.

d)The economic disparity between the girls who choose STEM and those who do not.

Q5. According to the passage, in gender-equal countries:

a)Majority of the girls who study STEM do so because of their interest in the subject rather than for economic or other reasons.

b)STEM is a high paying career option but entails more difficult working conditions for women.

c)The risk of not choosing a career in STEM is lower than it is in gender unequal countries.

d)STEM is not chosen as a career by as many people as it is in gender unequal countries.

Q6. According to the passage, which of the following is likely to reduce the gender disparity in STEM?

a)Campaign to target girls to encourage them to study STEM.

b)Bring in legislation to improve gender parity in society.

c)Initiate reforms for the economic development.

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Re: Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion  [#permalink]

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02 Oct 2018, 18:12
1

+1 kudos to the posts containing answer explanations of all questions

_________________
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Joined: 17 Aug 2016
Posts: 1
Re: Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion  [#permalink]

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11 Oct 2018, 11:33
workout wrote:

+1 kudos to the posts containing answer explanations of all questions

Thanks for the RC's. They are very helpful.
Please provide an explanation for Q1.

I marked Option 3. Option 3 covers all the aspects present in option 2. In addition to it, Option 2 goes a step further and mentions the "Initiatives", that are being suggested in the passage. Option 2 lacks this aspect. Hence, marked Option 3. Where did I go wrong?

Thanks
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Concentration: Strategy, Operations
Re: Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion  [#permalink]

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12 Oct 2018, 12:53
Hello subhadeepb4 - Could you please post the official explanation for question - 6.
Re: Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion   [#permalink] 12 Oct 2018, 12:53
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