|Title||Gender and mathematics: Barriers to mathematical learning and the way forward|
|Presenter||Sarah Buckley (Australian Council for Educational Research)|
|Session||Gender Equity and Diversity in Mathematics|
Gender and mathematics have a controversial history, which has included the idea that because of biology women are less capable in mathematics. Targeted interventions in Australia towards the end of the 20th century aimed to address these misconceptions and successfully increased the number of women in STEM; however, current research suggests the number of women choosing mathematics subjects and courses is decreasing. This presentation will present data on gender differences in achievement, participation and engagement in mathematics in Australia and internationally. It will also use research from psychology, education and neuroscience to illustrate that these gender differences are not a function of women’s lower capability in mathematics. Instead, there a variety of contributing factors, including a lack of opportunity. This presentation will focus on factors that act as barriers to girls’ mathematical learning; in other words, the factors involved when girls have the opportunity but choose to avoid mathematics. A particular emphasis will be placed on mathematics anxiety, which is a significant problem for mathematics students and teachers. Discussion will include a review of a program of intervention research that is addressing mathematics anxiety using a psychological approach.
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