In Finland, Girls Outperform Boys in Science Testing

Here in the U.S., female students' achievements in mathematics and science matches their male peers, but only 29 percent of women actually take up careers in science and engineering, the National Girls Collaborative Project reports.

Though that may be the reality in the U.S., other countries like Finland are solving problems stemming from the gender gap in science education.

The PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) test results, released Tuesday by the The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), revealed that Finland is the only country in the world where girls score higher, and are top performers in science compared to boys.

Countries like Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Jordan, Qatar, Georgia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Arab Emirates follow close behind, with girls reportedly performing 15 points higher than boys on average in the PISA test.

Even though studies like these should help the likelihood of women pursuing careers in the sciences, the OECD study notes that there is still a global need for improvement.

"Gender stereotypes about scientists and about work in science-related occupations can discourage some students from engaging further with science," the report said.

But programs like Finland's Girls in Tech (GIT) try to challenge that. GIT is a global non-profit "focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology," as stated on their website.

In an interview with Geektime, Jaana Pylvänen, Co-Director of Girls in Tech-Helsinki, says girls look up to adults and their career paths.

"Most mothers have higher education and work full-time in Finland," Pylvänen said. "Strong role models for girls."

The employment rate of women in the Finnish labor market (68.2 percent) is well above the EU-27 average (58.6 percent), according to a study conducted by EU Initiative "Equality Pays Off."

"Current teaching concepts support girls' way of learning and girls are very motivated to succeed in getting good grades to access [the] best schools," Pylvänen said.

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