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New study breaks down gender stereotypes: Kids’ futures often determined by gendered hobbies

Pla is breaking barriers by playing football, a male-dominated sport.
Pla is breaking barriers by playing football, a male-dominated sport.

By Jackie Basile

Many often question whether boys or girls perform better academically, and some may even wonder who typically excels when it comes to extracurricular activities. But is the categorization of the two genders to blame for a recent study claiming that females outperform males in the three core subject matters?

According to a US News and World Report article from Thursday, March 5, a study from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development shows that male students are more likely than female students to underperform academically and thus hurt the future economy.

This raises concern over the often cruel gender stereotypes.

For years, it was argued that girls were just meant to be at home, taking care of the kids and household chores, while men were allowed to further their education by attending college because of their gender and “mental superiority.” Now that females are also widely attending colleges and such absurd accusations have been disproven, are women in fact better at certain subjects than men? 

Of course not.

The article details how the study showed a 19-point score difference between girls and boys in mathematics. Girls were more likely than boys to have “lower self-confidence in their math skills and (were) more likely to feel anxious about math.” It was also noted how those tendencies extend into college, as well, with 14 percent of females who began college in 2012 choosing a science-related field compared to 39 percent of men.

It is as if girls are taught from a young age that doing well in science and math is a bad thing, thus affecting their career goals. Boys who choose to major in science or math, however, are viewed as “intellectual,” and oftentimes, more worthy than girls.

This has got to stop.

The study highlighted that boys spend less time and effort on their homework due to videogames and other entertaining hobbies, negatively affecting how they perform in school. However, no mention was made about females being preoccupied with extracurriculars, as well.

Once again, boys are viewed differently than girls and are being categorized by their supposed hobbies. These norms are learned from a young age, whether it is realized or not. Ultimately, such views have an effect on how children grow up, and what they decide for their future.

Young girls play sports just as young boys do, and they often participate in the same games, especially at a young age. More and more, girls are seen breaking the barrier of sports often deemed for boys.

In Pennsylvania, for example, sixth grader  Caroline Pla has been playing football with the boys since she was five, and as the only girl in her division, 11-year-old Sam Gordon has outperformed the boys on her youth football team, according to U-T San Diego and ESPN, respectively.

A video of Gordon went viral last year, showing her dominating other players. Since then, she has been a representation of girls breaking into male-centric sports.

What gender somebody is no longer defines the achievements they can reach — neither academically nor in extracurriculars. It is important that, as a society, the value of an equal education, without any gender stereotypes categorizing someone, is taught from a young age.

Both women and men are equally smart and capable, and there is no accurate study that could possibly show how one gender outweighs another.

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