I'm not a fan of the 'Venus and Mars' myths. I'd say that it has more to do with societal conditioning.
Advertising is one avenue. TV shows are another. How often do we see role models for women in STEM fields? It's because men's dominance in these fields must be maintained. If women were actively encouraged to go into STEM fields, men just might not maintain their d ...[text shortened]... oles. Even so, those women who do pursue these fields usually succeed in spite of this. Go figure.
(Suzianne replied to Great Big Stees.)
"How often do we see role models for women in STEM fields?"
Two of my aunts (who grew up in a more sexist time) earned degrees in science or engineering.
Even the most sexist men in my family never doubted that women are capable of
competent work in STEM fields. The question was whether women are capable of the
highest achievements in mathematics (where natural talent may be more
important than in a field like chemistry, which more rewards sheer diligence).
I have to say that Suzianne has a rather ethnocentric American perspective.
In fact, many other societies have taken steps to encourage more female participation
in mathematics competitions by, among other things, establishing separate female
mathematics competitions (rather like separate female chess competitions).
This practice began in China and has even spread to Europe.
"this country [USA] did not have a strong math culture. The European settlers who
established the first schools were far more focused on literacy for the good of
one’s soul than on numeracy. Math was seen as necessary only for practical tasks,
and it wouldn’t be until the 19th century that the U.S. produced its first internationally
renowned mathematician—the Harvard professor Benjamin Peirce."
"Benjamin Peirce is often regarded as the earliest American scientist whose research
was recognized as world class. He was an apologist for slavery, opining that it
should be condoned if it was used to allow an elite to pursue scientific enquiry."
To this day, disproportionately many of the top American mathematicians are
immigrants or from immigrant families (largely non-white).
"This also appears to be the case in certain populations in the U.S. immigrants
from China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Iran, to name a few, tend to encourage
their girls into mathematical professions, like STEM or medicine, particularly if their
children are first-generation citizens."
One reason is that these non-white immigrant families hope that their children will
experience less racism because STEM fields may be more objectively evaluated.