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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Speculation of gender bias gives MU a bad reputation

By Taylor Matichak
March 15, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

David Geary, curators' professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science, believes in the stereotype, "Women don't perform as well as men on difficult math tests because they're conditioned to believe the stereotype that they're not as smart as men at math." Geary stated in a previous Missourian article that though he believes this stereotype exists, he also does not think there is enough evidence to support it.

Girls are considered brave when they enter schools dominated by men, such as the engineering school. Taking on these challenges as a woman is considered courageous rather than smart and goal-oriented. It is not only a challenge for women to succeed in a male-dominated society but also for females to gain respect and prove themselves in these fields.

The only reason women still face this issue today is because of people consistently reiterating these stereotypes into society, like this article. The media has primed society's way of thinking, giving men the upper hand of power and women the ritualization of subordination.

Professors in particular should not be supporting these stereotypes, especially when there is not evidence to support the claim in the first place. Students take what professors say seriously and derive their own opinions and views from them. Publishing an article like this, with no statistical value or claims, is a step back in the fight for equality that women strive for daily. Articles analyzing different races not succeeding as well as others would cause extreme controversy, and this case should be treated no differently.

As a female and as a student at MU, I believe this article represents the university in a bad light. It suggests our professors are biased toward gender codes. If teachers do not have faith in all of their students and give them equal, unbiased opportunities to succeed, regardless of their gender, the attempt to narrow this gender gap theory will never prevail.

Taylor Matichak is an MU student.