The Math Gender Gap and Women's Career Outcomes
39 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2017 Last revised: 24 Mar 2022
Date Written: December 16, 2019
We show the math gender gap is correlated with women’s career outcomes using international geographic data on the investment profession, a math-intensive and 80% male profession. The math gender gap predicts the proportion of investment professionals who are women across countries and across states. Our results do not establish a causal relationship between the math gender gap and women’s career outcomes. However, the math gender gap as a correlate of women’s career outcomes is not mitigated by the inclusion of control variables related to female labor force participation, gender inequality measures, competition attitudes, and gender preferences. These results suggest there are societal factors that vary geographically, (e.g., a widespread belief that women have weaker math ability) and affect both the math performance of middle school girls and women’s career choices. Addressing these societal factors can decrease the math gender gap and increase the representation of women in highly quantitative fields like finance, which might help to reduce the gender pay gap since quantitative fields like finance tend to be highly paid.
Keywords: Math Gender Gap, Gender Preferences, Gender Inequality, Women’s Careers
JEL Classification: G20, I24, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation