The purple and pink girls’ tee lists the wearer’s “best subjects” as shopping, music, and dancing. Beneath this list, there’s a box for “Math” that’s left—surprise—unchecked. But that’s OK. As the shirt reminds us, “nobody’s perfect.”
Of course, girls who are consistently told that they are bad at math regularly perform worse than girls who are told that they can learn and improve. Girls start out school performing just as well as boys in math and science. But by puberty, when girls reach the age at which their self-esteem levels drop sharply, their STEM scores drop too. Girls are less likely to take AP exams than boys, and of the girls who do choose to take AP Calculus, only 41% choose to take the hardest version of the test. While first-year female students have more interest in STEM subjects at the college level than men; yet women filter out of college and grad-school STEM subjects at a rate far higher than their male counterparts. Women barely earn a quarter of degrees in physics, computer sciences and engineering. And once they’ve fought their way through post-grad, women have a harder time than men earning tenure in their STEM fields of study.
But what’s to let a little thing like an entire systemic gender gap regarding women’s participation in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) get in the way of some marketing that’s “all in fun”?