Vanderbilt Professor Claims Field of Mathematics Is Too ‘Masculinized’

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A Vanderbilt University professor argues that the field of mathematics is too “masculinized,” which hurts women’s ability to compete in the field against men.

“Mathematics has been documented as a power-laden and masculinized academic domain,” Professor Luis A. Leyva, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at Vanderbilt University wrote in a research paper titled “Unpacking the Male Superiority Myth and Masculinization of Mathematics at the Intersections.”

Leyva points to the difference in achievement and experience in the field of mathematics to social conditioning that leaves women behind and pushes men ahead. He believes that the disparities that exist, such as the general trend that boys perform better than girls, in the field of mathematics are exclusively the result of social conditioning. “It is, therefore, critical that scholars examine the influences of different contexts on students’ mathematics achievement and experiences at intersections of gender and other socially constructed identities,” Leyva writes towards the end of his paper.

So the real problem? That society has yet to realize that gender is simply a social construct. Once society progresses into an era of social justice enlightenment, female achievement in the field of mathematics should soar, at least according to Leyva’s prognosis.

But Stanford research on cognitive-based sex differences might reveal Leyva’s ignorance of biology. Research on rhesus monkeys revealed that to a significant degree that there are real differences in the wiring of male and female brains. In the study, male monkeys strongly preferred toys with wheels, while female monkeys gravitated towards soft, plush, toys. The research purports that because these monkeys weren’t molded by their parents or simian society to enjoy specific toys, their interests were shaped, in part, by the gendered nature of their brains.

Because of this, it’s entirely possible that disparities in sex-based achievement in mathematics aren’t entirely the results of faulty social conditioning, but rather, in part, due to the differences in the wiring of the male and female brains.

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about economics and higher education for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at


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