US Culture Stifles Girls' Math Skills
Smaller countries that nurture students have more prodigies
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2008 4:02 PM CDT
Liz O'Brien, a freshman at Santa Clara University, left, helps Gabriela Vega with her math homework at the Sacred Heart Education Center in San Jose, Calif.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The women who have won the world's most elite math competitions come disproportionately from small countries with computation-friendly cultures, such as Bulgaria and Romania, a new study finds. The reason the US lags isn't related to talent, but rather to culture. Americans don't value math enough to put kids on track for high potential, reports the Boston Globe.

Supporting potential math talents increases the number of high-achieving women by up to 30-fold, the study found. But the effect exists for boys as well as girls. Such findings should "open our eyes to what we're doing to kids at an early age" by not celebrating math as a culture, says the head of the American Institute of Mathematics.