Researchers have been doing some interesting work to find out my girls are less likely to go into STEM careers than boys. The NPR article is here.
This was the key finding, as I saw it:
Young girls are less likely than young boys to choose games that are described as being for super-smart kids or to describe their own gender as “really, really smart.”
The research doesn’t get into why this is the case, but the article mentions role models and the characterization of STEM fields as requiring inborn brilliance rather than hard work.
What the article doesn’t mention, interestingly, is the possibility that boys are more likely to want to self-identify as having inborn brilliance. There is an entire politics of self-definition at play, particularly with younger kids, that doesn’t seem to have been considered in this research.