Female teachers' unfortunate legacy to young girls

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Women won the vote in 1920, pushed for equality in the 60's, and today out-number their male counterparts in college enrollment. We've come along way, ladies, but according to a University of Chicago study, numbers still make us nervous.

The study, which looked at 17 first and second grade female teachers and 117 of their students--65 girls and 52 boys--found that the teachers' own math anxiety had a troubling influence on the young girls in their classes. Asked to draw pictures of students who were good at math or reading, the girls who had been taught by the more math-anxious teachers were more apt to draw boys doing math well and girls doing well in reading. More importantly, they scored significantly lower than their peers on the final arithmetic-based test.

Researchers acknowledged that young children also learn gender-biases at home, but argued that teachers are in a position to confirm or dispute those stereotypes, making stronger preparation in mathematics for teachers across the board essential.