According to a TrueChild report, the answer is “yes,” or at least that’s how our young girls feel.
Statistically, elementary school children show the same interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related topics, but by the 8th grade, girls are outnumbered two to one. Furthermore, by high school girls are less likely to take AP math and science courses, and tend to have lower SAT math scores.
The TrueChild report states that this decrease in interest starts around the 3rd grade when girls begin to “notice” boys and begin internalizing the incorrect notion that women can be either “pretty” or “smart,” not both. This conflict only continues with women who do enter STEM careers. According to a BUST.com piece on the report:
Later on, adult women with careers in engineering are also found to often feel conflicted about choosing between proving that they are “real engineers” or “real women.”
It’s a damn shame that, even now, women are either pigeon-holed into more “conventional” careers or break the mold only to be met with some form of hardship or pressure rather than being rewarded for their efforts. No wonder the gender pay gap persists. It all goes back to what (and how) we teach our girls about brains and beauty.