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Preliminary Notes on a Theory of Informal Barriers for Women in Mathematics

David R. Maines
Educational Studies in Mathematics
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Aug., 1985), pp. 314-320
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3482626
Page Count: 7
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Preliminary Notes on a Theory of Informal Barriers for Women in Mathematics
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Abstract

This set of papers synthesizes contemporary psychological research to identify and operationally specify major influences on abilities, interests, and skills in mathematics. Three models are then presented which hypothesize causation of the sex-related differences in mathematics that exist: (1) a four-factor model which explores mediating factors of autonomous learning behaviors which exist between socialization influences and learning; (2) a detailed socialization model of election of mathematics courses; and (3) a model of internal barriers which prevent females from fully developing mathematical skills. The models all suggest that causation of sex-related differences in mathematics are complex and multivariate. Social conditions affect the educational environment of a female as well as the personal belief system of each learner. Directions for research built on these models are indicated.

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