Putting a bad spin on maths

In speaking to over a 100 academics and teachers involved in teaching undergraduate mathematics we have found that maths phobia and anxiety is a major barrier to students’ learning and can result in high failure and attrition rates. Women in particular struggle to overcome self doubt about their mathematical ability.

With women still under- represented in the sciences and engineering and achieving lower results than boys in mathematics, there are many who are working to address the imbalance.

We came acrossLibra advertisement this advertisement targeted at girls, that is reinforcing the kind of negative messages about maths that are so hard to shift.  We contacted the company and their response was:

'The basis of truth for our attempt at humour here is that many people find maths a real 
challenge, regardless of gender. That said, we can appreciate yours is one possible interpretation of the message'

There is a great deal of evidence that gender stereotypes regarding maths still affects girls interest, performance and continuing study in maths. Studies have shown that the negative stereotypes women absorb about maths, do impact on their performance.

We felt it was important to bring this advertising to your attention.  If you would like to provide feedback to the company we encourage you to contact them directly.



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