First Advisor

Caulk, Suzanne

Thesis Committee Member(s)

Garnar, Martin


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis College Senior Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

64 pages


Environmental factors provide far more convincing evidence than biological differences between genders for the reason behind the lack of women in mathematical professions, especially at the highest levels of mathematics. This age-old nature versus nurture debate has continued into the 21st century. It has been realized that overall men and women probably have different cognitive strengths as the result of a complex interplay between nature and nurture. The biological stance currently misses the mark because the literature is plagued by failures to replicate, contradictions, and a lack of research at the right tail of the math ability distribution, which focuses on the women who possess extraordinary mathematical competence and would most likely prosper in the field. Among the many prevailing arguments for the environmental case, some of the strongest include the gender-stratified hypothesis, the high-powered job hypothesis, the gender similarities hypothesis, a cross-cultural analysis, the nature of the mathematical community, and the child penalty. Such evidence continually explains how the environment creates ability differences because of the achievements and opportunities afforded to men more so than women. The gap of women in mathematical careers is not a problem of differences in ability, but a problem in differences of achievement influenced by society.

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

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