Boys vs. Girls

Math-Minded Women on Top

Somewhere, Larry Summers is red-faced. This year three women with science and engineering backgrounds were named CEOs of large American companies, joining a growing number of female executives with degrees in math and science. As an example, Forbes profiles Xerox’s Ursula Burns, who, decades ago, parlayed a mechanical-engineering degree into a summer internship at the company she now runs. Forbes compares this trend to Wall Street, where female executives with legal and business backgrounds have been "fired, demoted, or made into scapegoats in recent years." Many studies indicate that women are rapidly moving toward achievement parity with men in science and math, but these reports don’t look at the more subtle lessons of scientific training: analytical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork. And maybe just as important, because "the work is empirical and evidence-based, it goes a long way toward blunting the stereotyping of female leaders as being driven by emotion and personal relationships rather than by facts."