The rallying cry is beginning its slow crescendo. In her brilliant piece, "Calling all Moms, stop saying that!" Nicole Bryan discusses how frequently we moms discourage our girls from pursuing math without meaning to. Kelly Wallace expands on the same, citing renound academic Jo Boaler and her experiences with "damaged" Stanford undergrads and grads - all wounded by the false assumption that math is not within their realm of achievement.
All we can think is, uh-oh. If even the most brilliant of young women - those who attend Stanford - still suffer from a lack of confidence when it comes to math, then we really have a problem.
It's unlikely that we've reached this state of affairs through any direct action. Few moms would actively discourage their daughters from pursuing a field of interest. The likely culprit is implicit discouragement, manifested as the shudder when approached with a math problem, the "ask your dad" retort, or simply the absence of math in daily life. These actions all implicity send the same message to young girls - math is scary, math is not for me, and math is not for you.