Biases and misperceptions at the K-12 level contribute to the gender gap in postsecondary STEM education and related careers, experts say.

More male students favor math and have more confidence in the subject matter than their female counterparts, according to a survey by the Society for Industrial Applied Mathematics.

The results show 76% of male students describe their participation in math and science classes as “frequent and confident,” while only 58% of female students rated themselves that high. Meanwhile, 83% of male students said they planned to pursue STEM in college, compared to 69% of female students.

The survey confirms earlier findings showing females are less likely to pursue postsecondary education and careers in STEM.​ Jilana Bostona, a Ph.D student in cognitive development at New York University, and NYU associate professor of psychology Andrei Cimpian write that stereotypes around gender and intellect discourage girls from pursuing STEM fields and developing confidence in them. False portrayals of those working in STEM as "nerdy" or "geeky" and self-isolating can also contribute to STEM being an unattractive career option.

Sometimes, teachers can also dissuade students from entering STEM fields through their own biases. A study found teachers tended to give boys better math grades than girls when the teacher knew the test-taker was female. When the gender of the test-taker was unknown, however, girls were rated higher.

Read the full article about female students and STEM by Shawna De La Rosa at Education Dive.