Power Distance Predicts Gender Differences in Math Performance Across Societies
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In societies that oppose social inequality (low power distance societies), intergroup social comparison is relatively more prevalent. However, with an intergroup comparison focus, differences between groups are more salient and self-stereotyping more likely. Consequently, gender stereotypes regarding math may be relatively more consequential in low relative to high power distance societies. To examine this hypothesis, results from a standardized math exam among eighth graders compiled in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study were analyzed. As predicted, the societies' power distance predicted gender differences in math performance: The pattern of boys outperforming girls was more pronounced in low relative to high power distance societies. This effect was independent of the societies' gender equality and prevalence of implicit stereotype.
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