recognition as boys’. Girls are also encouraged to focus on social skills and appearance more often than boys. By the time girls reach middle school or junior high school, many start to lose their self-esteem and are uncomfortable engaging in male-dominated subjects like math or science. Peer groups have become an increasingly important agent of socialization in most Western societies. By the age of three, children are more likely to play with same-sex playmates. Research shows that same-sex peer groups can reinforce gendered behavior. For example, same-sex children’s activities are more likely to be gender-typed than when In the past, girls have been discouraged from pursuing “male” fields like engineering, but that is changing. Here, a fourth-grade student from California looks through a thermal imager during the 11th annual Science and Technology Education Partnership (STEP) Conference. The event introduced more than 3,000 students to career opportunities in science and engineering.


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