15-year-old girls now outperform boys in science in most developed countries, but in America boys still do better. That's the outcome of a science test given to a sample of students from 65 countries.
The gender gap favoring boys is larger in the US than in any other countries tested aside from Colombia and Leichtenstein. By contrast, in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries girls did far better.
The results are concerning in part because relatively few American women go on to become scientists. Women make up around half (48%) of US workers, but only 24% of the nation's STEM workers. (STEM, of course, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.) The US is suffering from an overall shortage of STEM workers, so it would make sense to encourage more women into those fields .
However, getting girls into science at school is only half the battle. In the Middle Eastern countries tested, girls did much better than boys in science at school, but that doesn't mean more women will have science careers. To give an extreme example, in Saudi Arabia 65% of students enrolled in science degrees in 2010 were women. However, only 1% of Saudi science researchers are women, vastly lower than the worldwide average of 30%.