Girls get better grades than boys — including in science, technology, engineering, and math, new research has found.
And the female advantage occurs at all age levels, according to the analysis by Australian researchers at the University of New South Wales that was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Though the girls' edge narrows in STEM subjects as students get older and more advanced, it still persists, according to the study.
"Overall, girls had significantly higher grades than boys by 6.3 percent," the researchers wrote in Nature Communications.
"Simulations of these differences suggest the top 10 percent of a class contains equal numbers of girls and boys in STEM, but more girls in non-STEM subjects," they added.
Researcher Rose O'Dea told NBC News that her research team "definitely" found gender differences.
"The differences are quite small," she told the news outlet. "They are particularly small in STEM."
STEM fields are dominated by men, and for decades many believed males were better at math, science and similar subjects — including former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, who triggered a firestorm when he suggested in 2005 that women had different biological capabilities.
"Women in male-dominated pursuits, including STEM, face a paradox: If they conform to gender stereotypes, they might be perceived as less competent, but if they defy gender stereotypes and perform 'like a man,' then their progress can be halted by 'backlash' from both men and women," O'Dea wrote.
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