Girls and Mathematics. A Report by the Joint Mathematical Education Committee of the Royal Society and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Royal Society, London, 1986. 37 pp. £3.

It is heartening that girls' needs have been accorded recognition and status through the publication of a report such as this by the Royal Society. Several important themes are brought to light: there is ample evidence of girls' and womens' underachievement and under-representation in mathematics; there is no persuasive evidence that this can be accounted for adequately by innate or genetic disability in females; and, the evidence—statistical, anecdotal and attitudinal—points to a range of educational and social factors that may be causative and are certainly influential.

In the United Kingdom, mathematics is compulsory for virtually all pupils up to the age of 16. There is, nonetheless, a substantial discrepancy between the performances of girls and boys, a difference that...

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