In order to tighten the gender gap in certain male-dominated science, technology, engineering and math fields, educators must develop a more inviting culture, according to a study published in the October issue of Psychological Bulletin.

The study, “Why Are Some STEM Fields More Gender Balanced Than Others?” draws on previous works on STEM gender gaps to account for the specific gap in computer science, engineering and physics fields.

The study’s authors, University of Washington’s Sapna Cheryan, Lily Jiang and Sianna Ziegler and Ohio State’s Amanda Montoya, knew that more boys preferred these fields than girls, but wanted to understand why. Previous research, they say, tried to write the gender gap off as individual preferences and abilities, factors they found to be insignificant.

News, STEM