I would like to add my 2 bits coming from personal experiences. I was not surprised by the outcome at all and was very distressed at the conclusions that it drew especially concerning women in math. Too many people, and especially teenage girls, believe that math is some kind of inherited genetic trait. As though researchers will someday identify a "calculus" gene and those that have it get the A's in class.
The study suggests that while many girls have exceptional talent in math — the talent to become top math researchers, scientists and engineers — they are rarely identified in the United States.
If this is so, how can it be explained that a country like highly ranked Bulgaria (highly ranked in the prestigious math competition International Olympiad) has sent twice the number of female participants to the top math competition in the world as the US? This isn't to say that math may come easier to some than others but EVERYONE, even the smarties, need to practice!
By comparison, relatively small Bulgaria has sent 21 girls to the competition since 1959 (six since 1988), according to the study, and since 1974 the highly ranked Bulgarian, East German/German and Soviet Union/Russian IMO teams have included 9, 10 and 13 girls respectively. “What most of these countries have in common,” the study says, “are rigorous national mathematics curricula along with cultures and educational systems that value, encourage and support students who excel in mathematics.”You can find the actual study here in .pdf.