Fail Your Way to the Top Essay

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The gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) has been an enduring problem, and new research shows that the gap is widening. Washington Post Op-Ed writer Catherine Rampell discusses one potential reason for this in her article, “Women should embrace the B’s in college to make more later”. The author presents her case based on new research showing that women in fact hate getting B’s. Rampell’s thesis positions that women are selling themselves short by fixating on grades (1). If women’s grades decline in STEM, economics, or other quantitative fields, women often switch majors to pursue more forgiving humanities degrees. However, since STEM majors usually command the highest median salaries, women are missing out on future earning potential (10). To that end, in “Embrace the B’s”, Catherine Rampell uses research studies to evoke her audience’s thoughts and attitudes toward affecting change in these disciplines, while continuing the larger conversation regarding gender inequality. First, the author helps readers consider a new perspective on the gender gap through the research she gathers. Rampell begins by citing a 2010 study of grading data showing that science departments tend to grade lower on average than humanities departments (2). She then follows with two new studies out of Harvard and Duke. The Harvard study examines the likelihood of females dropping out of economics degrees as grades in those classes fell, as compared with their male counterparts. The results show that women receiving B’s are twice as likely to drop out as women receiving A’s, whereas men receiving B’s or even C’s are no more likely to drop out than men receiving A’s (para 4). Next, the Duke study examines the “leaky pipeline” for women in STEM fields (para 6). More women enroll than end up graduating in these majors, even though they enter college as

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