TTIMES WORLD: Health News Report

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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Irina Khoroshko, from Zelenograd near Moscow, had learned her times tables by the age of five.

Her precocious talent, encouraged by a maths-mad family and a favourite female teacher who transformed every lesson into one giant problem-solving game, led to a degree in mathematical economics at Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.

"My lecturer instilled in me the power of numbers and calculation, how it gives you the ability to predict things; in that sense the subject always felt magical," she says.

Now Irina, 26, is a data scientist at Russian online lender, ID Finance, enjoying a lucrative career devising analytical models to determine loan eligibility.

And this isn't an unusual story in Russia. But it is in many other countries around the world.

Several studies confirm that all too often girls' early interest in Stem subjects - science, technology, engineering and maths - fizzles out and never recovers.

So relatively few women go on to choose engineering or technology as a career. Why?

A new study from Microsoft sheds some light.

Based on interviews with 11,500 girls and young women across Europe, it finds their interest in these subjects drops dramatically at 15, with gender stereotypes, few female role models, peer pressure and a lack of encouragement from parents and teachers largely to blame.

Not so in Russia.

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