Biological versus Feminists Perspectives on Girls' Underperformance in STEM Subjects in Pakistan


  • Raza Ullah School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney, Australia | Department of Sociology, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Hazir Ullah Department of Sociology, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Muhammad Bilal Department of Sociology, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan | Department pf Sociology, Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Pakistan.



Biological Essentialists, Feminists, Underperformance in Education, STEM, STEM Subjects


This article outlines the biological essentialists’ versus feminists’ explanations of girls’ underperformance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Historically, except in the contexts of some developed countries, boys dominated girls in STEM subjects. Biological essentialists associate girls’ underperformance in STEM with the innate differences between men and women, whereas feminists attribute it to social factors. The issue, however, is not so easily solved and there is an ongoing debate between biological essentialists and feminists. This article, thus, engages in a comparative analysis of the two approaches, their underlying principles and the empirical evidences they use to substantiate their stance. The analysis of both approaches enables the authors to better decipher the connection between gender and education performance. This article explains that social rather than biological factors influence girls’ performance in STEM subjects. The article concludes that girls’ underperformance in STEM subjects' results from sociocultural factors.


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How to Cite

Ullah, R., Ullah, H., & Bilal, M. (2020). Biological versus Feminists Perspectives on Girls’ Underperformance in STEM Subjects in Pakistan. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 4(1), 10–18.