I know, I know. This is a headline you see a lot. However, some new research may help us get closer to understanding why this may be the case.

It may be all about expectations of and stereotypes about women, according to a new study published in the journal Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Women may be underrepresented in fields that prize brilliance, something some people assume women don't have.

In the study, researchers surveyed more than 1,800 graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty members in 30 academic disciplines across the sciences, humanities, social sciences and math. The researchers asked the respondents what characteristics were needed to be successful in their respective fields, among other things. They found that women were underrepresented in the fields where innate talent was valued. One of the study's lead authors Andrei Cimpian, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, said in a statement that the data "suggest that conveying to your students a belief that brilliance is required for success may have a differential effect on males and females that are looking to pursue careers in your field."

This dichotomy is actually reflected in popular culture. A character like Sherlock Holmes is shown to be naturally brilliant with the solution to mysteries seemingly coming out of nowhere in his many incarnations in pop culture throughout time. On the other hand, someone like Harry Potter's Hermione Granger is shown to work extremely hard to achieve her intellect.

Of course, correlation does not necessarily imply causation here, although it's a commonly held belief that stereotypes of women — whether held themselves or by other people — have discouraged women from entering certain fields. The researchers are still looking into whether women choose not to enter fields where the so-called "natural genius" myth exists or if they're experiencing discrimination because of this stereotype. It may even be a combination of both.

The researchers also looked into other hypotheses about why there aren't as many women in certain academic fields. These included that women avoid careers that make them work longer hours, women were less able to be accepted into highly selective fields than men and that men dominated in fields that required analytical reasoning. However, the researchers found that an emphasis on brilliance by those in the fields provided the strongest evidence as to why women were underrepresented in them.

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