JERUSALEM, March 9 (UPI) -- Female interest in science dwindles in higher school grades, and it's because of social issues, not cognitive ability, an Israeli scientist says.
Girls are interested in science when they are in elementary school but that fades as they move into middle school and high school, Israel Academy of Sciences President Ruth Arnon said.
She made the remarks while addressing the Knesset Science and Technology Committee, The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.
Competition with boys may be to blame and that could be lessened by having gender-separated science classes in coed schools, Arnon said.
There were very few other girls studying science when she studied in the Gymnasia Herzliya high school, she said.
Only six women scientists have ever received a Nobel Prize, including one Israeli, Ada Yonath, for chemistry, Arnon pointed out.
Even the academy she heads is a "not a good example," she said, because even though she is president few other senior women scientists have ever been appointed to it.
Ronit Tirosh, head of the Knesset Science and Technology Committee, said there is "hope for gender equality" and that steps are being made in the right direction.