The 2018 National Geographic Bee finals began on May 20th, and are set to conclude on the 24th. Unfortunately, the odds are against a girl taking home the win, and it has nothing to do with skills. Out of the 54 contestants this year, only four of them are girls.
The competition, which has been taking place since 1989 among geography buffs between fourth and eighth grade, has only ever had two female winners in its 29-year history. And the current four female contestants are well aware of the situation.
Some speculate that the disparity comes down to the simple fact that girls aren’t encouraged to give a variety of subjects — including geography — a shot, as well as the fact that parents may not develop their daughters’ spacial reasoning skills the same way they develop their sons’ — which leads to an disadvantage in geography later on. Additionally, many of the questions typically focus around male historical achievement, meaning that girls may subconsciously feel like they don’t have a place in learning about the subject.
While we’re proud of all the smart, capable young minds at the National Geographic Bee, we’re rooting for a girl to win the title and the $50,000 college scholarship this year. Because more young girls and women need to see themselves achieving in areas and subjects traditionally reserved for men.