Although adolescent girls across the world are as academically capable as boys of pursuing STEM careers, those in countries with greater gender equality are more likely to choose a job that follows their passions.

In what they called a "gender-equality paradox," researchers found that in societies with relatively weak legal protections for women and few societal safety nets for the unemployed, such as Algeria, Tunisia, Albania and the United Arab Emirates, women are more likely to choose STEM careers because they offer a clearer path to financial independence.

In countries that have strong government social programs and where women are treated as equals, such as Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Finland, women feel more free to pursue careers based on what they enjoy most, per the Wall Street Journal.

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