Friday, November 11, 2011

We already know the answer

It was supposedly a great societal problem and proof of discrimination against women when women made up less than half the college population. Strangely, the current sexual imbalance doesn't appear to be indicative of either a problem or discrimination against men.
INCREASING the number of women in science and technology has been an important goal for universities and industries, and substantial progress has surely been made. More women than ever major in so-called STEM fields. Still, women earn only 17 to 18 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in engineering and computer science, and just over 40 percent in the physical sciences and math. Where are the women? Clustered in the life sciences. About 58 percent of all bachelor’s, master’s and doctorates in biology are awarded to women.
If it is a problem that there is a 10 percent shortfall in the number of female physical science and math degrees, why is it not a problem that there is an eight percent shortful in the number of male biology degrees. Or the thirty percent shortfall in the number of male sociology degrees? Surely society requires more male sociologists!

8 comments:

The LP 999/Linda said...

Haha. Great, as if we needed more ineffectual degreed female experts in math, science and other complex sciences.

Eric Mueller said...

That's assuming society requires any sociologists. Hopefully the current "shake up" in the economy will lead to a decline in "soft" studies. I never could figure out how one is supposed to earn a living with a women's studies, gay studies, minority studies, or even some obscure history degrees unless one intends to be a college professor and teach in that department. But surely that will reach saturation at some point.

Flannel Avenger said...

Never mind the field of Veterinary Medicine...

RVT said...

If some of the women are black, that counts double. So the STEM gap might not be so dire as it seems.

Astrosmith said...

If women are earning 17-18 percent of the degrees in engineering, those women are going to be getting over half of the promotions and opportunities for advancement in their careers!

We have a new PM this year at work, and when she came on the program, she gave us an overview of her career. She seems to have been the beneficiary of a great number of good opportunities over the years, so far culminating in her being the PM of a major program. I sat there listening to her just amazed at how she could have gotten these opportunities when I got nothing but the shaft from my managers for the first several years of my career. I'm just the wrong color and gender, I suppose.

Vespasian said...

Here is a talk from TED detailing some of the statistics concerning male academic and social performance.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/zimchallenge.html

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