Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Why Men Dominate Math & Science Fields

Social scientists have studied it, lawyers have tried to fix it and post-feminist society is over it. But women are still outnumbered by men in math, science and engineering fields.

Most overt discrimination against women in the sciences has been reduced or eliminated in recent decades through legal, academic, corporate and government measures. But a climate that is less than fully friendly to women remains, and its texture is often still so taken for granted that it tends to be invisible.


However, relatively few women continue on to high-level faculty positions. In 1972, women made up just 3 percent of full professors in science and engineering fields, a figure that inched up to 10 percent by 1998, according to the NSF.

A recent study, detailed in the October issue of the journal Psychological Science, claims to bring a new feature of
gender bias to light. Women are less likely to participate in science and engineering settings in which they are outnumbered by men, found Stanford University psychologist Mary Murphy.
Want to know more?

Read Why Men Dominate Math and Science Fields
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 09 October 2007 08:39 am ET


Parentalcation said...

Isn't the problem with the distribution of men and women on the ends of the distribution curve?

Even though men and women on average perform equally, I always thought that men were over represented on the ends of the curve. i.e. more dummies, more geniuses?

Since people in the math and science fields are going to be drawn from the upper ends of performance curve, wouldn't this contributes to the gender disparities?

none said...

My husband was told as a freshman at a competitive technical college, that one-third of the class would not be there the next year, due to the policy of grading on a curve. This may have changed in some places, but the sequential learning required in these fields may encourage men's natural competitiveness to the point where women find it silly and irrational, which it is! Survival requires collaboration as well as competition, but when forced to choose between the two, maybe many men are happy to compete whereas many women will choose the cooperative environment.

Anonymous said...

None- I was told the same thing at the engineering college I attended. I am female. I graduated and many did not. However, I truly think most men and women's brains are wired differently from each other. The majority of women do not enjoy math and science. A minority of men are wired with tremendous verbal skills (like my husband), while a minority of women are wired with a "math" brain. My daughters have never had the love of science that my son has. This morning on the way to school he said, "I love this lesson on rocks that we are doing." He is 8 and has something at school that he "loves."