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back to article Study: Girls still not swarming into sci-tech, dammit

US researchers have issued a comprehensive roundup of research covering that hotly-debated topic: Why aren't there more girls in the sci/tech/engineering/maths-based world? In broad outline, the Cornell Uni team of psych specialists (one male lead author, two female co-authors, hem hem) say that the consensus of science suggests …

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Boffin

other factors?

'k, I haven't read the full report - yet - so: what about other factors? E.g., if you are the youngest child and female, and your older siblings are all male (and optionally geekily inclined), are you more likely to be a PhD in Math than if you were the eldest, female, and all your sibs were male?

It's a literary stereotype; has anyone done the numbers on it?

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Flame

FFS, it's mathS

NCR

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It may be possible

to imporve someones abilitys, but that asumes that they put the effot in. Why would they do somthing that is difficult for them? I wouldent put in that effot to keep up.

It is also a well understood idea that mens convostation tends to center around facts and infomation, where as womens tends to revolve around fealings and ideas, so perhaps women are just less happy talking about facts and infomation all the time (they find it less fulfilling as a job) than men do, so tend to drop these subjects as soon as they can.

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Boffin

Puff puff puff

I wonder if there's a correlation between pipe smoking and prowess in these fields. Or was that put into my head by the "STEM" acronym?

http://www.smokersassociation.org/images/robert-oppenheimer-smoking-pipe

It is quite a three-pipe problem.

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Flame

here we go again....

One thing they didn't seem to take into account is what women actually want to do.

Believe it or not, most women actually like girly things, such as makeup and ponies and watching EastEnders and having a gossip and talking about shoes and Brad Pit.

Most women don't want to be engineers or science boffins, those that do, do so the same as anyone else but they are in the minority. Believe it or not, most women nowadays want to stay at home and have kids!!!!

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RE: Maths

Because it's plural? Mathematics, the multiple fields of mathematical thought?

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Anonymous Coward

The reason why there are so few women in tech...

...is the same reason there are so few men in cosmetology. It isn't the profession, it's the working environment and colleagues. If engineering labs were full of women, more women would want to be there, and fewer men would. Have you ever seen a middle school orchestra? Even when picking (gender neutral) instruments to play, peer pressure among the sexes is very strong. The trumpets will be all boys, the flutes all girls. There's nothing saying one couldn't play the other, but to do so would cause problems within the strict social hierarchy between the sexes. If you think that's something people can grow out of, or be educated out of... well, blokes, just imagine going into your favorite pub and ordering a strawberry daiquiri. Or, ladies, imagine going to a football game and ordering everything drenched in cheese from the concessionary.

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Coat

could it be...

that women just don't like hanging around with the nerds and geeks of the STEM industries?

mines the one with the kick me sign stuck to it

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Anonymous Coward

@JH

I think it has more to do with STEM no longer having many nerds/geeks but all and sundry, resulting it it becoming a p*ssing contest ...

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Anonymous Coward

More of the sam drivel....

These studies are so moronic. The politically correct, feminist biased "researchers" can say what they will, but men are much better at math and pure sciences than women and it isn't the result of male bias in education. Women certainly have the intellectual ability to accel in these disciplines, but they don't. Why? Quite simple: they don't appeal to most women. Still, I have been in science and dtechnology my entire career and there has been a marked increase inthe number of women choosing these careers over the last 15 years. The only problem is they don't tend to stay in their chosen professions.

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Boffin

math vs maths

Why should mathematics be abbreviated maths? It isn't mathSematics. We don't shorten economics to econs, or physics to physs. So why should we shorten mathematics to maths? The proper way to abbreviate a word is to lop off letters from the end, not extract them from the middle.

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Jobs Horns

Maybe they want a life?

Maybe most women are too smart to put in the hours required of those geeky guys? Why should a 60 hour work week be considered the norm and why would that draw in people that want to have lives outside of work?

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@AC - drivel is right

"but men are much better at math and pure sciences than women and it isn't the result of male bias in education."

Yep - that's drivel. You have NO evidence for that statement whatsoever. And if you've been in science and technology for your entire career, you should know better than to assert something with no evidence.

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Flame

@The reason why there are so few women in tech...

That's bullshit. Even if every last "cosmetology" shop/lab/whatever was full of men i would not for the life of me chose to work there. Even the initial assumption is absurd. It's a question of choice, not gender bias or some sinister male conspiracy ffs.

Can we please lay off the PC crap for a second? For one thing no one forces boys to play video games so the argument that _forcing_ girls to play them makes them better at rotating stuff mentally (wtf) is not really an argument just an attempt at avoiding the fact that men are better than women at certain things because of the choices they make over time.

I'm sure now a bunch of rabid feminists will start quoting random numbers and using the argument that if women aren't as good at math as men they are certainly better than men at some random shit as though that's even relevant to the discussion. Save your breath for the scone circle, i'm not even remotely interested.

Flames 'cuz i need to get the asbestos suit on before posting this comment. Sad state of affairs really.

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Silver badge
Boffin

They've got more sense

So intelligent women are avoiding professions where after 8years in school you earn less than the receptionist at the doctor's office?

Where your future depends on one lot of politicians who believe that science is elitist and supports terrorism and the other lot think it isn't profitable.

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Boffin

Re: It may be possible

They'll put the effort in if they really want to improve those skills, or if the process is enjoyable for other reasons-- like, say, playing computer games. (I wonder if spaghetti code can be blamed on too much time spent in the twisty little passages of Zork.)

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Flame

Serious? Hell, no!

I will believe the equality campaigners are honest when they are working just as hard to get men into Home Economics.

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Anonymous Coward

Some trivial figures IME

When I went to uni (midlands, 1985-1990) I was in a group of about 40 for that year. About 4 were women.

I went back about 10 years after graduating to help out teaching in the formal methods class and found there was again about 40, with about 4 women.

In ten years no improvement. Sad. I don't know why.

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Flame

get over hating women, luzers

My daughters are ALL better at math than am I. Oldest one got her masters in computer sci and is working full time now....next one may do the same if she chooses.

Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) are driven out of the field, discouraged from working there by the pigs currently there (men); by unequal pay, by suble and not-so-subtle discrimination.

Are women different from men in the way they think? H3ll yes, and I'm glad of it. If they weren't men would still be in caves.

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Anonymous Coward

Women have different interests: So what?

Face the simple fact that most women are simply less interested in STEM than in other things. In areas where women are interested, they have broken in very successfully.

Originally there was massive opposition when women wanted to get into Nursing and Medicine, but I believe that virtually all healthcare is female dominated these days. Similar battles were fought and lost over women entering the legal profession.

Women are just as good at technology when it interests them. I am aware of several successful women in tough jobs in heavy industry, but they are in the minority. The majority are more interested in other things, for instance I am not aware of of any female high voltage distribution engineers.

Women have made stunning technical contributions, for instance Beatrice "Tilly" Shilling produced "Miss Shilling's orifice" that kept the Spitfires flying in WW11.

One problem is that when men say "Women brighten up the workplace" women hear "The female function at this workplace is purely decorative", when what was meant was "Everybody dresses slightly neater and behaves better (even if it is just to have a chance of getting of with a intelligent and technically competent female)"

Of course if we are to have gender quotas for engineering, MPs etc then we should go all the way and lock up one female for every male we lock up.

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Joke

Perhaps it's because

Women read this 'Women's Underrepresentation in Science: Sociocultural and Biological Considerations' literally

whereas men read it as 'Women's Underpants blah blah blah'

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Boffin

Re: other factors - admissions preferences

My best guess for another factor, at least within the US, is gender balancing at the top-tier universities. They're faced with an applicant pool which is now majority-female, and, just as they do for other minority groups, give preferential treatment to male applicants so as to get a more balanced set of students. This probably works wonders for gender equality in traditionally female subjects, but is one more thing that will shrink the number of women in these traditionally male subjects. (You could get around this with gender balancing by field of study, sure, but most US universities don't require incoming freshmen to have already decided what they're going for a degree in.)

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Go

I will not rest

until every job is filled with a random sample of the general population! Everyone will be assigned a job by lottery, and they will have a new random job every four years.

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Anonymous Coward

How it Works

Well, I can't say it better than this so I won't even try: http://xkcd.com/385/

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The Lou Reed principle

as in "I'm just the water boy, the real game's not over here". It ignores the fact that people have far more choices in other areas. It seems kind of dim to assume that if you are good at science/maths you only have intelligence related to those fields and have no other choices. Take a look at the wider world and the real question is why women are more attracted to other disciplines.

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Go

The Truth Will Set You Free

Geeee I wonder why???

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=6yc&q=it+nerd+pic&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=_qitSbnoFuHAtge56s2JBg&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=1&ct=title

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Paris Hilton

Perhaps women take one look

at the Paris Hilton icon....and go into another profession? Maybe The Reg should get a more intellectual and less glammy female? Gail Trimble?

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Alert

Why are they still bleating about this?

I know many very intelligent women who are much greater natural ability with Maths than myself (including my wife). The reason so few go into these fields is not due to a lack of ability, it simply comes down to a lack of interest. If anything, women often have a broader skillset (and often a greater drive than men), which leads them into roles that require a broader range.

I firmly believe that young women today have no doubt that they can do anything they want. Their biggest challenge isn't breaking down stereotypes, but to figure out just what it is they want to do.

I have a young daughter, who has the brains to do anything she wants (A's in all subjects). She has a bunch of jobs she wants to do (vet, and business exec are currently the most popular options). Personally I won't be encouraging her to enter a technical field... why would I when she has the potential to do so much more!

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Linux

Girlies in STEM

As a female engineer I would suggest the dearth of women in my field at least has very little to do with any actual or perceived difference in maths/spatial/teccie abilities. My own theory is that young girls do not tend to have role models who do these sort of jobs, so how on earth can you grow up even knowing about these jobs never mind wanting to be one.

If you have no comprehension of what a role involves, or even that roles exist, how can it appear on the list of things to grow up and become? There is an assumption by a large portion of the public that engineering (obviously all engineering roles are the same) is a dirty job. I suspect this is mainly due to the fact everyone can call themselves an engineer in the UK, from the man who repairs the photocopier to the man who mixes paint in B&Q. As a result there is no reason prestige associated to a role which can vary from hitting something with a hammer to fine tuning the guidance system on a UAV.

My personal theory is that if there was a greater awareness of what different roles involved it would demystify it for a whole lot of young boys and girls.

And since someone mentioned it earlier, yes it is a pissing competition and even if I can't pee up the wall I can certainly get your feet wet. But I don't feel the need to play your silly games. Yes I do like girlie gossips but I am also capable of having conversatons abouts facts and information, and can actually hold both in my little pink head at the same time. Mind blowing eh?

And Penguins because they are probably a lot cuter than you lot of geeks :-)

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Silver badge
Flame

Re: math vs maths

"Why should mathematics be abbreviated maths? It isn't mathSematics. We don't shorten economics to econs, or physics to physs. So why should we shorten mathematics to maths? The proper way to abbreviate a word is to lop off letters from the end, not extract them from the middle."

So, do you abbreviate economics to econ and physics to phys? I've never seen those abbreviations before.

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Of math and girls

I've seen "econ" occasional and "phys" only where it's been lopped off(and "maths" only from no-speaky Brits).

As for women in scientific fields, I doubt it's much more than a lack of interest - being able to factor gargantuan numbers in your head doesn't make you interested in math as a career. And if men are simply more likely to be interested in these fields, where's the problem?

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Boffin

@wize

"So, do you abbreviate economics to econ and physics to phys? I've never seen those abbreviations before."

Yep. Well, econ, anyway. Physics is generally short enough as is already. So how do *you* abbreviate Economics?

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