Why are there still so few women in science?

Thoughtful read. Important issue.



  • jimothyGator

    Do we need to be concerned? Is it necessarily a problem?

    Do we fret, “Why are there still so few men in nursing (89% female)?” or social work (78% female)?

    • Jorge Santos

      I haven’t read the article yet but I guess that’s the point of it, no? Finding out if we need to be concerned.

    • Moeskido

      Yes, we need to be concerned. Continuing bias is a problem. Unless your gender benefits from that bias, in which case you personally have nothing to be bothered about.

      • jimothyGator

        Why do you assume it’s an issue of bias and not preference?

        There’s probably a mixture of both, to be honest. I imagine that a female auto mechanic may be given a rough time. But I also know that not as many women are interested in being auto mechanics as men, and I don’t think it’s fear of being given a rough time that keeps most of them away.

        There’s nothing wrong at all at having different interests.

        • Moeskido

          There’s nothing wrong with having different interests, as long as you were raised to understand you were allowed to choose from any of them. How many little girls are given toy trucks or construction sets to play with?

          Cultural bias guides preferences. You’re assuming total freedom of choice where it often doesn’t exist.

          This happens to a degree with boys, too. If a male child is raised in an environment where he’s constantly told he’s too stupid to do math, he’ll probably not do as well in math. But thirty years later, he might be calculating sports statistics like a professional. He possibly could have gone into science or engineering, but instead now does work he has to pretend an interest in.

          The point is, this is much more pervasive for women and girls. Read the linked article.

    • Drew Pitchford

      I really don’t think so. At least in America, if you want to be a programmer (or IT person or garbage man or whatever), you can be. Fact is most women aren’t into it for whatever reasons. That’s fine. It’s just as sexist to say “Your gender MUST be in this occupation so we can have 50/50 gender split” as it is to say “Your gender CANNOT be in this occupation because (insert some stupid reason)” People need to do what they are passionate about and other people need to quit telling them they “can’t” do it and quit telling them they “should/must” do it.

      • Moeskido

        “…most women aren’t into it for whatever reasons.”

        Casual evasion of the problem. Rugged self-reliance will triumph over cultural bias!

        Try reading the linked article. Try to imagine being ridiculed or sidelined — from childhood through retirement — even though you’re perfectly capable of doing good work.

    • Canucker

      Yes it is a problem. There are lots of female students in science but they slowly drop out as the positions become more senior. Is that due to them losing interest or are there other pressures? In my line of work (biomedical research), there are systemic issues that make it harder for women to continue compared to men that have nothing to do with their talent.

  • Moeskido

    Excellent article.

  • MichaelQ

    So if Gizmodo or Mashable spread an article over 10 pages, its for pumping up page views and ads?

    But if the New York Times does it – its for readability and science?

    • Moeskido

      I was able to read this entire NY Times article on one screen. What are you complaining about?

  • Moeskido

    In case you were too lazy to read the linked article.

    “Pink is for girls.”

    “Oh, honey. Stop messing around with that boy stuff. Here’s a Barbie.”

    “Why are you wasting your time with that shit? You’ll never be any good at it.”

    “Why do you have to be so competitive? It’s so unattractive.”

    “I don’t ever expect the girls in this class to understand trig.”

    “Yes, your work is exemplary, your qualifications are in order, but we have another candidate who’s fairly mediocre but male, and we can give him better funding and a higher salary.”

    “Why should I give her the job? She’ll only get pregnant and leave.”