Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another study....this time stem

I blogged about this study before, here is a direct link:

Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science - Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams - 2010

Explanations for women’s underrepresentation in math-intensive fields of science often focus on sex discrimination in grant and manuscript reviewing, interviewing, and hiring. Claims that women scientists suffer discrimination in these arenas rest on a set of studies undergirding policies and programs aimed at remediation. More recent and robust empiricism, however, fails to support assertions of discrimination in these domains. [...] Based on a review of the past 20 y of data, we suggest that some of these claims are no longer valid and, if uncritically accepted as current
causes of women’s lack of progress, can delay or prevent understanding of contemporary determinants of women’s underrepresentation.

We conclude that differential gendered outcomes in the real world result from differences in resources attributable to
choices, whether free or constrained, and that such choices could be influenced and better informed through education if resources were so directed. Thus, the ongoing focus on sex discrimination in reviewing, interviewing, and hiring represents costly, misplaced effort: Society is engaged in the present in solving problems of the past, rather than in addressing meaningful limitations deterring women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers today. Addressing today’s causes of underrepresentation requires focusing on education and policy changes
that will make institutions responsive to differing biological realities of the sexes.

[...]As noted, women in math-intensive fields are interviewed and hired slightly in excess of their representation among PhDs applying for tenure-track positions. The primary factors in women’s underrepresentation are preferences
and choices—both freely made and constrained: “Women choose at a young age not to pursue math-intensive careers, with
few adolescent girls expressing desires to be engineers or physicists, preferring instead to be medical doctors, veterinarians, biologists, psychologists, and lawyers. Females make this choice despite earning higher math and science grades than males throughout schooling”

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