Science has a girl problem


By CaptainShuddup   Follow   Fri, 4 May 2012, 8:59am   7,040 views   86 comments
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No Stephen Hawkins didn't knock up one of the strippers at the Nuddie bar.

http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/04/news/economy/women-science/index.htm

"High school senior Mimi Yen spends a lot of time thinking about worm sex. "

I don't see the problem.

Though as Brational commented...

"I'm a woman. I taught biology for 30 years. I am not concerned about the ratio of men to women in science fields. I want future scientists to be people who are in science fields because they simply can't imagine doing anything else.

That there are fewer women in the sciences doesn't necessarily mean that we have done anything wrong or that somehow women are being purposefully directed away from the sciences or that we should try to push women into the sciences. "

I'm in agreement.

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  1. bmwman91


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    1   11:27pm Fri 4 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike  

    I don't buy the "boy's club" argument about STIM fields. I, and every other guy in my engineering program, would have loved there to be more girls. It was easy enough to meet them at parties & in general campus life, but it was always nice to run into a girl that could hold a technical conversation on a date (what...real engineers ARE nerds!). yeah there were a couple of sexist guys in the program. I knew just as many or more that were in liberal arts programs, too.

    I think that it is mostly a nurture vs nature thing. Girls generally aren't raised to be interested in science. At this point, boys don't seem to be all that much either. It's about sports and "making money." Anyway, the way to "fix" the lack of females in STIM fields is not affirmative action. Pushing in uninterested, unqualified participants does nothing productive. Parents & society need to make the change. No guys are going to turn girls away from engineering as far as I can tell, because it is hard enough to meet chicks in those fields as it is. Most guys are well past the "girls are dumb" mentality anyway, and someone's work speaks for them rather than something superficial like gender.

    And of course, who is to say that STIM fields are "broken" anyway? So what if there aren't girls in them? There isn't active discrimination in western nations stopping them. Science & engineering are functioning fine as it is. When society stops treating girls like girls, they will be more interested in STIM. Until then, they won't.

  2. Dan8267


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    2   4:42pm Sat 5 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    CaptainShuddup says

    Science has a girl problem

    Correction: Girls have a science problem.

    No science student has ever done anything to discourage girls from entering science. Hell, that is every science nerd's fantasy, that some girl would actually find science interesting instead of dorky.

    Girls, not science students, are the bigots.

    If you want to blame someone, blame Hollywood for making scientist, engineers, and other intellectuals out to be socially inept, or better yet, the female students for being bigots. Don't blame the male students who are performing well and being passionate about science for the bigotry that they had to endure, particularly from women.

    If you want more women in science and engineering, then recognize male scientists and engineers as the sex gods they are. As long as adolescent girls view scientists and engineers as lepers, you shouldn't be surprise that those girls don't go into science and engineering.

  3. bmwman91


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    3   10:42pm Sat 5 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Not all coding is engineering...just nitpicking. There's a difference. Lots of "engineering" work isn't really engineering as far as I can tell.

    I completely agree with your statement that, "girls have a science problem."

    Society has such an amusingly inaccurate portrayal of scientists and engineers in popular culture. It seems that it always has. Yeah, there are some of those awkward folks that don't seem to bathe regularly, wear dirty plaid shirts and can't hold a conversation about anything. Most engineers and scientists are pretty "normal" though: GASP! In fact, many of them are avid athletes, entrepreneurs, pick-up artists, musicians and other various "cool" stuff. If anything, maybe society is butt-hurt because these folks look at those activities analytically and figure out how to be better-than-average at them. That's a real stretch, I'll admit lol.

    The last "cool" scientist/engineer I can think of in popular culture was Robert Downey Jr in the Iron Man movies. Nevermind the way that various impossible technological achievements were developed in an earthen Al Qaeda cave with a soldering iron, or that a guy in a wife beater used a home-brew particle accelerator to make a cold fusion reactor of some sort with a pipe wrench...at least it made inventing science'y stuff look COOL!

  4. Kevin


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    4   11:27pm Sun 6 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Every single person I know in STEM has these things in common (well, except for the chinese and indians who's parents forced them into it late in life):

    - Lots of exposure to sci fi and fantasy fiction as children
    - Typical toys: Legos, video games, chemistry sets

    Interest in these fields is cultural, and the fact of the matter is that our culture actively avoids appealing to girls. Even legos aren't being marketed to girls anymore -- they've come up with barbie-ized versions that don't even let you build anything.

    When you raise your daughters to be princesses and home makers, they're going to believe that being a princess and a home maker is what they're supposed to do.

    Give your daughters video games and legos and I can guarantee that they're just as likely to grow up interested in STEM as your sons.

    I don't blame men for the lack of women in STEM, but I definitely blame parents.

  5. thunderlips11


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    5   9:56am Tue 8 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike   Protected  

    A Doctor is a Helping, Social profession that has many aspects that we would consider to be in an archetypical Female wheelhouse.

    One interesting question: What is the ratio of female research doctors to practicing doctors?

  6. thomas.wong1986


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    6   7:11pm Tue 8 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    Word. The women who complain the loudest about the lack of Women in STEM jobs are sociologists, women's studies profs, journalists, etc. - those who did not choose STEM careers - or even a STEM-based education - for themselves.

    pro womens rights groups back in the 60-70s wanted womens studies, minorities wanted minorities studies.. they got it ... today, they didnt do much for many...

    Now they are complaining because they made a dreadful mistake decades ago... now they want hand outs... give us engineering jobs.... well honey.. go earn one!

  7. Dan8267


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    7   2:00am Thu 10 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Kevin says

    Why, because you assert its this way?

    Those are the only two conclusions that are not hypocritical or contradicted by reality. Women have been able, in fact strongly encouraged, to enter STIM majors for over three decades. The fact that they haven't is due entirely to their own decision making, not a boy's club. I've majored in STIM. I've seen the environment first hand. I work in STIM. I see the environment every day. No men are discouraging women from entering STIM. The women simply aren't interested in it.

    Of course there are a few exceptions, but we're not talking about exceptions, we're talking about percentage. And the majority of STIM graduates and workers will continue to be men until women decided they want to pursue a career in STIM.

    So the only two possible non-bullshit conclusions are either:
    1. Different strokes for different folks, it's ok that women are interested in pursuing different careers.
    2. Women are not living up to their responsibilities to pursue STIM and it's their fault.

    Either way, it's entirely women who are making the decision not to pursue STIM and it's entirely due to their perception that STIM is for losers. That's their bigotry, not ours. And I'm sick and damn tired of people shitting on male STIMers because females are bigoted against STIMers.

    Kevin says

    A young woman who went through all of the difficulty of not being accepted by societal norms and then winds up finding out that STEM careers are filled with men who view them as inferior sex objects instead of respected colleagues is just going to turn to product management or something similarly non technical.

    That is total fucking bullshit. Have you actually been in an engineering school in college? STIM majors are the only majors that don't treat women as sex objects to be pumped and dumped. Compared to the horn dogs in business, liberal arts, and fine arts STIM majors are fucking Eunuchs.

    I lived through college years as a STIM major and I know the difference in attitudes between engineering students and the rest of the college population. To assert that women are being harassed by math majors and electrical engineers is the biggest lie I've ever heard anyone tell. If anything, STIM majors are the few students going to college to start profession careers instead of getting laid by a different chick every day.

    Kevin says

    Oh, yes, a "choice" that just happens to target very specific demographic groups. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that there's such a disparity in STEM enrollment for women in different countries, or that similar patterns in ethnic groups are also just "choice". Never being exposed to a chemistry set or a programming language until you're an adult has nothing to do with it at all.

    That's total bullshit. I taught myself how to program at the age of 7, and that was back when computers were hard to use and all text based. It's easy today with the Internet and all of humanity's knowledge at your fingertips. What, teenage girls don't have Internet access? Are their filters preventing teen girls from going to slashdot.org?

    There are no barriers to entry in STIM for women. None. You are just making up excuses to avoid dealing with the fact that teenage girls look at STIM like it's bubonic plague. It's their bigotry, which has its root in all the crap Hollywood puts out in movies and tv shows. So don't make up b.s. stories about how horn-dog male engineers rape any female that shows up in their class. That doesn't happen, and that's not why women don't enter STIM.

    And the thing is, it is so freaking obvious that nerd-bigotry is the real reason that women don't enter STIM, that you don't even have to know anything about STIM to know that this is true. It's an integrated part of our anti-intellectual, stupidity glorifying culture.

    But don't worry, there are plenty of women entering STIM from non-US and non-Western European countries, from places where Hollywood doesn't dominate the culture.

    Oh, and as for manufacturing, there are plenty of Americans that want manufacturing jobs and are actively lobbying to bring them back.

    http://www.areadevelopment.com/siteSelection/dec09/united-states-manufacturing-insouring-costs1102.shtml
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/manufacturing-small-business-revival_n_1205736.html
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devon-swezey/us-manufacturing-jobs_b_1237782.html
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0227/Five-steps-to-bring-back-American-manufacturing-jobs/Define-American-manufacturing-s-FUBO
    http://www.pri.org/stories/business/obama-pledges-to-bring-manufacturing-back-to-the-u-s-but-is-it-possible-8148.html
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/fight-lead-poisoning-and-unemployment-fire-china-hire-USA/

    Personally, I think that manufacturing is a 20th century industry and we need to dominate in 21st century industries, but there are plenty of people on this site alone who've argued that manufacturing is needed in America. And NPR just last week had interviewed people trying to start manufacturing businesses in the United States. So, there are certainly people who want to enter that field.

  8. Rin


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    8   7:05am Thu 10 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Kevin says

    The only people still perpetuating the myth of outsourcing are bitter, under-qualified engineers whining that nobody wants to hire a 50 year programmer

    Kevin, age discrimination is real, not an imagined phenomena. This is in many fields, not just engineering.

    Also, there are under-qualified 55+ yr old doctors who still have their jobs, despite being 'ordinary' & not the 2nd coming of Marcus Welby (if you recall that show from your parent's youth). The AMA keeps the number of doctors down and it's rather difficult to offshore day-to-day internal medicine & general surgery.

    One of the reasons why I'm moving into trading over science/engineering is that the money potential is there, long term, not just in that ages 27 to 45 sweet spot, as in most STEM careers.

    One should do science/engineering as a retirement hobby; remember, even Einstein was a Patent Agent.

    Would you say I'm bitter? Sure, I'd love to do STEM and be secure till retirement but guess what? I'd instead, prefer to be earning a great & sustainable salary till retirement.

  9. thunderlips11


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    9   8:09am Thu 10 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike   Protected  

    The story of David Reimer, the boy who was raised as a girl, Brenda, after a botched circumcision (due to equipment malfunction and NOT performed by a Mohel). He was given hormone therapy and genital changing surgery starting in infancy, while monitored throughout his childhood by a Blank-Slater Psychologist named Dr. Money.

    It didn't succeed.

    http://documentarystorm.com/dr-money-and-the-boy-with-no-penis/

  10. New Renter


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    10   7:40pm Fri 4 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    For once I am with you. There is NO shortage of scientists in this country, male or female, there hasn't been since the 60's if even then. If there was you'd see a LOT more campus recruiting, flexibility in what employers are willing to accept, on the job training, higher overall pay, starting bonuses, etc.

    This is not to say kids should not be encouraged to study science, just don't let them make careers out of it.

  11. Danaseb


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    11   7:45pm Fri 4 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The men of the field, would not be men of science if they let their gut feeling exclude qualified and smart people.

    But there IS problem, one that is not fixed by the usual methods of force equality.

    The problem is our society teaches women to be insipid. A girls social front line such as adult family members and female friends will instill shame for showing any aptitude for anything that is not stereotypically female. Growing up female you are bombarded subliminally to repress critical thinking and be just as dumb as everyone else. At school you are expected to get straight A's, but it's only okay to make a career out of it if you still make time for grandchildren and take care of grandpa and grandma

    Not always the case, but for three out of four girls it usually is.

  12. New Renter


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    12   10:14pm Fri 4 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Danaseb says

    The men of the field, would not be men of science if they let their gut feeling exclude qualified and smart people.

    Hiring decisions are not always made by "men of science".

  13. New Renter


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    13   4:22pm Sat 5 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    bmwman91 says

    it was always nice to run into a girl that could hold a technical conversation on a date (what...real engineers ARE nerds!).

    Yes, I know - I married one :) Of course that means our dinner conversations usually involve materials characterization experiments and bioanalytical instruments. For some reason we don't get invited to too many dinner parties anymore....

    Seriously though in most companies I have worked in I've seen my fare share of women scientists, especially in the biological sciences. One problem is most science jobs are not anywhere near 9-5 and put a big strain on the family life. Couple that with long commutes and the potential decade or more lost in graduate school + post docs and its no wonder women aren't exactly flocking to the sciences. They're smarter than men!

  14. Dan8267


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    14   4:48pm Sat 5 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Speaking of engineering:
    The engineer drop-out problem and yet engineers are still treated like crap and companies outsource any engineering job they can because "any monkey can code". Either engineering is hard or any monkey can code. You can't have it both ways.

  15. Dan8267


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    15   1:13am Sun 6 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    bmwman91 says

    Society has such an amusingly inaccurate portrayal of scientists and engineers in popular culture. It seems that it always has.

    Personally, I'm just sick and tired of idiots blaming men for there being few women in science and engineering when the men are the real victims of bigotry. It was the same in the politically correct 1990s. None of the articles talking about the dearth of women in engineering and science would dare mention that it was because high school and college aged women looked down at math, science, engineering, and those who excelled at those subjects. That's the real reason there are few women in science and engineering. Always has been.

  16. Eliza


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    16   10:29pm Sun 6 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    For whatever reason, girls in mixed gender schools start falling behind in math around middle school. Girls in all-girl environments do not fall behind. Whatever it is that happens to girls in mixed gender environments at that age, that's the problem.

  17. Dan8267


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    17   3:45am Mon 7 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Kevin says

    When you raise your daughters to be princesses and home makers,

    Nobody raises their daughter to be a home maker.

    Kevin says

    Give your daughters video games and legos and I can guarantee that they're just as likely to grow up interested in STEM as your sons.

    Give your son a barbie and he'll use his T-Rex figure to tear it limb from limb and eat it. Some things are biological. You can't turn boys into girls or girls into boys by giving them the right toys.

    If you want more people, particularly females, to enter science and engineering, then the following must be done.

    1. Scientists and engineers should be respected in the same way that so-called "pillars of the community" are. They should be respected as much as doctors, lawyers, athletes, and the military. Who wants to go into a profession that is sneered at by society?

    2. The stereotypes of socially inept math, science, and engineering nerds must be vanquished once and for all.

    3. Stop outsourcing. If there isn't a market for engineers, they will not be graduates in the field. No one wants to enter a field that is being relocated to China and India. That's why no one today goes into manufacturing. People choose their careers based on what they see as a sustainable job market.

    Kevin says

    I don't blame men for the lack of women in STEM, but I definitely blame parents.

    Why doesn't anyone blame the women? If women are suppose to be carrying their fair share of the scientific and engineering work, then who is deciding to keep them out of these fields? Only themselves. The women everyone complains aren't being engineers are the ones actively choosing not to be engineers. But I guess it's not politically correct to put the blame where it really belongs.

    Either accept that women as a whole aren't as interested in math, science, and engineering as men are and that's ok, or blame the women themselves for not pursuing these fields because it's not ok. Women have been free to choose their careers for decades. It's a lie to blame anyone else for their career choices. Either accept the women's choice or bitch to them about it. Don't blame anyone else but the decision maker.

    Personally, I don't give a rat's ass whether or not women choose to enter one field or another. We aren't encouraging women to be coal miners even though that field is dominated by men. I say let women do for a living whatever they want, but don't bitch and moan when women tend to prefer some fields over others and those fields aren't the ones you want them to pick. They are adults and should decide for themselves what they are interested in doing for a living.

  18. thomas.wong1986


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    18   12:29am Tue 8 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Kevin says

    Interest in these fields is cultural, and the fact of the matter is that our culture actively avoids appealing to girls. Even legos aren't being marketed to girls anymore -- they've come up with barbie-ized versions that don't even let you build anything.
    When you raise your daughters to be princesses and home makers, they're going to believe that being a princess and a home maker is what they're supposed to do.

    Thats why they grow up being Doctors, Accountants, Lawyers, Investment Bankers...

    The girls figured out very early why Barbie dolls was wearing Gucci, living in Malibu, and were driving a Vettes, certainly wasnt going to be from being a engineer... they learned to get a real job!

  19. thomas.wong1986


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    19   12:33am Tue 8 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Dan8267 says

    2. The stereotypes of socially inept math, science, and engineering nerds must be vanquished once and for all.

    Good Luck on that one!

  20. thunderlips11


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    20   8:51am Tue 8 May 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    Dan8267 says

    The women everyone complains aren't being engineers are the ones actively choosing not to be engineers.

    Word. The women who complain the loudest about the lack of Women in STEM jobs are sociologists, women's studies profs, journalists, etc. - those who did not choose STEM careers - or even a STEM-based education - for themselves.

    There are apparently hard-wired difference in men and women when plotting paths and navigating. This may give men a leg up in certain fields where abstracting time, space, and distance in the mind is a key factor (like engineering or cartography or plain old map reading).
    http://psychology.illinoisstate.edu/cbs/readings/saucier_et_al_2002.pdf

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