9.18.2006

A break from Torah to talk about gender and the sciences

Actually, it's too late, and I'm too tired, to do much talking. But here is an article from today's New York Times that covers a report recently released by a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences about why women are underpresented in all sciences in higher education despite having earned a relatively large percentage of PhDs over the past thirty years. There wasn't much data in the article, and I guess anyone can convene a panel of any number of "experts" and declare anything.

I would be interested to know how making the workplace more "family-friendly" would impact employee productivity, especially the productivity of women. I would also be interested in how it would affect the overall health and well-being of America's families, and the impact that that would have on education, domestic violence, and other social and criminal issues.

1 comment:

David said...

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, I took a really, really hard math class taught by Dr. Brin (father of the google guy). 43 students started, of whom 3 were female. 17 finished, of whom 3 were female. 5 went on to the next semester, of whom 3 were female.

My anecdotal lesson from this? Very few women are interested in higher math, but those who are are very good at it.

The article mentions stripping names from journal submissions - that's a "duh" kind of thing to do, and in fact many journals already do such a thing today - not for reasons of gender bias, but undifferentiated bias...

Other than that, however, I am hard pressed to think of institutional changes which make a whole hell of a lot of sense - academia is already about as family-friendly a place as I can imagine (I have an uncle who's a professor, and despite his claims of how hard he works, inherently he has an amazingly flexible schedule). The NYT article was remarkably thin on specifics...