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Author Topic: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?  (Read 4564 times)

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Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?
« Reply #50 on: April 24, 2011, 11:21:30 PM »
Very well, how have you not mischaracterized my arguments? Please show me where I suggested there is an anti-white male movement, as one of the more egregious mischaracterizations I believe has occurred.

I do not see the relation of minority support infrastructure to my point: the fact that men appear to be going to college less than women and to be going into certain fields less than women and that this, too, ought to be corrected.

Further, I would be most interested in hearing what this 'misconception' of mine is. You failed to actually name it in your post. The only thing I could think of is if I'm misunderstanding your and Noelle's arguments? Unless you agree with me and I'm not seeing it, I simply don't see how my (or any) 'misconception' makes my post unworthy of comment.

I didn't say there is an anti white male movement; you're the only one who has mentioned it. The misconception I was referring to was your misinterpretation of my comments as a straw man.

Clearly people should be given the opportunity to go to college and further their education if they want to. I said that before. And the original article is about the success of the women as correlated with the gender of their instructor. There is very little said about men, except in passing as part of the statistics.

I'd ask to see where you're getting your statistics, but the quality of your last couple citations has been poor and I don't really feel like sifting through any more of them.

I feel that you're trying to make this topic about the poor, downtrodden white man who has been marginalized by anti-sexism and some sort of white discrimination. Quite frankly, this is crap. While women have not necessarily been in the minority population-wise, women's civil rights have long been far behind those of men.

No amount of squawking about how unfair it is to give everyone else a leg up will change that.

I'm very sorry, but either stick to the actual topic - which is centered on the correlation between the success of women in higher education and the gender of their instructors - or go make your own thread about which to talk about the abuse and disadvantages of the one demographic that consistently has had the most advantages in Western culture for thousands of years. You can even feel free to quote this post in the OP of your new topic.

Thank you.

Offline Sure

Re: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?
« Reply #51 on: April 24, 2011, 11:49:07 PM »
If you wish to take every post from this post to the current one and split it into a separate thread, then, I suppose that would fulfill your request this thread remain solely focused on women without stifling my comments?

Regardless, it is my belief that any discussion of women necessitated a discussion of men, since gender relations necessitate both genders. As you disagree with this idea, apparently, and it is your thread, I'll stop and try to limit myself to what I see as less than half the issue (less because of non-male/female persons).

Back on the topic of just women, then, coming to think of it the majority of people (men and women) go into liberal arts. So perhaps something about it is more attractive in general? If so, then that might explain why more women choose it, particularly if the thing that draws them is more overt or what draws men to science is less overt. I couldn't think of what it is, though.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?
« Reply #52 on: April 25, 2011, 01:06:53 AM »
I think (judging from my collegiate experience) that the Liberal Arts Major is more a function of an indecision than being drawn to it.  'What do you want to major in?'  'I dunno... I'll just take classes that interest me and go from there.'

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?
« Reply #53 on: April 25, 2011, 05:57:05 AM »
I think (judging from my collegiate experience) that the Liberal Arts Major is more a function of an indecision than being drawn to it.  'What do you want to major in?'  'I dunno... I'll just take classes that interest me and go from there.'

That's my impression at my current university, although it seemed like in high school everyone wanted to be a psych major in college. ... I don't know why.

Offline Remiel

Re: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?
« Reply #54 on: April 25, 2011, 11:42:02 AM »
Jude, I find the following statement to be sexist and indeed I take offense to it:

The two areas I know of where men are actually denied don't bother me, because women actually are better suited for those positions.  Nursing and teaching will forever be female dominated because women are better at nurturing; they just are.

I don't have any research handy to refute that assertion, but instead, I present you with a logical corollary.  That's the equivalent of saying, "science and technology will forever be male dominated professions because men are better at instinctively understanding complex mathematical concepts and spatial relationships."   Either you must accept both statements, or reject them both.  If you decide that women have an advantage at certain professions as a function of their gender, then you must accept that the reverse exists.

I choose to reject both statements.  While it is possible that certain societal expectations and norms have led to a preponderance of women in the nursing and teaching fields, I see no reason why a man can't be just as good at either as a woman.  There are male gynecologists, for example, and they are just as qualified as female ones.

Now that said, I find this portion of the original article to be the most intriguing:

Quote
  They measured, for instance, how often each student responded to questions posed by professors to the classroom as a whole. At the start of the semester, 11 percent of the female students attempted to answer questions posed to the entire class when the professor was male, and 7 percent of the female students attempted to answer questions posed to the entire class when the professor was female. By the end of the semester, the number of female students who attempted to answer questions posed by a male professor had not changed significantly: Only 7 percent of the women tried to answer such questions. But when classes were taught by a woman, the percentage of female students who attempted to answer questions by the semester's end rose to 46.

The researchers also measured how often students approached professors for help after class. Around 12 percent of the female students approached both male and female professors for help at the start of the semester. The number of female students approaching female professors was 14 percent at the end of the semester. But the number of female students asking for help from a male professor dropped to zero.
(emphasis mine)

This is a markedly interesting observation, but the article never explains or even speculates why this is so.    Why should it make such a significant difference whether the class was taught by a man or a woman?  Is it due to an inherent, perhaps unconscious bias and preference of male professors toward male students?  Or is it rather due to a factor internal to the group of the female students themselves?  Could they have had more difficulties understanding and communicating with a male teacher than they could understanding and communicating with a female one? And if that is the case, does it imply the converse--do male students have more trouble understanding and communicating with a female instructor than they do understanding and communicating with a male one?

Offline Jude

Re: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?
« Reply #55 on: April 25, 2011, 04:19:19 PM »
Reality is sexist.  Men will forever be favored for physical labor, and women will probably forever be favored for anything that involves patient/child care.  The sexes have natural strengths and weaknesses, and you can't just pretend them away by ignoring that men and women are not the same.  What's important is that we have a reality-based view, not a "the sexes are equal in all facets" delusion.  The only reason I'm not willing to say that men will forever dominate math and science is because I don't think that trend is well established as non-cultural one, but biological.  If it was well established as an unchanging part of human nature, I'd make a similar claim.

So yeah, if saying women make better nurses and teachers makes me a sexist, then I'm a sexist.  That label doesn't bother me.  I'm only bothered when my views deviate from reality.  Show me that they're unrealistic, and I'll change, call me a sexist, and I'll shrug.  The only responsibility I have to be as truthful as I can.

If you want to debate whether or not women are especially suited for careers in teaching and nursing, we can do that on another thread.  If I'm factually wrong, I have no trouble adjusting my views to better represent reality.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 04:24:29 PM by Jude »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?
« Reply #56 on: April 25, 2011, 05:18:16 PM »
I think it's unfair to men to assume that they can't be nurturing.  But that's just me.

Offline Noelle

Re: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?
« Reply #57 on: April 25, 2011, 06:10:19 PM »
I don't see where he claimed that men couldn't be nurturing or that women couldn't do things like hard physical labor.

Honestly, even if we encouraged women to go out and become construction workers and ran a campaign for a few decades to get more of them to try, I'm sure numbers would go up for women in construction-type jobs, but I doubt they'd ever be equal -- there are exceptional women who break from the mold and are capable of doing outstanding work in unusual fields, but that's why they're called exceptional and not the rule. It doesn't mean we should discourage anyone, men and women alike, from pursuing career fields they're passionate about just because it's non-traditional, it just means they may have a different path than some to get there.

The nice thing about being human is that unlike most animals, we are not relegated to instinctual or seemingly 'natural' roles, and history proves this. Women have broken from being housewives and baby factories to being breadwinners and leaders (take, for instance, Hilary Clinton). Humans have the ability to transcend societal mores and defy what's expected of them. That does not mean, however, that they are going to be universally successful. I would argue that men probably have an easier time becoming nurses than women do with becoming a construction worker. Again, that doesn't mean (and I don't think anyone here is arguing) that people should be discouraged from pursuing roles that fall outside of the box. That's kind of the whole purpose of this thread.

Offline Jude

Re: Science, Math, Physics: Where are the women?
« Reply #58 on: April 25, 2011, 09:46:02 PM »
As long as you have the aptitude you should be allowed, and encouraged, to do whatever you wish.  That includes women in physics and men in nursing.  When I say that nursing will probably forever be a female dominated profession because women are better at being nurturing, I'm saying that women have more natural aptitude for on average because it better fits their biological predispositions.  That may not be true, it could be that the perceived difference in nurturing between women and men is purely cultural; I'm certainly open to that possibility -- I just doubt it's very factual for a whole slew of reasons I'd rather debate in another thread if people really want to discuss that.