Skip to comments.Is Science Saturated with Sexism?
Posted on 02/15/2011 6:41:15 AM PST by FreeManDC
The voice of reason is easy to shout down but hard to vanquish altogether. This week it turned up in an unlikely place: an academic paper about gender bias in the sciences. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a coolly objective paper on the hot, politicized subject of bias against women in academic science.
In Understanding Current Causes of Womens Underrepresentation in Science, Cornell professors Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams provide a thorough analysis and discussion of 20 years of data. Their conclusion: When it comes to job interviews, hiring, funding, and publishing, women are treated as well as men and sometimes better. As Williams told Nature, There are constant and unsupportable allegations that women suffer discrimination in these arenas, and we show conclusively that women do not. Put another way, the gender-bias empress has no clothes.
For more than a decade, passionate activists in groups such as the American Association of University Women, the National Council for Research on Women, and the Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science have insisted that women scientists are victims of pervasive sex discrimination, and they have produced a mountain of advocacy research to prove it.
But many scholars have questioned the cogency of their studies, most recently in a 2009 article entitled Gender Difference at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering and Mathematics Faculty, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and in a 2009 collection that I edited, The Science on Women in Science. But the NSF authors and other critics proved no match for the womens groups, who ignored the evidence and aggressively promoted their own agenda through government lobbying and a mystifying number of conferences, retreats, and summits.
Ceci and Williamss new article will be impossible to ignore. The featured article in one of sciences premier journals, it is a systematic demolition of most of the studies that sustain the science wing of the gender-bias movement. Celebrated bias research including a much-vaunted 1997 Swedish study alleging massive discrimination in peer review is shown to be seriously flawed, marginal, and superseded by larger, more sophisticated analyses showing no bias, or occasionally, bias in favor of women.
What is more, Ceci and Williams demonstrate that the real problem most women scientists confront is the challenge of combining motherhood with a high-powered science career. This issue, they say, will never be solved by the misplaced focus on discrimination.
But a misplaced focus on discrimination is now the law of the land. At the behest of the womens groups, Congress held several hearings throughout the last decade on the crisis of sexism in the sciences. Scholars like Ceci and Williams played no role only true believers were brought in as expert witnesses. Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), an early convert to the view that American science is saturated with sexism, was successful in bringing the Title IX equity program into the science lab.
The most common misconception about Title IX is that it applies only to sports, said Wyden in 2005. Thats just not true. . . . Title IX should be a guiding principle in hiring, tenure, scholarships, and lab space for all scholars. By the late 2000s, Wydens vision had prevailed: Wide-ranging Title IX investigations were underway.
Members of Congress, from both parties, also gave strong support to a hard-hitting NSF equity program called ADVANCE. ADVANCE has awarded millions of dollars to activist scholars in universities for anti-bias centers, workshops, tutorials, and interactive theater groups. To cite just one example, gender activists at the University of Californias Hastings College of Law were awarded a $300,000 grant to develop Gender Bias Bingo, an online game that raises players consciousness about the four patterns of gender bias. But if Ceci and Williams are right, the premise behind all of this taxpayer-funded agitation from games and skits to Title IX investigations is false.
Congress should hold hearings on the merits of continuing to spend hundreds of millions on Title IX science reviews and the ADVANCE grants. This time skeptics like Ceci and Williams must be included. It is hard to see how the gender-bias empire will stand once reason and truth are given a place at the table.
Sexism - Debatable.
Fraud - Definitely.
i’m sure marie curie would agree... /sarc
Sat in the back yesterday at a NASA brainstorming session. One female PhD spoke up:
“We focus too much on the left side of the brain, what do you think we propose a bold move to appeal to the right side of the brain?”
“What do you have in mind?”
“We should do something like sponsor a poetry reading, or a poetry contest.”
I kid you not.
Give people power and a bunch of white lab coats and, sure, there’s going to be sexism, some of it quite overt. I’ve spent most of my adulthood in computer-related fields and it is obvious there too.
But I would submit that it may just be natural. Women aren’t attracted to science as much as men because the pursuit of true science seems somewhat cold and sterile. Facts don’t change just because you want them to (as opposed to junk science and climate change, which is another story). Most women (not all) would rather exist in a field where there are choices and she can choose the facts she likes best.
Those women who truly want to study and learn science should be encouraged to do so but I expect there will always be a disparity between the percentage of male scientists and female scientists. IMO, there’s nothing wrong or unnatural about that.
Or would you have to actually measure how many men WANTED to be in that profession as a correction?
As for women in science I am ALL FOR IT. Hire more, real smart ones and/or ones that look cute in a lab coat and glasses!
Dating a real smart gal who also has a degree in science. She works in regulatory affairs - while I still actually do science. Great career move on her part, but it was motivated by her interests. Bench-top science wasn't it.
Somebody call Larry Summers!
Trying to think here in the leftist moonbat mode:
Less women in science is proof that science itself is a social construct, and is a tool of the white male patriarchal oppressors. So science and technology is evil, and prevents us from becoming attuned to Mother Gaia.
Yes, I have run into some people who think this way (in Minneapolis), however, they can not do without their MacBook and Facebook and IPhone and......
Modern “feminism” is a patently false ideology largely invented by men to promote by the agenda of the left. As an ideology, it is a transparent knock-off of the race based civil rights movement. Women were drawn to it because it offered (and has delivered) economic and psychic “rents”. Unfortunately, it has also been destructive and murderous.
A leading feminist has been quoted as saying that women shouldn’t be “allowed” to make the choice to stay at home and raise children precisely because so many would choose to do so.
In order to arrive at that conclusion,
one must assume that men and women are born with equal behavioral tendencies.
When you assume a falsity, then there’s very little chance that your conclusion based on that assumption is going to be correct.
Ignoring evidence is evidence of the absence of scientific reason.
When I was an undergraduate (Geology, during the Ford administration), there was no bias against women, in fact if anything, women were far more likely to be a welcome presence than just another guy, and as such any bias might have been in their favor.
They still had to cut the mustard, though.
Those who did earned their colleagues' respect, and often admiration as well.
What I wrote was not my view, but more of an act of “profiling”, since I live in an extremely leftist area. So i am quite familiar with “postmodern deconstructionism” that takes place on college campuses and in far left neighborhoods (the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis is loooooooney). The logic itself is extremely convoluted, but the propaganda is very predictable. There are some that actually believe their own propaganda, and there are others who are in positions of authority (as in tenured college professors) who know the destruction it causes, but spew it anyway since it is part of their power trip. Much like our Alinskyite occupant of the White House.
I know what I wrote in my previous post was complete BS, thus my starting with a disclaimer. It was just meant as an illustration of “Po-Mo” bovine scat.
There are tons of very bright women out there who don't need any special treatment to do exceptionally well, and now there are few if any institutional hurdles to success that women face that men don't.
Women, in general, tend to place more emphasis on ‘having a life’ and having a family, and I think that therefore there are less of them willing to put up with the BS and politics that are involved in becoming department chairs etc. This, in my opinion is the biggest reason why there aren't more women in those positions.
I played ball, and had several friends who played in the minors. They were good, and were progressing up the ranks at acceptable speed, but they weren't willing to keep riding buses and living that life indefinitely, with only the possibility that they would ‘make it’. So they went on to other things (happily all have been successful). On the other hand, there are plenty of players in the minors who come from Latin countries who stick with it. For them, the salary they are making, and the lifestyle, is as good or better than what they can generally have in their home countries. They hang in there, and eventually some make it to the majors.
My point is that lots of things in life are a choice, and those choices often relate to how much you are willing to sacrifice, and how long you are willing to make those sacrifices.
I have a problem with people who aren't willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve what they want, but try to find other reasons why they don't have what they want, usually involving blaming others (these people tend to be democrats).
We live in insane times.
I knew that that was the leftist view that you were relating, and not your own.
And that, in essence, is the whole "equal pay" argument. Women want the "mommy track" and are willing to give up total commitment to their careers so they can be committed to their families. There's nothing wrong with that; in fact it's admirable. But the reason the "glass ceiling" and all this pay disparity exists is precisely because most (not all) women don't want the pressure of a full-time CEO career while also being a mother because they don't want to make the commitment that would entail.
I have nothing against women who want a full-time career. Heck, I'd have nothing against having Sarah Palin as POTUS. But most women want the "mommy track" and put their careers on hold (or cut back responsibility) in order to raise a family so they are naturally passed over when the top positions are being filled because they weren't fully committed or didn't want the added responsibility.
It's when they whine about discrimination but aren't willing to put in the time and commitment that becomes difficult to stomach. If ending discrimination is what they want, then maybe we should do away with FMLA since it discriminates against men.
A competent session leader would have said, "Isn't that something you can do on your own time? Do we need to be paid to do that?"
Supposedly, the left brain deals with the concrete and technical subjects and the right brain the abstract. Of course, they both are important but NASA is a technical operation, other than the reaching out to Muslims mandate.
Every time I hear about gender bias, I think of my grandmother.
She was the Tuttle of Martin & Tuttle, one of the biggest west coast advertising agencies in the 1930s.
She complained about her Mercedes “not having any pickup after 80” when she used to race people on Highway 101 when travelling from California to Washington in the 1950s.
She was later Art Director for Frederick & Nelson, Seattle’s premium department store in the 1950s.
Gender bias didn’t affect her a whole hell of a lot.
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