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posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 12 2014, @08:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the this-will-not-be-controversial-oh-no-sir dept.

GungnirSniper writes:

"Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post has 'A message to the nation's women: Stop trying to be straight-A students.'

In her analysis of others' findings, she writes of a discouragement gradient that pushes women out of harder college degrees, including economics and other STEM degrees. Men do not seem to have a similar discouragement gradient, so they stay in harder degree programs and ultimately earn more. Data suggests that women might also value high grades more than men do and sort themselves into fields where grading curves are more lenient.

'Maybe women just don't want to get things wrong,' Goldin hypothesized. 'They don't want to walk around being a B-minus student in something. They want to find something they can be an A student in. They want something where the professor will pat them on the back and say "You're doing so well!"'

'Guys,' she added, 'don't seem to give two damns.'

Why are women in college moving away from harder degrees?"

 
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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Koen on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:18PM

    by Koen (427) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:18PM (#15537)

    Is "girls suck at math" is an American thing?

    I just corrected "quantitative methods" midterm exams last weekend, the top 5 of my class has 4 girls and 1 guy in it - and the two perfect exams were by girls. When I was a student in primary school, high school and at university I have always known at least as many girls as boys who were performing excellent in mathematics.

    Before I read it on websites, I have never encountered the expression "girls suck at math".

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  • (Score: 1, Troll) by VLM on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:34PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:34PM (#15546)

    Its a meme thing, and its false. In the whole STEM field, math is the closest to 50:50 ratio. Its closer to 50:50 than many "soft" degrees.

    I think its selective memory. I didn't like diffeqs although I found the electronics classes comparatively easy. Something like 3/4 of the freshmen dropped out or transferred into something else before graduation, including ALL the girls. ALL of them. Well, electronics is easy, so it must have been the math, so all girls must be bad at math.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Daniel Dvorkin on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:50PM

      by Daniel Dvorkin (1099) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:50PM (#15559) Journal

      In the whole STEM field, math is the closest to 50:50 ratio.

      Really? I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'd like to see the data on this.

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      Pipedot [pipedot.org]:Soylent [soylentnews.org]::BSD:Linux
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Hawkwind on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:06PM

      by Hawkwind (3531) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:06PM (#15575)

      I just took a look at some simple Mathematics PhD data and women were around 26%. Granted you didn't say what kind of mathematics degrees, any chance your thinking bachelors level?

      • (Score: 1) by siwelwerd on Thursday March 13 2014, @12:00AM

        by siwelwerd (946) on Thursday March 13 2014, @12:00AM (#15616)

        It's not much better at the bachelor's level unless you lump in Math Ed majors (which is so watered down most places as to not be deserving of the name "math major").

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Random2 on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:39PM

    by Random2 (669) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:39PM (#15551)

    American thing?

    No, it is an ignorant sexist thing. Ignorance and stereotypes aren't exclusive to America, nor the myriad of people who inhabit it.

    Now, if we could all get over this fundamentally idiotic notion that we need to differentiate people based on some aspect of their genetics, that'd be great. That would include following 'trends' like these to 'highlight perceived *ism' which likely have other underlying causes instead of some grandiose 'hate the people of group X' scheme.

    But I suppose those don't make as 'good news'.

    I don't know about you all but I have a dream. A dream where my little children won't be judged by their genetic makeup, but the content of their character. Do you have a dream?

    --
    If only I registered 3 users earlier....
    • (Score: 2) by Koen on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:46PM

      by Koen (427) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:46PM (#15557)

      Ignorance and stereotypes aren't exclusive to America, nor the myriad of people who inhabit it.

      That is of course true. I apologize if I gave the wrong impression by putting the question that way.

      --
      /. refugees on Usenet: comp.misc [comp.misc]
    • (Score: 2) by juggs on Thursday March 13 2014, @05:30AM

      by juggs (63) on Thursday March 13 2014, @05:30AM (#15714) Journal

      Be careful how you express your dreams in public.

      MLK Jr. and MalcolmX (although he referred to an American nightmare more than a dream per se) put their dreams into microphones, didn't exactly end well in either case.

      Seems there is something dangerous about sharing a "dream" that could upset whatever the status quo is at any given point in time. Whether one chooses to interpret that as enforced compliance or just symptomatic of human herd behaviour is an exercise for the reader.

    • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Thursday March 13 2014, @01:54PM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Thursday March 13 2014, @01:54PM (#15856)

      And, across the world, women are given a free pass on misogynistic things. It seems to me that most of the people enforcing the "girls" stereotypes are mothers and grandmothers. Men are not allowed to call them out on it, and mothers that do not buy into the stereotypes are ridiculed for it.

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
      • (Score: 2) by NovelUserName on Thursday March 13 2014, @07:47PM

        by NovelUserName (768) on Thursday March 13 2014, @07:47PM (#16062)

        Not that I agree, but you present an interesting point. It reminds me of the Moynihan report on African Americans in US society from 1965. The TLDR version of that report basically goes: Being black in the US comes with a host of social baggage that is the fault of the government and White people. However, if the government or white people try to fix the problems that would be interpreted as an attack on black culture.

        This continues to be a contentious subject, but your assertions remind me of the basic premise that when group-x has a social problem that disadvantages group-x compared to others, the rest of society cannot move to help group-x.

        that said, this is a complex issue and I'm not sure I agree with you that this is just a self-reenforcing cultural problem. Men and woemen are wired differently, and pretending otherwise is probably not helpful here. As an anecdote- I grew up next door to a family where the mother was very bright- had a masters degree in mathematics/CS and wanted to see her children in STEM fields. Her first two children were girls, and she made sure all their toys were of the LEGO, building blocks, puzzle type. Her hope was to encourage the girls to develop interests in logic and understanding how the world works. The two girls had no interest in those toys but were very interested in my sister's more traditional female toys. The third child was a boy and came along 10 years behind the two girls, but at that point the mother had given up on proactively teaching her children to like STEM. To her surprise the boy found the boxes of toys and dragged them out to play with. The point of the anecdote is that rejecting predictions because they match stereotypes won't necessarily get you a correct prediction (i.e. stereotypes are sometimes true to some approximation).

        On the other hand all three of those kids went on to be really damn smart (PhD in biochem, MD, MS in comp-sci), so maybe the toy training did more than it appeared to.

        Cheers

        • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Friday March 14 2014, @01:12PM

          by nitehawk214 (1304) on Friday March 14 2014, @01:12PM (#16332)

          I am not sure I agree either. While some individuals have this problem, it is not always passed on to their children.

          --
          "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 1) by dwpro on Thursday March 13 2014, @02:20PM

      by dwpro (3751) on Thursday March 13 2014, @02:20PM (#15875)

      As far as I can tell, it's not actually "a thing". Few people say something so stupid, though most of us do recognize that women score lower in math generally [nber.org]. There are differing theories as to why. I do think it's important to understand _why_ we are different so we can adjust societal norms to better accommodate those differences, but there's no use pretending like we're all carbon copies of one another.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13 2014, @02:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13 2014, @02:51PM (#15898)

      Perhaps they are 'differentiated' because due various aspects of their genetics they are different?

      That dog sure sucks at flying. Well yes he does, he lacks the wings of a bird, but lets ignore that and throw him out the window anyway. We don't want to treat him any different because of his genetics.

      The analogy above is imperfect because in this case there is an easily observable genetic difference that gives abilities to one animal over another.. why do some of us pretend that all genetic differences are so easily spotted?

      I don't understand the idiotic preconception that genetics should be ignored and we should try to treat everyone as if they are the "same".. which clearly does not gel with reality. That isn't to say that the tests to discover such differences shouldn't be rigorous (correlation does not necessarily equal causation blah blah blah...)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14 2014, @01:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14 2014, @01:06PM (#16326)

      Now, if we could all get over this fundamentally idiotic notion that we need to differentiate people based on some aspect of their genetics, that'd be great. That would include following 'trends' like these to 'highlight perceived *ism' which likely have other underlying causes instead of some grandiose 'hate the people of group X' scheme.

      What likely other underlying causes? Accusations of hate would generally be overblown, but discrimination seems like a realistic explanation to me for a lot of these group trends. Either direct discrimination or just the way our societies are structured - both of which should be tackled. The only other possible underlying cause I can think of would actually be genetics - e.g. maybe women are genetically worse on average at STEM?