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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: 4, Insightful) by tftp on Thursday March 13 2014, @01:16AM

    by tftp (806) on Thursday March 13 2014, @01:16AM (#15646) Homepage

    I think the real difference lies in the fact that STEM classes usually have objectively correct answers, whereas things like Humanities, Literature, etc.. are generally graded much more subjectively.

    I had a HUGE problem with that subjectivity with literature in HS. My mind does not handle fuzzy solutions well. For every problem I seek a clear definition, a clear method of solving it, and a well defined solution (as much as it is definable.) This works fine for math, physics, geography, or any other study where there is always a fixed, logically provable relation between Q and A. I had no problems with physics, even in university - where some math became pretty abstract []. Some devices are a puzzle, like Magic Tee [], but they all have solutions, and you can always arrive to them step by step. There are no "feelings" involved.

    Compared to that, literature is all subjective. To begin with, you have to read a book that you hate with a passion. (There are no robots in it, and no terawatt hand blasters, and no scientific puzzle - most books that we were given were all about feelings - things that no normal boy would have, or would confess that he has :-) Perhaps some learned professors, somewhere far, far away decreed that every 14 years old boy must read the War and Peace and grok all those love/hate affairs. It's impossible. The teachers would ask silly questions like "Why the hero $a fell in love the girl $b?" - the only logical answer to that would be "because he had nothing better to do and wanted entertainment," or "because he had a chemical imbalance in his body" :-) How well would that fly with a teacher? I cannot simply imagine the reasons that do not exist in (a) the real world or (b) in a sufficiently defined abstract world. I cannot calculate the reasons that the teacher would be happy with. I hated this stuff, and I still do.

    Would I ever go into the field of Humanities, even if it offered me highest ever grades and salary? No, of course not. The thing is alien to me. I would assume that someone who is attuned to the "feelings" thing may hate Hendrik Lorenz and Sir William Rowan Hamilton with a passion. It is not that simple to choose between hard math and softy, pinky, teary stuff of pure fantasy. You have to have a certain affinity to the field; without it you will hate your job, and you will have no career, and you may eventually have to "rediscover yourself" at the age of 35, with family on your hands and with mortgage, and with zero chances to enter the field that you should have entered at the age of 20. There is one good rule of choosing job: pick what you love to do, no matter the wage. Not everyone can (there are too few jobs that pay for drinking beer and watching TV,) but it's a good direction to follow.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13 2014, @01:54AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13 2014, @01:54AM (#15651)

    And you wonder why you fail! There is no try, do humanities, or do not. People who think it is bs usually fail because they really are not able to detect bs the way someone educated in the humanities can.