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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: 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.


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  • (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