Why girls avoid science and math?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Plazma Inferno!, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    http://www.physorg.com/news139840901.html

    What do you think about this?
     
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  3. CarpetDiem Burnin' hours, season days Registered Senior Member

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    The article also explains that "Also powerful for younger girls were engaging teachers and positive experiences with them" and states that 20 % of engineering graduates are women, but women comprise only 11% of workforce. I would have thought that was some progress compated to 30 years ago, when it would have been less than 5%. It's a world wide vexed issue. How do you make science/engineering sexy to the prospective tertiary student, irrespective of gender? We have a brain drain in science/engineering and yet we are creating law graduates by the tens of thousands. Increase science/engneering scholarships, set employment targets, offer industry incentives, increase salaries and work/life balance packages and promote the professsion to death as a savvy career choice.
     
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  5. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    On the other hand, a significant number of professional female scientists and engineers complain about having been railroaded into a career that they don't actually enjoy. Often when girls show some aptitude in science or engineering their family and/or teachers go nuts over how great it is that a girl is good at "that sort of thing," and the girls feel pressured to pursue it even though they aren't really into it.
     
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  7. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    Why is it such a bad thing to suggest that women might just be geared towards different types of intelligences?
     
  8. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Oh? And this has been proved?
     
  9. hypewaders Save Changes Moderator

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    Run, Ben.

    Run.
     
  10. Cellar_Door Whose Worth's unknown Registered Senior Member

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    Of course it has!

    So much research has been done into the differing brains of the two genders I'm surprised you've never heard about it. It's now pretty established that males are generally more logically-minded and suited to Physics and Mathematics while females prosper more in foreign languages and studying English.

    OF COURSE this doesn't mean there aren't plenty of women out there who are exceptional at Mathematics, or equally men who can pick up languages like the common cold - it's an average.

    This is precisely the reason why the 'woman have lower IQs' claim is untrue; this is actually based on the fact that those in society with the very highest IQs (professors, prominent scientists etc.) are mostly men. For that claim to be true the average man would have to be more intelligent than the average woman - which they're not. It's just that men and women are better at different things.
     
  11. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Feel free to insert any citations.
     
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Less than fifty years ago it was pretty established that men prospered more in foreign languages and English because they were more logically minded.

    Male brains do seem to have tendencies and generally preferred modes of thinking different from female brains. The connection of them with math and physics, even, let alone engineering and the like, is not direct and not obvious to careful inspection.
     
  13. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Just google "differences between male and female brain structures" or "sex differences in brain morphology" or something similar and try not to drown in the results. There are indeed many, many studies showing that the brains of men and women are structurally different and that men and women use different parts of their brains when performing the same cognitive tasks. Given that, it would be surprising if men and women didn't have different intellectual proclivities. There was indeed a period of time when it was trendy for "experts" in certain fields (mainly sociology and anthropology) to claim that there were no inherent differences between the brains of men and women, but that has mostly died out under a relentless onslaught of MRI and anatomical studies.

    Of course this doesn't necessarily mean that women not being as interested in science/engineering is a result of those physiological differences, but it certainly seems plausible.
     
  14. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Just show me one study that provides evidence that women are geared to different types of intelligence than men. I bet I could find a million holes in the design.
     
  15. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    I do not know of any studies off the top of my head showing that men and women are geared to "different types of intelligence." I am simply saying that 1) the brains of men and women are anatomically different and 2) men and women use different parts of their brains when performing the same cognitive tasks. Like I said, given those facts it would surprise me if men and women didn't have different intellectual proclivities. But I agree with you that actually quantifying those differences in proclivities would be nearly impossible.

    Also, if the disparity between men and women in science/engineering is caused (or partly caused) by inherent differences, I suspect that it has more to do with differences in preference than differences in ability.

    I will anecdotally say that having taught courses that involved group theory and required the students to perform symmetry operations on different shapes, the women tend to have a much harder time correctly manipulating shapes in their minds. There have have been some studies showing that men tend to be better than women at this sort of task. This meta-study cites some of them: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~jwosbor2/otherfiles/PSY304/APA-intelligence.pdf
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  16. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Who cares how many female engineers there are? The medical field is coming to be dominated by women. They now are the majority of Optometry students, about 50% of medical school students, the majority of veterinary students (about a 2/3 majority there). The list goes on.

    There are only so many females to go around. They can't constitute the majority of every field of endeaver.
     
  17. D H Some other guy Valued Senior Member

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    As there are more females than males, yes, they can, at least theoretically. In practice, they can't. I suspect it will take a long time before there are more females than males in the NFL, for example (to take an extreme case).
     
  18. whitewolf asleep under the juniper bush Registered Senior Member

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    I was good in science in school, I sort-of liked it, but I couldn't imagine what kind of job I'd have if I'd stick with it. I didn't want to be a math teacher or a car mechanic. I'm considering a second career and science and history lure me in, but I still can't imagine what kind of job I'd have.
     
  19. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    Being neurologically suited to something isn't everything. I was always freakishly good at languages, but it's not ultimately what I want to do with my life.

    I think it's probably a mixture of factors, both nature and nurture.
     
  20. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, but even where women dominate science departments as students they are still underrepresented as staff. Old prejudices die hard.

    If you brought up your son to think he was never going to be good at math, anecdotally speaking, how well do you think he would do at it?

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92881902

     
  21. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    The OP's assumption is invalid. I am too lazy but I read that in academics (including math and science) we have more female students than males.

    So, what was the question again?
     
  22. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Hey, I never refuted someone so fast:

    "A report issued last week by the National Science Foundation shows that more women are participating in university science and engineering (S&E) programs than ever before."

    http://www.massachusetts.edu/stem/nationalsciencefoundationreport.html

    I was maybe wrong about the male-female ratio, but we have record numbers in science so Plazma vs. Syz = 0 :1

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    Actually, I was right about that too:

    "Female college enrollment in all fields began to exceed male enrollment in the late 1980s. However, women and men did not participate in S&E programs in equal numbers until 2000, according to NSF figures. As of 2004, women receive slightly more than half (50.7 percent) of all bachelor's degrees in S&E fields."
     
  23. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Hehe, there were 11 different posters in this thread arguing about something that they know shit about. Funny example....
     

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