Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Campaign for Gender Parity Infantilizes Women

The members of Congress and women’s groups who have pushed for science to be “Title Nined” say there is evidence that women face discrimination in certain sciences, but the quality of that evidence is disputed. Critics say there is far better research showing that on average, women’s interest in some fields isn’t the same as men’s.

Women now constitute about half of medical students, 60 percent of biology majors and 70 percent of psychology Ph.D.s. They earn the majority of doctorates in both the life sciences and the social sciences. They remain a minority in the physical sciences and engineering. Even though their annual share of doctorates in physics has tripled in recent decades, it’s less than 20%. Only 10% of physics faculty members are women, a ratio that helped prompt an investigation in 2005 by the American Institute of Physics into the possibility of bias.

Clinical psychologist Susan Pinker argues that the campaign for gender parity infantilizes women by assuming they don’t know what they want. She interviewed women who abandoned successful careers in science and engineering to work in fields like architecture, law and education — and not because they had faced discrimination in science.

Instead, they complained of being pushed so hard to be scientists and engineers that they ended up in jobs they didn’t enjoy. “The irony was that talent in a male-typical pursuit limited their choices,” Ms. Pinker says. “Once they showed aptitude for math or physical science, there was an assumption that they’d pursue it as a career even if they had other interests or aspirations. And because these women went along with the program and were perceived by parents and teachers as torch bearers, it was so much more difficult for them to come to terms with the fact that the work made them unhappy.”

Ms. Pinker says that universities and employers should do a better job helping women combine family responsibilities with careers in fields like physics. But she also points out that female physicists are a distinct minority even in Western European countries that offer day care and generous benefits to women.

“Creating equal opportunities for women does not mean that they’ll choose what men choose in equal numbers,” Ms. Pinker says. “The freedom to act on one’s preferences can create a more exaggerated gender split in some fields.”

~John Tierney in the NY Times

24 Comments:

At 7/26/2008 5:14 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

I can't believe that this is surprising to some people. It seems so obvious. What we should strive for is equality in opportunity, not equality in result. It's a shame more people are not on board for that.

 
At 7/26/2008 9:04 PM, Anonymous QT said...

The problem with this issue is that it has been driven by emotion. When you begin with very strong emotions and personal beliefs, what suffers is unusually objectivity. In all fairness to the women's movement, we also have to consider the legacy of the pioneers in opening up many opportunities despite the present back water that the movement seems to have hit.

It is high time that as women, we stopped thinking in terms of quotas and started to realize that women have different preferences than men. Finding the correct career fit is not a one-size-fits all approach.

 
At 7/26/2008 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It saddens me that women are so arrogant and deny reality. This is possible only because men permit this to happen.

 
At 7/26/2008 9:32 PM, Anonymous QT said...

Anon. 9:10,

The vast majority of women (and men) do not think this is an issue.

Don't mistake the talking heads for the rest of us. Empty cans make the most noise.

 
At 7/27/2008 12:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to know why men are being excluded from biology and psychology and what is being done to correct this type of discrimination.

 
At 7/27/2008 7:04 AM, Anonymous QT said...

Anon. 12:42,

What evidence is there that men are being excluded? Studies of brain differences between men and women have been ongoing for decades.

The only difference is that one sex has highly vocal advocacy groups and the other does not. There is fine line between scientific research and the polemics of the feminist movement. The former has little to do with the latter.

I can understand why you may be frustrated by the bigotry of the feminist movement. The present atavism against men is arrogant, obnoxious, offensive and completely gratuitous.

Personally, I think men are great.

Funnily, the public seems to have moved beyond the battle of the sexes and it is the feminist groups who are still stuck in the 1960's Doris Day-Rock Hudson conflict. Most of us accept that there are brain differences between men & women and we choose as our careers as individuals not as demographics, or monolithic blocks.

 
At 7/27/2008 8:24 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

.


I realize that today you have a number of top female athletes such as Martina Navratilova who can run like deer and bench-press Chevrolet trucks. But to be brutally frank, women as a group have a long way to go before they reach the level of intensity and dedication to sports that enables men to be such incredible jerks about it.
- Dave Barry, "Sports is a Drag"

.

 
At 7/27/2008 8:30 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Don't mistake the talking heads for the rest of us. Empty cans make the most noise.

Madam(oiselle):

By all means, then, stop being one of the bloody damned "silent majority" (like so-called "moderate Muslims", which I know exist because I do know a few), GET OFF YOUR KEISTER, and make yourself known and heard -- and I don't just mean on the occasional blog -- I mean as a group.

When you allow a bunch of jackasses, idiots, hypocrites, and malcontents be the only voice "for you", you make it appear as though you agree with them. Not only does this make you look foolish, it gives them power.


So put your actions where your words are, and encourage other women to do the same.

:-/

.

 
At 7/27/2008 8:36 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> What evidence is there that men are being excluded? Studies of brain differences between men and women have been ongoing for decades.

qt, I think you missed the facetious point that it was possible to reverse the claim by looking at the fields women dominate.

This, BTW, is an excellent test for true sexism -- I refer to it as "Gender Inversion" for lack of a more official term in my awareness -- Take any situation sensibly possible* and reverse the sexes, male for female, and vice versa: does it still follow? The comment is one level removed, but it still highlights much the same notion.

====
* i.e., Clearly, males are not going to be breast-feeding babies, much less carrying them to term.

 
At 7/27/2008 10:26 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Hmmm, shades of the Larry Summers' temptest in a teapot thingie three years ago?

 
At 7/27/2008 12:06 PM, Anonymous QT said...

Juandos,

Was the Summers affair really about a few remarks about women in science or more about a left leaning faculty looking for a
rope to hang a dog .

Was the faculty really shocked and horrified by Summers innocuous remarks on women in science or delighted that he had made a convenient gaff they could use against him?

 
At 7/27/2008 12:28 PM, Anonymous QT said...

Obloodyhell,

Do you take responsibility for the words of Howard Stern or Pat Buchanan? Have you formed a group to counter the words of Anne Coulter or Lou Dobbs?

My reason for living isn't telling other people what they "should" think or say. The volunteer activities and groups that I support involve positive approaches to find solutions to problems.

There are plenty of groups already trying to force their beliefs, and priorities onto others ie. global warming, feminism, environmentalism. Why would I wish to create another such public nuisance?

I tend to think that most sensible people just ignore fringe organizations like Moveon.org because they are completely and totally negative.

 
At 7/27/2008 12:59 PM, Anonymous HT said...

Obloodyhell,

I don't believe in an alternate power base

I leave such hyginks to left-wing activists.

 
At 7/27/2008 1:42 PM, Blogger juandos said...

qt asks: "Was the Summers affair really about a few remarks about women in science or more about a left leaning faculty looking for a rope to hang a dog"...

Well qt if memory serves it seemed that this comment by someone named Hopkins: For him to say that ‘aptitude’ is the second most important reason that women don’t get to the top when he leads an institution that is 50 percent women students – that’s profoundly disturbing to me got much more play in the MSM than this comment by Goldin: utter brilliance...

Both comments were made by women too...

I was more than a bit shocked that Leman of the Times magazine was so thoroughly on the mark for it being critical: His temporary successor, former Harvard president Derek Bok, is about as different from Summers as it is possible to get. He's one of the world's least gaffe-prone people and a staunchly mainstream liberal, where Summers is liberal in a way that makes the conservatives on the faculty swoon...

qt, this question by you: "Was the faculty really shocked and horrified by Summers innocuous remarks on women in science or delighted that he had made a convenient gaff they could use against him?"...

Personally I think the faculty was shocked that Summers made it so easy for them to play into their collective template and their perceived notions of what they considered both politically incorrect and somehow, in some bizzare way an outright lie on the part of an alledged male chauvinist...

Anthony L. Hall wrote: Well, the ballistic retaliation to his comments by feminists at Harvard made the bombing of Dresden look like kids playing with firecrackers. They accused Summers of male chauvinism, intellectual arrogance and academic subjugation; and demanded his immediate resignation. It is instructive to note, however, that these fulminating (white) feminists seemed none too vexed about his apparent racial insult (an oversight that will come as no surprise to black feminists like Patricia Hill Collins and Nikki Giovanni).

I remember Phyllis Schlafly saying this: The feminists lassoed the president of Harvard University, no less, and have dragged him groveling through the ivy until they wrung from him all they wanted and more

 
At 7/27/2008 3:41 PM, Anonymous QT said...

Juandos,

I tend to think it had more to do with the "reforms" that Summers was proposing but there is certainly is a mixed spread of opinion on the subject. They certainly did go after the man in a way that was most unfair.

From my own observations, I see the entire feminist movement has run out of collective gas (or collectivist gas if you prefer). It has been 10 years since I have heard Gloria Steinam's name or any other feminist's come up in conversation.

These aging boomers and the younger more rabid group of leaders are not connecting with young women. When was the last time you saw someone burning their bra?

Young women are not connecting with Hillary Clinton but buying Victoria Secret and giving their boyfriends oral sex. Hillary offered women a trip down memory lane and it went nowhere.

Pick up any woman's magazine and the subjects are makeovers, sex techniques, finding the perfect lipgloss, finding your work-life balance or women's health issues.

The feminist movement like most of the legacy from the 60s has been tedious in the extreme but it's nearly over.

Like the chinese say, "If you wait by the river long enough, the body of your enemy will float by"

 
At 7/27/2008 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Accouning is a woman-dominated field, and as a man who's been in it since 1996, I'm unhappy. It seems to be more about personality than skill.I

 
At 7/27/2008 8:51 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Do you take responsibility for the words of Howard Stern or Pat Buchanan? Have you formed a group to counter the words of Anne Coulter or Lou Dobbs?

Since there are ample respectable naysayers for them, no. Why should I? Further, those are distinctly individuals, each with their own agenda, not a fairly uniform front with a substantially homogenous agenda. Buchanan has an audience, but, unlike Jerry Falwell (who also claimed to speak for far more people than he did) he is a notable but recognizably fractional-small part of that movement.

When someone or group has succeeded in hijacking an entire philosophical movement, to the point where one virtually NEVER hears opposing viewpoints from similar people, then people who believe in what that movement "was" or "should" stand for have a duty to speak up. This is true for those who claim that there is (and they are a part of) a moderate form of Islam, as well as any form of the women's movement which does not consist of ballbusting misandrists, which is certainly the way the modern feminist movement appears to me.

Otherwise, the ideology is getting hijacked by extremists, and, frankly, if *I* were a woman, I'd be denying any connection to NOW and its "Women's Studies" ilk.

You chose to claim they don't speak for you. I suggest you need to encourage others who agree to speak up, and to write and to make their voices heard loud and clear, disavowing the hijackers openly and clearly. Repudiate them and their agendas. I'm not saying you need to do it all yourself, but you do need to embolden a force in the direction you appear to believe in (and I agree with, on the surface).

This is what free speech is about. It is not just a right, but a responsibility, too:

"If we don't speak out [against Senator McCarthy], we share responsibility for everything he does."
- Edward R. Murrow -

The sentiment is correct, even though I believe that McCarthy was viciously maligned by the Left, including Murrow (although I don't claim or argue Murrow's reasoning or intent, which may possibly have been righteous, if not correct). However, there were people who took what McCarthy started, justifiably, and twisted it into something that WAS wrong and UnAmerican -- the HUAC, for example, with its efforts to ban ideas (McCarthy spoke out solely against communists in sensitive and classified official positions, and the disclosure of the Venona files last decade have borne out that he was, indeed, right to be concerned -- he, a Senator, had nothing to do with the activities of HUAC, a House committee)


> My reason for living isn't telling other people what they "should" think or say.

LOL, at what point did I suggest THAT?

I suggested you, and others like you, should get up, speak out, and make it clear that the current hypocrites at NOW and in Women's Studies most emphatically do NOT speak for you, and you reject their confused and completly sexist agendas. Even if you don't do it all personally, you should be very outspoken not just here but, for the time at least, anywhere it won't get you in substantial trouble (i.e., don't get fired from work over it). You should find other women who ARE willing to be aggressive, and work to take back the women's movement, so that it can be respectable again.

When NOW is silent about Bill Clinton harrassing his interns, that marks ALL feminists as hypocrites.

When Rosie O'Donnell drools on about 911 conspiracies and crap like that, I should see letters to the editors of local papers decrying it. I should bump into women railing against her lunacy in blogs all over the place. I should see more than ONE talking head on The View pointing out that she's a complete nutjob -- and when those women speak on The View, I really think I should hear a chorus of PART of the audience agreeing with THEM and cheering them on.

Until then, all the evidence suggests you're a lone voice echoing in a canyon, while the Metrodome is filled with like-minded loonies.

I don't THINK that's the case -- and I HOPE that's not the case -- and my own experience with women SAYS that's not the case, but you really can't tell it from the larger media picture, that's for damned sure.

;-)

 
At 7/27/2008 9:03 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> I tend to think that most sensible people just ignore fringe organizations like Moveon.org because they are completely and totally negative.

We live in a society which has fewer and fewer "sensible" people thanks to the modern Centralized Educational System.

If you ignore nutjobs like MoveOn too much, their voices, shouted loudly and vehemently, start to sound like the only voices there are. Sensible people start to question their own convictions (or at least fear to voice them) when faced with too much of that sort of thing too long.

In the extreme, more critically, they become emboldened, and act to directly suppress opposing views. Just TRY and be a male and hold a rational conversation in the workplace these days about some hotbutton issue. I will guarantee you that, even if EVERY SINGLE PERSON involved is UTTERLY REASONABLE and has NO PROBLEM with anything said, there will be some jackass passerby with a PC mindset who will jump on that poor schnook with both feet, and the managerial people will support the loon, not the rational person.

When you don't point out the problems with the Emperor's New Clothes, you wind up with an entirely difference class of problem.

Again: Free Speech is not just a Right. It's a Responsibility, too.

You have a Responsibility to Not say the "wrong" things (such as yelling 'Fire!' in a crowded theater) but also a Responsibility to Speak Up when you encounter something blatantly wrong.

Heck -- It may well be YOU that's wrong, but how would you know, if you don't speak?


--But you're still wrong. No, you're only half wrong. The purpose of a government, -- the ONLY justifiable reason for its existence -- is to act on behalf of the member population in a delegated area of specific responsibility.
Now, what's a 'delegated area of responsibility'? It works out to be anything that enough people are committed to - whether it's right or wrong!
Get this: a government, acting on behalf of the member population - and in their name - will do WHATEVER it is delegated to do, regardless of any defined morality in the matter. If you want proof, read a good history book. A good history book is one that tells you what happened. Period. Forget the ones that explain history to you -- they're ripping you off of the opportunity to see the WHOLE picture.

- David Gerrold, 'A Matter For Men' -


When you remain silent, you grant people like those behind "MoveOn" to suggest that THEY represent the committed ones, because THEY speak for you, too -- otherwise, why would you not be speaking up?

Hmmmmm?

 
At 7/28/2008 8:09 AM, Anonymous QT said...

“When someone or group has succeeded in hijacking an entire philosophical movement, to the point where one virtually NEVER hears opposing viewpoints from similar people, then people who believe in what that movement "was" or "should" stand for have a duty to speak up.”

I agree that one should speak up when one sees something that is fundamentally wrong. Maybe, I am a voice in the wilderness. I do write letters to my local paper and encounter people who know my name from my letters. Like you say, you also find out when you are wrong.

“When you remain silent, you grant people like those behind "MoveOn" to suggest that THEY represent the committed ones, because THEY speak for you, too -- otherwise, why would you not be speaking up?”

You suggested that I create an organization to counter the present rhetoric from feminists. Personally, I believe such advocacy organizations are ademocratic attempts to hijack the public agenda which seems to be a pattern on the left of the political spectrum. I don’t have a problem with speaking out, or writing letters but I have no desire to copy the playbook of the left. You are correct that one has to keep an eye on these groups. “It is well to know the tune the devil is playing” – P.G. Woodhouse

Frankly, most of the women I encounter never bring up the subject of the feminist movement or equal rights. Most women talk about their children, their job, their grandkids, the latest book they are reading, gardening, personal conflicts, running into an old friend, etc. (yes, it is mundane) Although there are exceptions, generally men seem to be more interested in talking about issues like international politics, globalization, business management, investment, economics, etc.

Women will have achieved equality when Rosie O’Donnell gets fired like any male journalist. I have written letters to the TV station requesting equal treatment. She is quite simply a disgrace to the entertainment industry and every woman in America…then again, she is fairly representative of the left-wing losers in the entertainment industry.

“Cheney is a terrorist. He terrorizes our enemies abroad and innocent citizens here at home indiscriminately.” – Alec Baldwin

I believe that the women’s movement of the 20th century has largely succeeded on the big issues like sufferage and access to education. The present focus on enforcing politically correct speech and atavism do not address any important issue facing women. Personally, I think the existing feminist movement is utterly irrelevant to the day-to-day challenges that face women balancing work and family committments.

What you find with women is that the majority of them are small L liberals. Hey, I used to be one myself. In my humble opinion, there is very little that is rational, logical or sensible in the present incarnation of small “L” liberalism in America and Canada…but then, I am a fiscal conservative. I certainly represent the political minority view in my own family of 6; 5 girls and 1 boy. My brother and I are the only conservatives in the gang.

I can’t change someone’s mind by dropping a house on them. People change their minds when they find that an approach isn’t work. It requires intelligence to ask the right questions.

“When the evidence changes, I change my mind. What do you do, sir”. – John Maynard Keynes

On balance, I would have to say that I largely agree with you although I am perhaps more optimistic. If market economics could survive 50 years of Keynesian interventionism, I think we will all survive the grannies of the feminist movement. The better idea does not go away.

Cheers :)

 
At 7/28/2008 9:33 AM, Anonymous QT said...

"LOL, at what point did I suggest THAT?"

I still tend to read "should" into messages but I'm working on this. Helps to have it pointed out to me.

 
At 7/28/2008 12:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Good points qt, especially this one: "From my own observations, I see the entire feminist movement has run out of collective gas (or collectivist gas if you prefer). It has been 10 years since I have heard Gloria Steinam's name or any other feminist's come up in conversation"...

I too have seen that movement come and go...

Unless its a Joe Klein or Maureen Dowd commentary I never hear about Steinam et al...

"If you wait by the river long enough, the body of your enemy will float by"...

Absolutely and your example is proof of that...

 
At 7/29/2008 3:59 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Personally, I believe such advocacy organizations are ademocratic attempts to hijack the public agenda which seems to be a pattern on the left of the political spectrum.

They often are, and they often associate with the Left, I concur -- but they also often represent an effort to add a collective countervoice to an existing collective. Yeah, like anything they can live too long and become what you speak, but I suggest to you that they still represent the only way to stop being a "voice in the wilderness" and gain some credibility in political circles.

I'm sorry -- I WANT to see moderate Islamics in a peace march which assaults the violent acts of Fundamentalist Islam, not "Imperialist USA".

I WANT to see women march, decrying the blatant hypocrisy of NOW when it utterly ignores the PotUS's blatant harassment of his interns solely because he's a Democrat.

That's the ONLY way these kinds of things will change, when they stop being "voices in the wilderness" and become a very public I'm Mad As Hell, And I'm Not Taking It Any More!

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

 
At 7/29/2008 4:19 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> I can’t change someone’s mind by dropping a house on them.

I concur -- but you see, when little girls are raised and never hear rational arguments about why it is that women "make less than men" (see Warren Farrell: Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — and What Women Can Do about It. Also The Myth of Male Power. Both excellent), they become liberal fools. Which makes them great tools for self-serving charlatans and demagogues (demagoguettes? LOL) of every stripe. Your voice in the wilderness needs more volume, more reach. I'm not saying you, personally, need to raise your voice, but you should get together with like voices and get a little collective volume going.

And yes, I do understand it when you say this:
Frankly, most of the women I encounter never bring up the subject of the feminist movement or equal rights.

I'm sure. The real fact of life is that most people just want to be left alone. Then some jackalope with a cause comes along and tries to tell them what to do, either because they believe (worst) or just because they like to wield power over others (lots of petty two-bit tyrants in the world).

But that's where your sort of presence can come in, too -- when you've heard some idiot feminist or other make a stupid comment, figure out a way to throw it into conversations -- see what you can do to get people to think, just a little, about how stupid these fools are, of how, with just a little thought, their arguments or claims don't hold water.
a) You might be surprised how many respond positively
b) You can get a chance to get some of the more honest ones to think.


I'm not saying be boorish or one note about it, just toss out something as an amusement, preferably as something to laugh at, because those involved are foolish.

Make it clear you don't approve of said idiot.

If others continue the subject, great. If not, drop it. But that voice has ripples. It encourages others to say things they might otherwise not realize are not theirs alone -- even when not with you.

All too many people are sheep, and women, it seems to me, are far less aggressive (no surprise, that seems duh) than males in expressing themselves. So when you create an environment where such foolishness can be exposed for what it is, without fear of being shouted down, you make it more acceptable to express such "unPC" ideas.

If it starts getting contentious (and it will -- some Lefties assault any disagreement with a full frontal attack) you can certainly drop it quickly (assuming you don't feel combative, or the situation isn't appropriate), while noting who expressed concurrence with whom. Reading faces is your friend, here.

Again, I'm not saying to crucify yourself on the matter -- but creating an environment where such expressions are welcome is a good step forward.

 
At 7/30/2008 12:13 AM, Anonymous QT said...

Obloodyhell,

I think that the reason women develop left leanings go beyond hearing misinformation about issues such as pay disparity although we are all influenced by what we hear. Just about every young university student starts out as a raving socialist but many grow out of this phase when they get into the working world.

I tend to think that women become liberals because they place very high value on their relationships with people while men seem to be more oriented towards ideas. Women are more likely to take psychology, become social workers, teachers, child care workers, nurses, etc. whereas male students tend to take philosophy, engineering, business, political science, econ, etc.

It seems to be a strong commitment to other people that attracts women to liberalism, an ideology which seems more humane, and compassionate towards the weakest members of society.

On the surface, embracing conservatism would seem to mean being selfish, having your own needs, and realizing that you don't have to prove you are a good person by caring for others. All of us need both community and autonomy. For many women, the desire for community becomes more dominant driven by a desire for validation, acceptance and love. Autonomy seems inherently more risky.

In the course of my life, I have met many women who suffer from chronic pain or develop stress illnesses. The consistent pattern is someone who is a high achiever, super woman who does not have any needs but looks after everyone, always gets the job done, and has difficulty saying no to their kids, their boss, their mom, etc.

It takes a great deal of subtlety to try to move a woman's opinion. The difficulty lies in the fact that the ideology of the left becomes part of a woman's identity as a caring, socially conscientious, adult.

There are some women who have moved beyond such limitations to reach their full potentialpotential. Hope you enjoy this link to a very inspiring story.

Thanks for some good advice. Will try to be more forthright in expressing my views. :)

 

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