Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Women? Scientists? Really?

I might be a tad bit touchy, seeing as I have been doing mind-melting data entry for the last three hours, but doesn't this seem to completely ignore the intervening variable of CULTURE to anyone else?

Feministing just posted a blog on The Boston Globe's recent article on women in the sciences. (Feministing also linked one of my other favoritiest-blogs... Sciencewomen... in the article. You should check them out.)

The article summarizes recent research by J. L. Rosenbloom showing that women choose careers in non-science related fields.

The problem that I have with this article, a problem which seems to arise any time the media touches research, is that it goes for the for the sensationalized headline...

"Why aren't there more women in science and engineering? Controversial new
research suggests: They just aren't interested."
...while ignoring the caveat that this doesn't necessarily show any innate differences, but instead may reflect the sexism of the culture that women are being raised and educated in.

Later in the article, the role of sexism and biases in early education are discussed, but the article still leaves you with the line...

"If the hard-fought battle for gender equality has indeed brought America to a
point where women have the freedom to choose their career paths, then the end
result may be surprising - and an equal-opportunity workforce may look a lot less equal than some had imagined."

What the hell? Wouldn't' we need an equal-opportunity workforce to even begin making such statements??

Didn't we just mention that woman still often receive unequal
treatment by educators and employers? The initial article even mentions an upcoming
which found that "women often leave technical jobs because of
rampant sexism in the workplace". The research found half of the women who took
technical science positions dropped out
by the time they were in their mid
thirties, and that two-thirds of those women reported that they had been
subjected to sexual harassment in their workplace.

How does this show that women are "choosing" careers besides those in the sciences?

Ughs. At least The Boston Globe is receiving some backlash over this.


Bekah said...

It's sad, but most women at my school just aren't interested in science unless they're going for pre-med.

nisemono3.14 said...

I certainly think that there is a radically low number of women going into the sciences right now.

It just seems that there are many cultural factors that need addressed.

I think that we should look at WHYco women are less enthused about science, instead of instantly chalking it up to the penises.