[Noisebridge-discuss] Fwd: Some interesting thoughts on "benevolent sexism"

Brandon Edens brandonedens at gmail.com
Sat Apr 6 00:34:12 UTC 2013

On Fri, Apr 05, 2013 at 02:30:21PM -0700, Garrett Smith wrote:

> Men and women have different brain matter and this may well explain
> why men tend to excel at math, logic, mental rotation, problem solving
> and the like and why fewer women tend to seek out careers which
> require such skills.

Taken from http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science

Larry Summers was fired from his job as president of Harvard University partly
for saying the following:

"There are three broad hypotheses about the sources of the very substantial
disparities that this conference's papers document [percentage of women among
tenured professors of science] and have been documented before with respect to
the presence of women in high-end scientific professions. One is what I would
call the-I'll explain each of these in a few moments and comment on how
important I think they are-the first is what I call the high-powered job
hypothesis. The second is what I would call different availability of aptitude
at the high end, and the third is what I would call different socialization and
patterns of discrimination in a search. And in my own view, their importance
probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described."

This fired up an international debate about whether or not there were enough
women with the towering intellects required to make it as top scientists and
mathematicians, the sorts who would be likely to receive tenure at elite

Summers was deservedly castigated, but not for the right reasons. He claimed to
be giving a comprehensive list of reasons why there weren't more women reaching
the top jobs in the sciences. Yet Summers, an economist, left one out: Adjusted
for IQ, quantitative skills, and working hours, jobs in science are the lowest
paid in the United States.

This article explores this fourth possible explanation for the dearth of women
in science: They found better jobs.


Brandon Edens | brandonedens at gmail.com | brandonedens.org | key 0xEC4E9BA5
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