Study: Women Don’t Choose STEM Careers Despite Their Skills

women STEM majorsA recent study by The University of Texas at Austin has found that young women don’t avoid so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors and professions for lack of math and science skills. Rather, they are choosing other disciplines in spite of their skills in these traditionally masculine fields.

Questioning gender stereotypes

“I think we need to be asking, ‘What do females who are highly qualified in math and science find more attractive in the fields of study they choose, and, more importantly, why are these features more attractive to them?’ ” said Catherine Riegle-Crumb, assistant professor in UT’s College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction and lead investigator for the study.

“Females are making a choice for something, not just against STEM majors and professions.

“These choices could be due to social structures that are pervasive and lifelong and that are shaping their preferences and ideas about what girls do versus what boys do. One of the most fascinating questions to answer is why and how some females resist cultural expectations and do pursue degrees in engineering.”

Surveying STEM skills data

The study, which was published in the American Educational Research Journal, analyzed nationally representative data on STEM skills attainment in high school and subsequent choice of major, broken down by gender.

“When we looked at relative strengths between subjects rather than absolute levels of achievement, we noted that girls tended to outperform boys in English courses, for example, and to be the top scorers,” said Riegle-Crumb. “It’s not that they did poorly in high school math and science classes — it’s that they did even better in English and have a comparative advantage.”

In fact, “girls in the U.S. have been out-performing boys in math and science classes for some time,” said Lisa Wade, associate professor and chairwoman of the sociology department at Occidental College in Los Angeles, who has addressed the issue on her blog.

“Their performance in math and science classes, however, doesn’t predict whether they’ll go into related careers. Many high-performing girls choose not to, and many low-performing boys do. This is partly because women are pushed out of such careers because they are so strongly associated with men and masculinity or because they encounter hostility, but it’s also because they are pulled out: women strongly out-perform boys in skills related to other types of careers, so sometimes they choose those instead.”

Studying the role of culture

“I see so many talented young women with strong interest in STEM, including physics (which has one of the lowest percentages of women)—I know these fields are attractive to them, until something changes their minds,” said Meg Urry, chair of the physics department at Yale University and director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

“The problems have to be about culture and environment. The enormous differences between countries in the percentage of scientists and engineers who are women demonstrates this very clearly.”

“I’m afraid all the evidence points to obstacles and discouragement for women going into STEM fields in the U.S.,” Urry continued, adding: “The good news is, this means we can greatly increase the participation of women in STEM, if only we can remove these obstacles and substitute encouragement for its opposite.”

Samantha Bonar is an author and freelance writer based in Pasadena, Calif.

Samantha Bonar
Samantha Bonar is a writer based in Southern California. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. She is also regular contributor to LA Weekly.
Samantha Bonar
Tags: Business,Education
  • John McRae

    I’ve worked in drug R&D for 30 years, and I’m surprised that anyone regardless of gender is seeking to work in this field. Most of our scientist jobs are going to China & India, so don’t expect a good job market if you choose R&D. My employer brings in summer students, mostly minorities, and they get entertained during the time they’re working. Then if they come to work with us after college, then they find out how boring most of our time really is – in the 35 years I’ve worked in R&D, I’ve gotten to work on maybe five compounds that made it to the market. After they see how boring it is, they often take off for medical school. So unless you have an innate interest in doing science, stay away from the R&D job market.

    • jbob

      Don’t you love hearing from “experts” (whose own lives are usually train wrecks)making decisions for other people? I pity their daughters, who are made to feel like failures if they don’t pursue the fields their parents have chosen for them.

      • lawur

        I couldn’t agree more jbob. These women speak of women seeking non-STEM jobs as a “problem”. I contend these women are the “problem” when they attempt social engineering, justified by their vision of what women should do, rather than what they choose to do. It is an issue rampant in 21st century America. The sooner we tell these “experts” to mind their own business, the better off our entire nation will be.

      • Eve

        It’s horrid. I liked science well enough, but I liked other things better — that doesn’t make me a failure, that just means I know my talents will be of more use elsewhere. And it isn’t as if anyone’s lamenting the lack of men in non-STEM fields, which I think is equally sorry. Men shouldn’t feel ashamed to want to be social workers, say.

      • Kristen

        I think that you are missing the point; this article is not portraying women who do not go into the STEM fields as failures; it is simply analyzing WHY women do not go into these fields, and the conclusion is that it’s largely cultural. There are girls that have a genuine interest and talent in these fields, so it is interesting to shed light on the reason they are turning away.

        • Jaye-Andrea Aro

          Where is the analysis? This article tells us nothing new except that there are plenty of women who have excellent math and science skills who choose not to go into STEM
          careers. It offers no PROOF that this decision is cultural, only conjecture.
          This is a poorly researched article. My daughter had decided to become a
          science teacher. She likes to work with children. She chose teaching over a
          research job because she would rather work with people than data. I think that a solid,
          scientifically backed report could be done on the hypothesis that women tend to
          choose jobs that are more social and less solitary compared to men.

          • Lena

            I don’t think so. When presented the choice of earning far more money and prestige in a professional setting, many more women would take that choice. It has been disturbing to see my niece follow this path. My niece, who was always AP in the sciences, got excellent grades (even while working a full-time job) then decided to go into teaching math.

            I think it was because there were no role models for her to even consider anything else. She has a stay-at-home mom and many teachers in our family. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with teaching, it’s just that women are automatically pigeon-holed into that job.

          • Debbie

            I’ve read the study. The article obviously only summarizes it, but that summary is in line with the results of the study and with my own experience as a woman in STEM, and the reason that it is a problem is because we have a pretty severe shortage of STEM workers in this country. My company outsources because we have to fill chronic shortages. If we can attract more women, we can up the quality of our employee pool, and you want the best person designing your bridges, not simply the person who is available.

            I’ve also read other studies that yielded interesting, complementary results that were alluded to in this article. There are other countries where woman are more likely or equally likely to enter STEM because STEM jobs are considered to be very family friendly., and they really can be. Nearly everyone who works for me is a single parent, and we certainly don’t select for that, but we do allow for very flexible work schedules and a lot of work from home time. The job is really demanding so we try to balance that for our best employees.

            And finally a study that is very near and dear to me demonstrated that women in STEM dumb themselves down when working with men, but not with other women. It concluded that the men themselves weren’t doing anything to cause that, but the women did it anyway. Using my own experience for interpretation, though, I can tell you that I have to dumb myself down for certain men just to get them to hear me. It’s especially funny when I make a comment in a meeting and a man repeats what I said because he thinks it’s a good idea and then he gets credit for it. Mind you, if it were important to me to get credit, it would be infuriating. Thankfully it’s not.

        • Blair

          Kristen – Jaye has this one exactly right: this is an agenda-pushing article trying to push the idea that society is to blame for more women not taking on jobs in STEM instead of recognizing the fact that women and men naturally gravitate to different things AND IT’S OKAY!

          Good grief. Feminists are destroying both men and women alike with their nonsense.

          • Lena

            I gravitated toward using my degree to get a job in IT and, despite good grades, I couldn’t get hired as that.

            When I was younger (and considered attractive) I had jobs in which the interviewer would ask me if my 3.8 average was out of 4 (and not 5). It was. I had others who doubted my resume and my work samples (yes, I honestly did both.) I had interviews in which I was told that I had the job, only to have their male superiors say “no” without even looking at my resume (and, yes, I dressed very conservatively.)

            It’s now 30 years that I’ve been working and it’s still the same kind of cr*p. It’s not just the sciences in which it’s still a boys club.

  • Jan

    If you want to know why women don’t choose to participate or walk away from STEM careers, talk to the ones that have succeeded in these areas. Chances are they’ll tell you that they learned early on to counter the (often subconscious) biases of their peers by concealing their femininity (“dressing to look like a box”) and making darn sure they performed so well that no one could deny their talent. My feeling is that biases against female personality traits are so deeply embedded in our culture that even women carry them. To illustrate — when was the last time you ran across a female scientist character in book or movie portrayed as anything other than “level-headed and smart” or some variation of “bitter, brilliant and irrational? How about a character wearing bright red lipstick and 3″ heels? Acting flirtatiously? My point. Small wonder women choose to leave when they are forced to suppress large parts of their personality (at all times) in order to be taken seriously. Incidentally, my take is that this problem has only gotten worse with the huge influx of trainees that grew up in the male-dominated cultures of China and India. In my grad program, 90% of trainees were Chinese and I hear this is not unusual.

    • K

      Agreed, as a high school and college student I did notice that my few female friends willing to buck the system took on the stigma of being “tom boys” and un-feminine. And they still only did so with extreme encouragement from their parents. In fact most of my peers’ parents overtly discouraged STEM careers. My sister-in-law for one was raised by an engineer father, yet never, not for one moment considered engineering. She was great in the sciences and it’s not an exaggeration to say became an RN largely because that was an “appropriate” job for a woman (who would ultimately marry and become a mother in her 20′s). She went to grad school and became an APN largely due to feeling pressure from her parents to be “successful,” but not one consideration was ever given to her pursuing a career similar to her father’s.

    • Maggie

      I agree. I was a nuclear mechanic in the Navy, and the reasons I got out had much more to do with my male coworkers and supervisors than the nature of the work itself. So many double standards…supervisors who were extra-hard on women to demonstrate that they weren’t going easy on the women, pressure to be even more “one of the guys” than some of the actual guys were….

    • Debbie

      Jan, I love this post. I hadn’t really even thought of that, but you’ve got it exactly right. To be honest, I consider it a plus. My looks have always gotten me too much unwanted attention, and it was incredibly freeing when I was able to reverse that in the workplace. I can see, though, why that would be a deterrent for young women entering the field.

  • elizabeth

    As a woman working in pharma for 20 years now, I would say that I would never recommend a career in my field to young women. It is an incredibly hostile field for women, even though women now outnumber men in the biological sciences! Despite a large proportion of women, almost none get promoted to management positions because the old boys network is still in full play and shows no signs of diminishing power.
    I have sat in meeting after meeting where if a solution to a problem is posed by a female, it is ignored. However, if a man repeats her words verbatim 5 minutes later, he is haled as a genius by the other men in the room. It is demoralizing to be the woman speaking, or to watch the woman speaking, because you soon realize that as far as the male management is concerned, you only exist for menial tasks. The education and experience you have spent years acquiring – not important.

    This is in place in undergraduate and graduate schools, where male students are given greater opportunities and the vast majority of advisors are male. As an example, when I was in graduate school, I wanted to work with the most innovative scientist and well-known at my university, but was told by my school that “we don’t allow him to have female grad students anymore.” Right there – a door closed to female grad students. Rather than change the problem (the professor’s behavior), they penalized female students.

    It is commonplace for male colleagues to publically ridicule and berate people with no repercussions, yet female employees are expected to be sweet and nice at all times and are fired (as a “b*tch”) if not.
    In the workplace, I have seen multiple male colleagues bring illicit drugs into the lab, not show up for work or show up drunk/high, yet get promoted (even though their supervisors were fully aware of the problems) over female coworkers.

    The one sign of hope I have is that the abominable behavior I have seen is primarily among the baby boomers. Younger males do seem more accepting of women as equals. Maybe things will improve for women once the dinosaurs have aged out!

    • IanB

      elizabeth wrote “Right there – a door closed to female grad students. Rather than change the problem (the professor’s behavior), they penalized female students.”

      It’s difficult to change the behavior of all female students, especially those that seek gain in academia by capitalizing on a professor’s reputation for past transgressions.

      elizabeth wrote “I have sat in meeting after meeting where if a solution to a problem is posed by a female, it is ignored.”

      Most solutions proposed are ignored. Since women are unaccustomed to being ignored outside of the workplace, being treated like a man in the workplace is difficult to adjust to.

      • female engineer

        Ian, you missed this part “if a man repeats her words verbatim 5 minutes later, he is hailed as a genius by the other men in the room.”

        • SunTiger

          Having sat through many many meetings I suggest her statement is an exaggeration. I seriously doubt the “hailed as a genius part”. I do agree about the insider part. However she attributes the “old boy” network to being male. That is only true when it is old. Now one is as likely to see mixed (male and female) insider (clique) networks.

        • dungone

          Female, I think you missed this part ” Since women are unaccustomed to being ignored”. This is crucial because getting complex ideas across to thick-headed people is often very difficult and requires a good deal of persistence and gravitas that, quite frankly, pretty looking women are unaccustomed to.

  • io

    Interesting replies above, and when I was younger, I used to assign blame to the factors mentioned above as well. Now, I have more perspective. There is actually an influx of young female talent every year in high tech, but their ranks thin out quickly. Many either head towards management, or simply look somewhere else. After being subjected to the biases the PP mentioned, those women who managed to forge ahead, will at some point start a family. Chances are, they will have found a great spouse, someone responsible, bright and with an equally sparkling career. Problem. In many STEM jobs, the salaries are sufficient to support a family on a single income. Many folks in the industry are men, with home maker wives. They can afford to stay late and sometimes skip vacations. They can also demand the same from their employees. The problem for many women is that a family cannot survive with two parents away from home for 10 hours a day each. And since the father usually makes more (usual pay bias), it’s easy to fall into the more traditional roles after a few heroic years of effort.

    Notice how there are hardly any principal software engineers that are women? By the time their skills reached that level, other obligations started to apply the pressure. And high tech jobs are unforgiving.

    So if you want to see more women in STEM career, the machismo of over-scheduled projects has got to stop. It’s not a matter of brains or even of education. The fact is, there are not enough mid-career choices for the women who currently train for STEM careers. Why would I encourage my daughter to follow such a narrowly focused education when I know that her career choices down the line will dwindle to a trickle?

    This is not about giving omen a pass and a shorter day. It’s about distributing work evenly, so that both women AND men can attend that band concert after school, and creating a culture where such activities do not jeopardize your reputation and career.

    • Richard Flores

      That is exactly what you are saying. You want to give women a pass and a shorter day. Do you actually think that with projects of all types becoming ever more financially lucrative everyday that projects will stop becoming overscheduled??? Money talks and no sane people, or companies, who are in the business of making profits, will give that up along with any savings to let women work a shorter workday, or less hectic schedule.
      The average work day here in this country over the next few generations will increase for the few that are fortunate enough to work in those fields(like STEM) that require it, and they will be paid handsomely for it through overtime, etc. People who are not so fortunate, will see their job hours cut back to that of a “temp” employee who works less than 40 hours because it makes financial sense for a company (think Wal Mart) to have employees who are not full time, because that is less that they have to pay them and provide benefits to.
      So no; women will not be accommodated in those STEM fields that require more man hours to finish projects with crazy deadlines. If anything they will be expected to work just as many hours as anyone else. If they would like a more balanced and family friendly schedule there is always retail, cosmetology, education, banking, etc. but beware those jobs might get their hours cut back in the future.

      • Diagoras

        Or give everyone a normal 40 hour week, even if you have to hire more people to do it, and allow people to do some of those 40 hours from home when they need to. Problem solved.

        • Kris Farnsworth

          This is something that has been mentioned before with Americans. We tend to work longer hours than many other countries, but there are a lot of issues with hiring more people. As an example: with software engineering… you may need 100 coders for this project, but after this project you may only need 75 for the next project. Are you going to constantly higher and fire engineers to account for your increased/decreased workload? Of course not, it doesn’t make sense to do that. For most companies it makes more sense to ramp up the hours over the course of the project to meet deadlines.
          Now if a company is constantly having their employees work 75 hour weeks then that is a clear indication that they are understaffed and need to hire accordingly… and certainly that is sometimes the case, but you can’t make sweeping statements about every company and hope to have a solution to a problem like this.
          And all of this is only accounting for first order effects. That’s not even including secondary effects like increased expenditures on health benefits/etc that may be incurred by adding staff. Is there enough space in the facility for the extra 20 coders? Are we meeting fire safety codes for occupancy? Typically this is not an easy solution to come up with and can be less cost effective than other solutions. You’re simply not asking the right questions and/or not planning for the full scope of the changes you want to make. This is a typical problem for many things with many people. As with most things a balanced approach is better by implementing a variety of solutions on small scales to improve the overall environment rather than large sweeping changes focused on one narrow aspect of a multifaceted problem.

          • Diagoras

            There is already a solution for employers who need help that truly is just temporary – hire from a temp agency.

        • Richard Flores

          You’re not looking at this situation from an owner, shareholder, or board member’s perspective. Why in the world would I want to increase my labor overhead by hiring more people when I could get fewer competent people to complete whatever task is at hand?
          Many recent studies have come out that show that the American worker is much more efficient (by more than 30%) than he was 30 years ago YET that has not meant an increase in wages. Our wages have stagnated when compared to productivity and what we were getting paid 30 years ago. A dollar went a lot further back then then it does now.
          We are making and producing more yet earning the same or less than we did a generation ago. So why would I want to pay more people when I can get by with less. This is how business works. Business could give a rat’s about you and me and our little lives.
          Business is about one thing and that is making money. Sure companies like Google are family friendly and blah blah blah (I like the Google way) but it’s only one of a very few companies like that and if they ever run into trouble guess what they are going to do? They are going to do what everyone does when they try to save money or maximize profits. They will have layoffs and increase the workload on everyone who remains.

  • Ed G

    I second what Jan said. The US is importing 100s of thousands of Indian and Chinese tech workers on H-1B visas every year. The vast majority are men, and the vast majority have attitudes toward women that make their female coworkers feel uncomfortable or downright unwanted. We have a self-created problem in technology employment. The new immigration bill will just make things worse as it ups the number of H-1Bs granted.

    • Eve

      I’m curious to know how you think the US imports hundreds of thousands of H-1B workers a year given that the base quota is 65,000 (plus another 20k with U.S. graduate degrees), and not all of those go to STEM professionals – they can go to anyone whose job requires a bachelor’s degree in a particular field (and who has the qualifying degree).

      • Margaret Bartley

        US companies hire hundreds of thousands of H1-b workers a year because although there is a limit of 65,000 visas issued per year, each visa is good for three years, and can be extended. Plus, there are other visas, like the l1 visa, which has been widely abused and has no limits at all.

        Many companies outsource their technical work. Often the company they hire to do the outsourcing is based in India or China, where it not only is not illegal, but considered patriotic and good, to hire only fellow-nationals.

        Anyone who has been in any STEM field for any length of time knows the cards are stacked against American workers.

        • lawur

          Margaret…. baloney. I’ve worked in this field all my life (I’m 62). Those who work (instead of whine) don’t have the cards “stacked against them” in my opinion. A good engineer/scientist will rise to the top of the group. The rest whine jealously about supposed barriers of one sort or the other.

          • DavidM

            Lawur, You should come out of retirement and open your eyes a little. When some of the H1-B co-workers of mine even start to complain about the number of engineers coming in from abroad it most certainly is a problem. And many of these workers from different countries do not work together very well at all.. Each in their own separate groups – not providing the effort to other groups of engineers. A great example of this can be found at companies like Qualcomm and Intel. Come to think of it, when I sit at an interview and a manager starts out a conversation with a comment such as, “Why should I hire an application engineer like you when I can bring a firmware engineer from anywhere in the world for the same cost……” it’s a very telling sign. And what exactly did you do in terms of engineering anyways?

    • Krish

      So, as one of those “thousands of Indian and Chinese tech workers…..”, who incidentally now is a US Citizen, I will have to say that speaking for myself, personally, I have never harbored such attitudes towards women at any time in my life, nor do I do so at present, and I certainly don’t contemplate harboring such attitudes in the future. It has been my pleasure to work with women at all levels in the tech industry, as colleagues, as my managers, and executive leaders. My advice is for everyone to treat each other as human beings first. Every human being (man or woman) is different, a woman or a man will have reasons to either stay in tech, move into exec leadership in tech, or move away from tech entirely. To characterize these reasons, especially for women, exclusively in the domain of male indifference or sexism, does all women and men grave injustice. In fact, these changes made by men and women are a reflection of dynamism in the US economy. Typecasting does not help anyone, in fact it reflects ignorance and stupidity, in my view.

  • jim bob


    I studied this extensively while working on MEd at George Washington in 1993 – 1994. I have two daughters, infants at the time, and I really took the data to heart. This was long before the convenient acronym, STEM, made its appearance.

    I went into math education with a flagrant “girls/women in math and science objective.”

    During Coop Learning in the 90′s I would frequently call an all stop, ask the “recorders” to raise their hands, and about 99.9% of the time, the recorders would be girls.

    I then pointed to a poster on my wall, of female Nobel winners and SCREAM at the young ladies, “Do you think they were recorders?????” After shuffling the roles in the groups, I would always hear from some young man, “That is sexual discrimination.” My reply was often, “Too Bad!”

    I was teaching the 8th grade, because if you wait too long, you are too late, high school is too late.

    Fast forward 20 years, with a 10 year return to business, but for the sake of sanity, back in the classroom.

    Last year our AG, Quiz bowl team, was all males. I pointed this out to the FEMALE AG teacher, and got blasted for even pointing it out.

    We need 100% of the brains working on problems (STEM type jobs) We need a HUGE EFFORT in late elementary and middle school to get the girls going.

    IRONY: I MADE my oldest take AP Calc, AP Chem and AP Physics. She was mad at dad about it, but she took the course, as well as a bunch of other AP courses and made A’s in all of them.

    However, she applied to NC School of the Arts and was accepted immediately. She had no art portfolio, but she had all those high grades in STEM courses.

    As I tell my 8th graders, “You can be the Walmart Greeter with AP Math and Science” but without those courses, you severely limit you options.

    Don’t ask about my youngest!

    The issue here is not about careers, it is about taking the “right” courses in high school, and getting ready for such in the middle school. Start early.

    • don

      The female responses here are interesting – especially given the current bias strongly against boys. They are interesting, too, for their content” :”…haled”. (Nope, “”hailed”), and “I SCREAMED…”, as well as “Gender discrimination (against males) – too bad!” Yep, interesting for ignorance, emotion, bias, and foolishness.

      What do you suppose would have happened if a male instructor had “SCREAMED” at girls – or minority students? Or told girls “Yes I’m discriminating – too bad.”

      Bit of a chip, there? Covering some fundamental incompetence? Or just insecure?

      This nation is supposed to be a meritocracy. Where *actual* bias exists, efforts should be made to negate it. Otherwise, let kids learn, help everyone do their best, (no matter race, religion, or gender) – - – and stop the whining.

      • ajt

        Look again at the name of the poster you quoted for gender discrimination in your comment and reconsider who is carrying a chip.

      • Female Data Analyst

        Don, the teacher that “screamed” and said, “too bad” and also commented, “She was mad at DAD about it… is a MALE.

      • Brianna

        Why can’t a male commenter have a “chip”? Isn’t it *discriminatory* to assume that only women can have chipped shoulders?

  • Pjay

    America is getting tired of middle-aged menopausal feminist social engineers lying about people’s choices and using personal preferences as a way to gain more entitlements for their specific groups.

    There are hardly and STEM jobs in the US for anyone – they are going to China and India. This has been laid out many times by objective organizations using large datasets, but the whiners and professional victims refuse to acknowledge this reality.

  • Jm Mac

    “I’m afraid all the evidence points to obstacles and discouragement for women going into STEM fields in the U.S.,” Urry continued, adding: “The good news is, this means we can greatly increase the participation of women in STEM, if only we can remove these obstacles and substitute encouragement for its opposite.”

    I am afraid you’re fundamentally wrong.

    The evidence simply demonstrates difference in the genders (like military joining rates does).

    Eg in Scandinavian countries where genders are reared equally –through much feminist social engineering– there is the most gender dimorphism in lifestyle and careers.

    The gender differences are descended from our evolutionary past. THAT is what there is much evidence for. Ie look at all dimorphic sexual species –they all have motivation and aptitude gender differences. Only creationist don’t believe that. _Don’t ever forget that feminism is a type of creationism –totally dependent, philosophically, on hiding behind creationism._

    Meanwhile there is no actual evidence of actual discrimination against human females in the West. If there was, the thousand and one pro-female sexist-lensing pressure groups would be all over it to make a quick buck. There is simply the fact that fewer females do this or that thing feminists care about and THEN _that becomes for pro-fem activists a kind of circular evidence._

    The feminists then demand very real –UNCONSTITUTIONAL– *sexist*, discriminations and oppressions be imposed on males to “balance it all out”.

    Capitalism and christianity does nothing to prevent any of this. I doubt it even wants to, for the philosophies necessary (eg = “darwinism”) and methods employed (= ahem…) would go against their *cross-purposes* ‘values’ (= *meek shall inherit* morals and money making competition which is nothing but a popularity contests snowballing technologies that breed for idiots and infantile males [who don't know how to deal with females]).

    Capitalism and christian ‘morals’ (both = supposedly the ‘right’) need to be stopped –for the failed methods they are– so that the significantly dangerous problems created by decades and decades of _unchallenged_ hypocritical dystopia inducing feminism at academia, law and media can be stopped and REVERSED.

    • Swedish Engineer

      “Eg in Scandinavian countries where genders are reared equally –through much feminist social engineering– there is the most gender dimorphism in lifestyle and careers.”

      I’m Swedish, but I’ve lived in the US for 10 years and 1 year in China. I call absolute BS on this statement. There are so many examples I could give of how gender roles/sexual dimorphism are there some in Sweden, a lot more in the US, and a heck of a lot more in China, but I’ll pick three.

      #1: Machismo in drinking culture. Being a woman is not an excuse for not being able to keep up with the drinks in Sweden any more. That was my experience in high school and media has been covering the health consequences for young women who now are keeping up with the men drink by drink for years. Americans don’t think women drinking men purposely under the table is proper behavior – I know, because I got a lot of funny looks and comments when I did – and in China women have to play the game like everyone else BUT not be seen to be doing it. They have to essentially trick and manipulate. I am exempt because I’m the size of a man and an uncivilized foreigner to boot, but it was pretty clear.

      #2: Women in STEM careers. I have a PhD in engineering. It never occurred to me that people actually think that women shouldn’t be in STEM careers until I got to graduate school in the US, and as many others have noted, the strongest reflection of this message came from deshi men, but I got it clearly from Americans as well. (Including the deer-in-the-headlights look guys in bars hitting on me got when they heard my major. Evidently blondes in heels are not expected to be getting PhDs in engineering.) Seeing as my parents had many (Swedish) engineering couple friends – as in, both people in the couple were engineers – I thought that those old gender stereotypes were for my grandmother’s generation. When I met Americans in my parents’ generation in college and they asked my major, “Chemistry and physics” was clearly not the expected answer, based on people’s surprised faces and awkward pauses. I have never gotten anything but an “oh, ok” from a Swede, regardless of age.

      #3: Ability to be just friends with men in the three countries. When I was out at a restaurant with a male friend in Sweden, two checks arrived by default. When I am out with a male friend in the US, one check arrives, with no question asked. You do not go out with one man alone in China at all unless it’s a date. I have been just friends with many Swedish men. No hint of wanting to be more than just friends, no awkwardness, we were simply friends. Not very different from women friends with the exception of that we didn’t really talk about sex with opposite-gender (straight) friends, only same-sex same-orientation friends. I would get drunk with a male Swedish friend alone anytime. Being friends with American men is harder. Many do not understand what the concept means. They seem to think “just friends” means “holding pattern while making my move on her”. Some get it, some don’t. You have to sort. I find this irritating because they should have listened and respected what I communicated, namely that I was their *friend*. NOT girlfriend-to-be. I would be a little nervous about getting drunk with an American male friend alone, unless he was one of, oh, two people. I never did end up with good male Chinese friends, FWIW. I certainly would not drink alone with a Chinese man.

      The differences in being a woman in the three countries is very palpable. I am much freer from being feminine (without reaction or judgement) in Sweden than I am in the US, and I am much freer from being feminine in the US than I am in China, even as a foreigner. (If some cultural guide advice on the US I have gotten is correct, you will even find some of what I wrote about drinking and sex shocking, which is in and of itself simply a product of taboos in your culture, nothing more.) I’m the same in all three countries, but the cultural feedback I receive is very different. Arguing that this is a result of evolution rather than culture is preposterous.

      • Mark

        Thank you – very interesting perspective… My former wife was born in the US to parents that had just moved to the US from Denmark. She decided to become an engineer (EE) and later got her MBA and became a CPA. Her brother studied political science and went into furniture building. There were no gender stereotypes in that family.

        She was promoted as quickly as she desired in high-tech, and earned more than many of her male peers as a design engineer. If anything she benefited from being one of the company’s few female engineers. When she left engineering we were divorced at that point, but it had more to do with taking time off to raise her (new) family in her mid-30s in a place where there were few engineering jobs. And she was not working when she raised her family.

        I’m in my mid 50s and followed pretty much the same path as my ex education and career-wise. I can say that she truly wanted to stay at home and raise our kids, and that is where we differed. I wanted to hire someone to do that so we could both work, and that was the fundamental reason we ended up getting divorced. That caught me by surprise.

        And that is just one of many similar decisions I’ve observed women in my extended family, and social/business networks, make. So whether it is a matter of voluntarily jumping onto the “mommy track” at work or withdrawing for many years completely, there are career consequences that have nothing to do with an employer’s actions. As far as we have come in terms of education, policy and other factors that set the stage for gender equality in the workplace, the reality we find ourselves in in the US is primarily fueled by decisions made by women themselves.

  • Alice

    “Meanwhile there is no actual evidence of actual discrimination against human females in the West.”

    Uh huh.

    And some anecdotal stuff too:

    I decided not to pursue a degree in Computer Science 15 years ago because my first programming class was entirely male except for me, and I spent the semester either being ignored, excluded from the study group that was the ENTIRE CLASS, or being repeatedly told by the other students in a joking or apologetic manner that women didn’t have the innate ability for logic required. (!?)

    I was not willing to put up with that bullcrap. So while I absolutely had the math and science scores to back up a career in a STEM field, the environment was toxic. (I had also considered engineering, but after hearing it was all male with similar attitudes, I declined.) The problem is that sort of thing is invisible to the people that perpetrate it – women included. (as cited above.)

    So I went into art instead. There are days I consider going back into science, but I am not particularly enthused about the amount of time it would take to relearn all that math.

    • Jm Mac

      The links are pressure-group data; cherry picked “science”. …Dismissed out of hand; Sorry love.

      Your anecdote is anecdote but I’ll accept it. But that gets us into…

      “equality” or “fair” or “freedom”, etc, etc talk is purely dependent on the relative perception of variably-bred perspectives AND is lofty platitude that only works on the anti reality cults (_”party” matter not at all_) that america (and brit) Christendum created.

      The feminist litany of “oppressions” [tm], etc is rooted in baseless **utopian ism lens which ignores that life simply sucks by nature…

      The litany doesn’t demonstrate that the males have it better. The litany simply demonstrates…

      A) that males experience different facts of nature that suck (and males complain less about them and will be helped along less for complaining –that is a fact of nature that sucks for them).

      B) the list creator’s sexism against males.

      [**The baseless nonsense (eg blank slate) is made possible by utopianism created by the previous christian breaking with reality.

      The christian inability to deal with liberal tactics or understand comparative naturalism let it all snowball and stew and become a hard to reason with and oust cult (and that horrible _ever and ever more "RE interpretable"_ US constitution and instinctive male conformity doesn't help).

      Liberal tactics that stymie Christians: epistemology argumentation and complexity sophistry-- "everything is relative perception" and "nurture syndrome".]

      Consider this:

      Would a man ever be able to live off a woman and just have sex everyday as his chore and then get money sent to him by her each month in that women’s house after he kicks her out?

      Only *hot-potatoes* can be rearranged to make the facts of nature *less
      fair* for someone else. _Not equal._ Therefore it is not just “hate” to fight back against these hot potatoes being placed on one’s lap.

      The very act of trying to rearrange the hot potatoes of life sucking destroys the whole premise of freedom from… discrimination, sexism, “Mis-”, etc, etc.

      The very act of looking at society like the article –and feminism’s society wide zeitgeist –does is anti-male sexism and discrimination and relativism /confirmation bias etc.

      Just because Christians (stubborn anti science, anti philosophy /anti logic uneducated colonial people) were unable to grapple with that and throw it back as contest TO liberal take over doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be grappled with.

      The words (inferior and property) only mean something in male vs male battles over status.

      Ie women are not simply loser males. They are ‘specialists’ with plenty of leverage and privileges of their own that loser males don’t have.

      And female sexual value is the catalyst for the male vs male battle –and loss– in the first place.

      What we call wimmins “emancipation” is actually *more disposablity for men* in a bigger caste of have and have not access to female _ever-more
      expensive_ fidelity and reproduction.

      Biology 101. …The ugly truth that america hates (party _matters not

      • Jm Mac

        Everybody doesn’t get to be equal in all categories. Darwinism 101.

        It is a question of what arena the variations are born into. (Arena selects its champion; the other vartiartions become ‘oppressed’.)

        Feminism (rather the snowball of history) has pushed more males outside the success-pale and made the winner males (capitalists and occas rare rock stars) nothing but step and fetch it simpletons.

      • IanB

        The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports in 2012 that men (married or never-married) work 10% more hours (44 hrs) than married women (40 hrs) and 4% more than never-married women in full-time jobs. Without overtime pay, men should then earn 10% more.

  • Dean Harris

    To whom this might concern,
    I believe this article is one sided and not looking at the whole.
    What I have seen in just the media alone especially commercials make dad’s
    men, look as though they are stupid, and childish constantly.
    We have had a society that has made the white male feel like they are the prejudice ones that just because what happened years ago the white male is the same, prejudice, and childish. I see very little encouragement or exhortation in any environment whether it is school, or media, colleges, job situations. Many of the leftist who have pushed their agenda of hating the whites, making the family based on a man, woman and maybe children some kind of monster or archaic. There are very few media output that encourage the traditional family structure, of course we can forget about of the many underground groups such as communists, marxists, socialists who push their agenda’s of subversion to destroy the traditional family. We have had in last 40 years of these leftists getting into the school systems, and colleges who pervert society, make the family structure as though it where ridiculous and archaic. I see more negative feeds in media because of the brain washing the left does and it has been done incrementally, here a little there a little.
    This is not a comment that women are not capable of any of these jobs they are perfectly capable and knowledgeable but that is not what is really happening in American society. The goal of these groups are very deceptive, to tear down the male, and the family.

  • Jm Mac

    When there are male losers at bottom they can’t sue claiming it is systemic bias against “losers” (unless there is an actual underclass socialist coup, which I advocate). When females are at bottom –for the same reasons men are: under performance (for the 1001 reasons some people under perform)– they sue claiming gender discrimination (rather than ‘loser’ discrimination) _despite fact there are high performing females at top._

    This leads to radical INequality in the outcomes.

    This is true for justice system too, with its nurture syndrome excuses mitigating female perp culpability. These nurture syndrome excuses should apply to men too but they don’t.

    Result is INequality in the outcome.

    It is like this throughout most categories of society.

    The reason? *Female sexual value*(sperm egg ratio) which has selected for tendency to see females as deserving and men as disposable competitive threats. Ie bio determinism.

    The sociology and wimmins studies depts can hee and haw about that all they want.

    But that “outrage” doesn’t trump what we know about comparative zoology, biology AND neurology.

    If indeed there is some elaborate complex reason that females don’t get out of the starting gate as fast well so be it. But that comes under the heading of “blue classroom vs pink classroom” (ie males do better in one, females in the other).

    Society CAN re script its facets (classrooms or jobs etc) to benefit one type or the other. But why should we allow our competitive arenas to become the kinds that benefit the “female way of doing things” (which will stunt male speed out ‘the gate), when the males need the status positions more than the females do (since females demand more price for reproduction than males do)?

    Not to mention, turning society’s “facets” into something new based on sexual-outcome predictions is *sexism*. I thought feminism was against that.

    Feminism is the peculiar form of sexism where female sexism isn’t deemed such.

    Also changing the world into the “pink [classroom/workplace/military]” (along with being “2 wrongs make a right” philosophy, since it will do to males what feminists claim was done to females) is *moving the goal post* of the original argument of feminism. Ie 1st wavers didn’t say “we have to change standards and systems so as to let females compete fairly”. It said “females are the same (or better) and all they need are “opportunities.” Now we know that is incorrect: females need special considerations (which are created by sexist lensing of situations females enter). And these considerations are the same chivalry of Victorianism re costumed into the new vocabulary of feminist zeitgeist.

    And again: this is all bio determinism. Whether ancient male tribalists are fighting bears to protect the breeders –with more male loss in the process– or men bob in water around Titanic or we simply put complex tarrifs on modern mens climbing the status ladder (which he must in order to balance out *female sex value*), it will always be higher male burden. …Until gender is eliminated through technology.

    And then females are going to get “what they wished for.”

    • Mary Smith

      I find it bemusing that the most hostile, abusive, misogynist point of view possible — while staying just this side of advocating direct violence against women — is still considered worthy of passing through the moderator’s gate. How far have we NOT come in facing down the endemic sexism of our patriarchal culture?

  • Sodesky

    I was in college in the 70s, when there was a big push for women engineers. I enrolled, and was one of a very few women in those classes. I was made to feel very unwelcome and somewhat unsafe, both by other students and some professors. Dropped that, became a teacher instead, then later a nurse. Now I work in genetic disorders research.

    • IanB

      Sodesky wrote ” I was made to feel very unwelcome and somewhat unsafe, both by other students and some professors.”

      What male doesn’t feel unwelcomed in engineering school or at work? Many men dropout because engineering is difficult. Majors such as Education and Nursing are easier.

      Were you threatened or did you have a paranoia about working in a lab alone at night?

  • Thomas Collins

    “These choices could be due to social structures that are pervasive and lifelong and that are shaping their preferences and ideas about what girls do versus what boys do.”

    It’s absolutely incredible that we have sociologists who attempt to attribute homosexuality to “genetic differences” betweeen heterosexual and homosexual men, but that the differences between men and women are a “social construct”! Do you believe me or your lying eyes?

  • faultroy

    I cannot believe I am reading this. I’m appalled that after all the work and money devoted to bringing women into the work force, we are still hearing the same whine. If you look at the statistics published by the Dept of Labor and the Census Bureau, you would find: 1) 94% of all educators in K-12 and below are women. 2) 96% of all Health care workers are women. 3) 66% of public sector employees are women. 4) 56% of all the state and Federal Judiciary is comprised of women. 5)The majority of low, middle managers are women. 6) 84% of all Guidance Counselors, Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists are women. 7) The majority of Entrepeneurs are women (54%). Yet we still read these byzantine articles about women being “marginalized.” If you asked the average aware citizen which are the three most dysfunctional job sectors in the economy, most people would say: Government, Healthcare and Education–all fields overwhelmingly dominated by women. If women are so concerned about “inclusion,” why are they(women) not having a hissy fit about the fact that so much of the major job sectors are dominated by women? I mean, when the overwhelming majority of Health Care, Education, Government, Mental Health, and Healthcare are women–why are they not protesting these incredible disparities–you know because theses sectors were so “:deleterious” BEFORE women got into the work sectors. Put another way: if it was bad when “men” were the dominant gender, why is it not “bad” now that “women” are the dominant gender in these critical job sectors?
    What we are really talking about is an arrogant form of feminine privilege in which one gender seems to feel they have a “constitutional right” to an advantage.
    I am flummoxed that this conversation even comes up. If you are in a STEM job sector and you are unhappy–leave–don’t whine and complain–you’ve supposedly have to tools, education and intelligence to build a better mouse trap–do it–leave. By the same token, substantial statistical information exists to show that many women–as others have indicated–put their personal lives and priorities ahead of their jobs. Nothing wrong with that–however you have to understand that I as an employer am not interested in investing major money, time, energy and responsibility into someone that will decide at some point–WHENEVER IT IS CONVENIENT TO HER–that she is bored or finds that her biological clock is ticking and now she wants to play the human equivalent of a COW. While crude, it does make a valid point–the business that you work for is there for a reason–to make money–not to be your personal vehicle for self actualization. It may very well be the people are being promoted over you at these technical facilities because your superiors know that your priorities are not in line with THEIR priorities. Capitalism–by its very nature is both ruthless and predatory. This means that businesses in order to survive must either compete or ultimately die. They are not in the business of being your vehicle for life fulfillment. When you go to a job, you are hired because of what YOU can give to them–not what they can give to you.
    In the medical field the big news is that we are getting female doctors that opt out early for child rearing. There is nothing inherently wrong with this except the fact that society invests enormous resources into producing doctors. The problem is that there are only so many slots available. When we give them to females and they opt out early to be mommies, it causes a shortage of doctors and it means that a male–that was interested in hanging in there well into retirement and possibly beyond– loses a space. As a society, we cannot afford this.
    As a consequence, what we desperately need is accurate unbiased information and data as to just what we are getting in real value and return on the hundreds of millions invested annually in trying to bring women into other areas of STEM. The question should be–”is it worth the investment?” What is the point of all this effeminate hand wringing?” “Who really benefits from literally attempting to push more women into STEM?”–and “what are the real costs and benefits?”
    Our governmental statistics indicates that for all the money we have spent in bringing women into major job sectors–it has not paid off in any way. The job sectors have gotten worse. We see more corruption, cronyism, backroom deals, dysfunction and largesse than we had before. In lower education, we manage only to graduate 58% of all children in four years of high school. We rank about 23rd in International studies of student competency. What we should be asking ourselves is “just how much intellectual and actual value has our society received by bringing women into the workforce for the past 50 years? Has it paid off? We now have 20% of eligible males(between the ages of 18-29) unable to find work and chronically unemployed.
    Rather than whining about whether women are or are not marginalized etc, we should be telling them to use their inherent talents and strike out on their own. We don’t need more automatons but highly intelligent, fluid, educated and competent people that have the ability to either work as a team or go out on their own if they feel they are not given the space to excel.

    • Mary Smith

      Yes, we get it: MRA nuts = good; women = bad. Meh.

    • IanB

      Excellent post. Why put all the effort into pushing girls/women into fields of study with a low yield when a fraction of that effort could be used to move boys from 2 year degrees at technical schools to 4 year engineering degrees?

  • shems

    As a female engineer, I do think that there are still cultural reasons that women are not choosing STEM careers. Things are most definitely better than they were years ago, but there is still obstacles that women face in these fields. I have personal examples.

    I was asked to be the “recorder” in my groups in school, even though I protested that I had messy handwriting (It was the only subject I didn’t receive an “A” for in grade school). It isn’t that big of an issue to be asked to be the recorder, but it is one example of the differences women do face in this field. I did very well in college and graduated with honors.

    My job went very well at first, but then I had to work for a manager that only assigned me paper work and secretarial tasks. I discovered technical challenges on our projects, but the follow up work was always assigned to someone else.

    Finally, I transferred out of the department. My current manager recognized within months of working with me that I had been marginalized in my previous position (his words). He promoted me two levels, and now I am one of the “go-to” technical people in my department.

    I am very secure and happy in my workplace now, but there were times that I did not think it was worth it, and I talked to my friends about possibly finding a job outside of engineering because I wasn’t sure my career was going to advance.

    • trueblue

      that’s exactly it – women have to find valuable mentors because to too many of our co-workers – women equal convenient lesser thens to use as pawns in their career advancement.
      heck with that – I get paid well, I speak up and I learned how to listen a lot better than the majority of those co-worker peers – guess what, a more balanced approach? makes you BETTER AT IT.
      so there are reasons that women advance ingreater numbers into management and leadership roles – because teaming is much more important these days than caveman one-upmanship.

    • dungone

      Stories like this are common for everyone – men and women. I always get this sense that some people (men and women alike) in these fields feel as though respect and self-actualization should be handed to them on a silver platter. It’s especially a problem for intelligent people who have been put on a pedestal throughout their grade school and college educations only to realize that real life is a never-ending struggle to get out from under incompetent buffoons who single-handedly try to squash your career goals. When business schools and management gurus actually feel compelled to teach people how to manage those who are more intelligent than themselves, you know that there’s something more going wrong than just simple sexism:

  • jen

    As a female Actuary, I see many young women entering my field each year. True, 30 years ago there weren’t that many female Actuaries, but not so today. I believe that there is some truth to the fact that women that want to have a family choose jobs and industries that allow them to take time off to have babies, such as teaching. Although my industry is supportive and non-discriminating against females seeking entry-level support, there are less women in the leadership positions like many other industries. Part of this is due to work-life balance issues, as well as the fact that these jobs tend to pay well, and most families can survive on a single six-figure income. The majority of my colleagues (80%+) are white males/females, with asian males/females comprising a very small minority of the office. Not really handing out too many H-1B visas, as there are plenty of qualified American workers to fill these jobs.

    I graduated from a world-class university in the mid-90s and I didn’t experience any sex-bias during my time there. My math classes were about 80% female, while my engineering and science classes had around 40% females. Although I was a minority in some classes, it wasn’t an obstacle to me finding a job or achieving any level of professional success. Being an attractive (for a math nerd) female, men were always including me in their study groups. I think the discrimination many are complaining about has to be from decades past, as I didn’t experience that.

    As my children are school age now, I am actively seeking new opportunities so that I can spend more time with them. My work is very challenging, so I enjoy that, but I would like to have more time to help them with their homework and shuttling them to theirs sports and activities. My husband doesn’t have that desire, and he isn’t in a STEM career. He was raised to believe that was all the moms responsibility, which is the gender discrimination (societal) that is harder to overcome.

  • L

    I’m a female in a tech job. If I point out a problem, it gets ignored until one of the guys points it out. Only *then* does it get acted upon. I’m told that I’m too polite and need to be more assertive to be heard. Then I’m told I’m too assertive and need to back off. After that, I’m too quiet. I’m too direct. I don’t get to the point quickly enough. I’m too involved in what’s going on around me and need to focus solely on my assigned duties. I’m too focused on my own work – I need to pay attention to my environment and collaborate more with my coworkers. I need to ask questions instead of reinventing the wheel. I need to stop asking questions and figure stuff out on my own. No matter how I handle a situation, it’s always wrong.

    We have to keep someone on site at all times so when there’s a group lunch, I’m the one left behind. Guys will go up and down the row inviting people by name, “Hey, Joe, lunch time. Fred, c’mon.” I’m always left out. (Well, but you’re so good at multitasking you’re the best choice at holding down the fort during lunch!)

    I had a coworker (who’s going into management!) tell me that women don’t want/shouldn’t get any social networking opportunities. After all, at the end of the day all women want to do is go home and take care of their families. Guys, on the other hand, have been working hard all day so they deserve to take a few hours off, go hang out at a bar somewhere and talk shop, before they have to go home.

    My current employer, with all of the “we respect all of our employees” platitudes, isn’t exactly a bastion of female friendliness. I’ve had coworkers yell things like, “Yes! We really raped that b*tch!” when they got a piece of code to work. Guys routinely walk in saying, “Hey, whassup b*tches and hos?” Managers, if they need someone to help on a project, will ask, “Hey, who’s going to be my b*tch today?” I was harassed for months by a Director after asking him politely if he would stop walking into the middle of the area and belching as loudly as he could. He thought it funny to repeatedly accuse me of reporting him to HR, and to do so loudly enough so multiple departments could hear him every time. (The joys of open work spaces.)

    I went to a training class on how to conduct hiring interviews for technical positions. Most of the class were managers. All the managers were white males. Several times during the training, the HR rep said, “Make sure you hire the right kind of person. Skills aren’t as important as making sure you get someone who will fit well on the team.” At no point did the trainer talk about diversity or the perils of group think.

    If you’re a female with kids, employers and coworkers look down on you because they assume you’ll constantly be taking time off for your kids. If you’re a female without kids, you have to put in a lot of extra time to show you’re a team player while your male coworkers keep taking time off because they’re enlightened dads with kids to take care of. If you suggest that maybe, just maybe, being hired and paid for a 40 hour work week means you shouldn’t be working more than 50 hours a week, you’re told that just means you can’t handle the work load.

    And people wonder why women don’t stay around in tech jobs?

    To address items brought up by other posters:

    Women as breeding cows. Only women can’t be relied upon to stay on the job once hired. It’s not like guys ever go on paternity leave, take sabbaticals, quit to go work elsewhere, etc. Nope, just them evil cows spitting out their calves. Yeah, no signs of hostility here.

    “Our governmental statistics indicates that for all the money we have spent in bringing women into major job sectors–it has not paid off in any way. ” Actually, that’s not true from what I’ve read. Studies show that firms with women in higher level positions have more stable profits and an overall higher profit margin. Firms that are dominated by men will have some years with far higher returns, but overall lower profits.

    On corruption, again, I’ve read the opposite – that bringing women on drives down corruption. I won’t claim that this happens because women are more virtuous than men. I think part of it is because women are still outsiders and are less likely to be cut in on the deals so the corruption gets reported. Also, having women on teams brings in new perspectives so practices get re-examined.

    By bringing women in, men are at 20% unemployment so therefore we’ve had a net loss. 1) 50% of women are working now. If that 50% influx caused 20% to lose their jobs, that means we’ve still had a 30% gain. How is that a bad thing? 2) Do you really believe that all 20% of those men would be employed otherwise? Do we throw out 50% of the workforce on the off chance that the 20% may be able to get jobs? 3) Do you believe that the 50% of women employed are *all* less qualified than the 20% of men who are unemployed or are you advocating that those jobs go to less qualified candidates (the 20% unemployed men) just because of their gender?

    Homosexuals vs. heterosexuals, men vs. women, genetics vs. culture. Yes, there are a genetic and/or environmental factors that causes homosexuality. There are some physical characteristics that are more common among homosexuals such as left-handedness (30% for homosexuals vs. 10% for heterosexuals) and finger length (lesbians tend to have different ratios than heterosexual women). That does not mean that all homosexuals are left handed. Some employment fields have a higher percentage of homosexuals than average, such as the theater. That doesn’t mean that there is a genetic component that makes homosexuals great actors. It means that because there are already a large number of homosexuals in that field, other homosexuals feel more comfortable trying to get jobs in that field because they’re less likely to be discriminated against.

    Men vs. women. Not many people state that they’re interchangeable. What is said is that much of what is considered “male behavior ” or “female behavior” is due to socialization. Studies used to “prove” that males and females were different even at birth, that male babies were more physically active while female babies were more emotional. Recent studies have found that babies dressed in blue are perceived to display male behaviors while babies dressed in pink show female behaviors regardless of the actual gender of the child. The same baby would be perceived to have very different behaviors depending on what gender the baby supposedly had. By the same observers.

    Additionally, there’s a huge bias towards men. What is characterized as male behavior is seen as the norm, even if it’s less effective. (Studies show that “female” behaviors are more effective for managing employees yet “male” ones are still the most common.) If a woman acts in a “feminine” way in the work force then she needs to change her behavior. On the flip side, if she does act “masculine” then she’s seen as acting in an unnatural way and may be punished for it. (“You’re too nice; you need to be more aggressive to make it in this company” followed by “You’re being a b*tch. You need to learn to be nice.”)

    Yes, there are physical differences which can account for some general differences between men and women, such as physical strength and testosterone, but what’s true overall doesn’t mean anything for individuals. On average, a man can bench press more than a woman. On the other hand, a female professional weight lifter will out bench press the average guy. It’s one thing to state that a job requires someone who can lift 75 pounds so most women wouldn’t be able to do that job. It’s quite another to state that since most women can’t lift 75 pounds, no women will be considered for the job.

    The choice of careers is not due to genetic differences. Conveniences stores in the U.S. are disproportionately owned by South Asian immigrants. Landscaping services are disproportionately Latino owned. This isn’t due to genetics; it’s due to socialization and opportunities. Early on, a few Indian immigrants did well with conveniences stores so when others immigrated, they followed the same business path because it was proven to work for their fellow expats. As well, it was easier for them to socially network and get good advise from those who came from the same background they did. What’s true for immigrants is also true for women. Most ended up in the same few professions because those were the few that had women role models and mentors. Even in most of the 1900s, women were very restricted in their job opportunities so of course what few careers were open to them were filled with women.

    If women flock to careers in teaching because of the hours involved, the low physical stress, etc., then that’s fine. It’s not fine, though, if they’re taking teaching positions because they’re harassed in other professions and teaching is one of the few safe professions for them. Not only do we need more women in tech positions, we need more men in teaching positions and other “female” professions. (I’ve heard guys complain about being harassed by other guys for being nurses, for example.) There really aren’t “female” or “male” professions and to try to force people into jobs by gender is to limit their potential.

    • Sparky

      L – I can’t even get past your first paragraph. AMEN! I feel the same way. I cannot win. I’m encouraged to do something by my superior, so I do it, then I am completely undermined. Do this. Do the opposite of this. Do that. Don’t do that. Give me a break. If you don’t know what you want or have a vision, step aside, but don’t make me your scapegoat. I have plenty energy available for productive work, but not game playing or second-guessing matches.

    • Jane

      You hit it. I was an Officer in the (US) Army Reserve. Masters in Statistics. Amateur Jazz Percussionist. My professional life now is zero, for all the reasons you so clearly articulated. I hope my daughters find a friendlier environment, but, to my eyes, it’s getting worse as we go on.

    • JustLiberty

      If you are of minority class ‘X’ in a group filled with majority class ‘Y’ and your ideas are seemingly ignored until a Y brings them up… you just might be experiencing what many (especially younger, less experienced people) experience: their ideas seem to be ignored until someone more trusted brings them up. And of course, sometimes it is the very person in charge, the one who originally ignore your idea, that successfully brings it up. It doesn’t mean that it is their Y-ness that causes this. It might just be people being stupid people.

    • Lena

      ” Guys will go up and down the row inviting people by name, “Hey, Joe, lunch time. Fred, c’mon.” I’m always left out.”

      That’s absolutely right. In my last job, there were spontaneous group projects that sprung up and the few women that worked in my department were never invited. There, if you were “a girl” then you just didn’t fit in the male heirarchy. All the men knew where they were on the “pole,” but they just couldn’t place women. It was like you were an alien. And this was still true as of my last job.

    • Kris Farnsworth

      The behavior described is exactly how I have been treated on occasion or even treated other people that I’ve worked with. It has zero to do with me being male or them being female (usually.. I’ll get to that in a sec) and much more to do with me just not wanting to be around them or they around me.
      The one example I can think of why I WOULD act this way around a female BECAUSE she is female is due to the problem with sexual harassment. Why should I put myself in a situation by socializing with a female co-worker (at lunch as an example) and risk having her or someone else make sexual harassment allegations when I can simply ignore that individual instead? This example is the same as the first portion of my statement in the way that this is typically a reaction to specific people rather than something to do with females in general (at least for me).

      Another potential issue that I could see is that males may be intimidated by attractive and intelligent co-workers and don’t wish to do anything inappropriate but by being around that person they feel uncomfortable because of their attraction to her. Such as the story with the dentist that fired his attractive assistant due specifically because of his attraction to her.
      There is a very fine line between being nice and harassment and some people are crazy. Do you want to take the chance that this is the crazy one or will you just avoid that person and hope for the best?

      I’m not saying that NO ONE is biased, but what I’m saying is that I think that people generally see what they expect to see and if you are expecting to be dismissed simply because of your sex then every behavior that is contrary to what YOU want is automatically viewed as being against you not because they dislike (or disagree with) you but because of your sex (race/religion/age/etc). Due to this common psychological phenomenon it may seem to be a bigger problem than it actually is. If you’re sensitive about being old then its age discrimination. If you’re a minority and feel like everyone is out to get you then that is what you will perceive. You can literally put ANYTHING in this place and have the same perception. I’m (gay, divorced, skinny, fat, ugly, stupid, black, hispanic, asian, white, female, old, young, drug addict, ex con, liberal arts major) and because of this reason I’m being ostracized. Typically I think this is the exact reason why people avoid you: you think you’re being discriminated against… and you act that way (even if you don’t realize it). People will avoid you just because of those behaviors when they notice an out of place reaction to a common situation that you may not even be aware of doing.

      • Diagoras

        That is silly. Men are not worried about being accused of sexual harassment by inviting a woman coworker to a GROUP lunch. It’s a group lunch after all, plenty of witnesses and so forth. As for attractions, if it’s a GROUP lunch, then obviously there is not going to be an opportunity for the man to stupidly make a move and get rejected unless he is so stupid he is willing to ask her out in front of other coworkers in which case his judgement is so poor he doesn’t deserve a job.

        • Kris Farnsworth

          Sure… maybe if the individuals rarely work together. When working with someone on a daily basis for years then it can become an issue. You can’t tell me that you are never in a situation where it is just you and one or two other individuals on occasion because everyone it out doing something else. There will be times and places where it comes down to “he said, she said”. If it didn’t there wouldn’t be so many law suits that come down to reputation because there is no proof on either party’s side.
          To be honest it is silly… but when people act crazy you will frequently get unexpected and/or exaggerated responses. Its human nature. If you had to deal with the crazy stalker guy/gal once already, are you going to continue to put yourself in a situation where you have to deal with more guys/gals like that? Or are you going to avoid those individuals like the plague? Clearly most people are going to choose the latter option.

          • Diagoras

            What does that have to do with inviting someone to a group social outing? In any case, if I have a crazy stalker I avoid the crazy stalker, not all coworkers of the same sex as the stalker.

        • lost64

          I have been worried about my intentions being misunderstood when setting up a small group lunch before.

  • Chen Sun,

    Watch the movie “Queen of Versailles”, a hilarious documentary about a beauty queen who earned an engineering degree, went to work for IBM, saw her manager with a counter for counting the number of days before his retirement, and then decided beauty is worth more than brains, went into modeling, and then married a wealthy older man.

    Initially, the movie documentator wanted to show how this rich couple over-consumed, but then the financial meltdown occurred, and the resulting movie is truly an amazing reality comedy about how she, for examples, sets a warehouse-store to sell her items, her children asking where were the chauffers for their airport rental cars, how she cuts expenses by reducing household servants from 7 to 2, etc… She’s a talented reality-star.

    Anyhow, the moral of the movie is:
    Yes, there are societal rewards (and pressures) for women to perform in certain ways.
    Though these societal pressures harm many women’s careers, some women prefer it this way.

    • Lena

      Umm… The moral of this story is that women are so underpaid and under-regarded in the sciences that they are still better off marrying rich men than they are by trying for a legit career.

      And, believe me, after 30 years in the workplace, I am now in the legal process with my last employer who didn’t pay or promote women equally and tolerated sexual harassment. After all these years, the only thing that has changed is me. This time I filed a complaint and took it to court instead of tolerating it.

  • trentamj

    I worked for almost 20 years in IT as a male who had both male and female supervisors. I also had male and female trainees to whom I imparted the same necessary knowledge to succeed in as close to the same manner as possible: quickly. One the best fellow problem-solvers I ever knew, the one whose collaboration or assistance I most frequently sought, was a very technically-experienced Latina. Working with her was both informative and fun, as her wit and wisdom made long hours less painful. Just over a year after meeting her, she was promoted to a team leader, and EVERYONE believed that pick was one of the few wise moves management EVER made. What I have just described happened in a bank, a major financial institution with nationwide presence, almost 10 years ago. I just don’t know what ancient “Chronicles of Narnia” sources some people are mining as the bases of their plaints, but I almost certain that they are of a “Mississippi Burning” vintage. With all that I have read today, I am certain that Rear Admiral Grace Hopper would has rolled over in her grave…several times over!

  • greckos

    why shouldn’t women avoid STEM careers? Men are better at STEM than women, in every instance. can you imagine having to take advice from a woman engineer? she’d try and build a bridge and it would probably collapse within a week. you want quality work that’s done right? you always go to a man. women just screw things up because they are inherently inferior to men.

    • Sparky

      I have to believe that you wrote this just to get a reaction. All the same, you are a juvenile, and idiot, and I’ll bet your wife left you for the pool boy.

  • Sparky

    I chose a stem career. Many $K in debt later, and I still have a paltry paycheck. I am quite competent, organized, linear thinking, and I operate by integrity. That last part may be part of the problem. Sexism and discrimination are alive and thriving. I never thought I would say anything like that, but I do find it to be true. Rather than value all contributions, and play fairly, employers seem more interested in exploiting differences.

  • IT-Dept-we’reyourbeeches

    “L” says: I’m a female in a tech job. If I point out a problem, it gets ignored until one of the guys points it out. Only *then* does it get acted upon.”

    Well, I worked for years in IT at a morally questionable time-share business on the I-35 corridor in Dallas, with mostly men in the small IT department. The sales teams were run by very assertive and talented women with bigger-than-life personalities.

    One location with a certain type of computers in Galveston was always going down; when I (a man)suggested a change that would remedy the problem, it was ignored. I convinced a woman in sales to suggest the same idea, and to be careful not to let anyone know it was my idea. She submitted and it within minutes it was implemented. The computers stopped going offline every time there was a storm in Galveston. I didn’t care about getting credit, but we men knew the secret from then on: Tell a woman in the company and let her submit it as her own idea. That’s how we get it done. That’s the difference. The men want results, change, functionality. The women can have the glory if we can get rid of the gripe.

    Some men apply the same principle in marriage. If his wife doesn’t like an idea, he just agrees with her and waits six months or a year for her to come up with it “on her own.” Under no circumstances should you ever let on that it was your idea.

    Our network administrator spent hours researching the best performance PC desktop workstations for the manager of an entire department. In the end, she shelved his suggestion and opted for the PC’s that “matched the décor.” of their offices. Hey, no problem; stupid computer decisions mean more job security for us. Thanks, ladies who watch Nate.

    I noted a problem that was slowing down the network for months and reported it to my superiors. Only when a woman pointed it out, did anything serious get done about it.

    Well, “L”, I imagine you’re smarter than most women OR men (even if “haled” should be “hailed” in your example). But you and women as a class don’t have a monopoly on being ignored. Bright people of all classes are overlooked all the time, and if you’re unhappy with the corporate culture as you perceive it in your current employer, find another one. That’s what I did.

  • Bruce

    Females in these male dominated classrooms get extra coaching and tutoring from the male professors. They seem genuinely more with it in their studies, than your typical lug nut. Therefore, they can buy the next round, at the bar.

  • Paul g.

    Another brilliant article indicating the possibility that men and women are different and may want different things. The author seems to feel there is a great conspiracy behind this. The real problem, in my opinion, is that women OUTLIVE men by about 7 years. Seven ! Seven years is a lot of months and days. (I’m just a math-challenged man.) But I know its a long, long time and you can murder somebody and not even go to prison that long ! That’s a long time the average gal gets to live that the average guy doesn’t. That ain’t fair. That’s way worse than any glass ceiling ! That’s a life ceiling ! And…its been going on a long time and is clearly the result of bias and prejudice. Now there’s your juicy conspiracy and I (as a disadvantaged, life-shortened man) demand government programs. Yes, make them longevity hogging gals ride hi-power motorcycles, make them smoke, bring back the draft for women only, cut all medical spending to all those feminine over-achievers in lifespan. Like the author says: the good news is that its easy to fix ! All government medical resources and research should be focused immediately at equalizing this ultimate ‘playing field.’ Billions and Trillions to male medical research…not so much to the greedy long-livers. Maybe forcible, mandatory, organ transplants from females to men ? I don’t want to get draconian but we all know the only reason men and women are different in life-spans is unfair societal influences. They, and the over-living female life-gluttons must get on the fairness bandwagon. I need to live longer or they need to kick off sooner so we can get fair and equal. Let’s start where all men get 7 (SEVEN) years off work, paid, for mortality equalization compensation time off. After all, if a man’s life is to be short-changed by seven long years then those greedy women ought to support him getting quality time off during his few years left. For those men and their off-spring we must also now seriously discuss historical reparations…a tax on women. You can’t tax the victims here.

    • Jm Mac

      Correct solutions.

      Government polices are needed. Tarrifs and privileges should be imposed to balance out gender imbalance…

  • jenny

    I am thinking that the person who said there was no evidence of gender bias, (Don, pjay) is not a female in the sciences because seriously I do not know any woman who in the sciences who didn’t at the least experience something. In high school my dumber science partner would copy my work, such as the time we were modeling something on individual computers. The science teacher grabbed his hand and said we have a winner! Even when someone else corrected him (by seeing that my model had already completed) he didn’t correct his announcement. Or when I received a 100%, saying “I don’t know how THIS happened”. Or the blatant; my sister’s math teacher refusing to give her a recommendation to U of Chicago, because as he so logically explained he didn’t want a girl going to his alma mater (she was accepted, but as she only had that one math teacher for a recommendation she withdrew her application). In grad school there was a older man whose field I was interested in pursuing, but was told by him that he wasn’t taking any students. The following year he accepted a (male) student. It was a small satisfaction when I took his higher level course I was the best student in the class (including his own graduate student). I was told helpfully in grad school that I could do 1 thing well, 2 things mediocrely, and 3 things not at all, with the three things being career, marriage, and children. Needless to say, this same saying was not told to the male graduate students. But most of all it is the subtle things. When a female student suggests something, it is ignored, but when a male student says the same thing, it is seized upon. Another common malady is a female student is trying to be a pleaser and more accepting of grunt work. This squeezes out doing the more higher level work that is absolutely critical.
    My daughter is bright and talented in both verbal and nonverbal (science and maths). I do want to expose her to all kinds of learning. But will I push her to pursue a hard science career over something else that makes her equally happy that she can support herself in? Part of me wants to support women in science. But I selfishly want my daughter to do what makes her most happy, which may or may not be in a stem discipline.

  • Mary Smith

    Despite being employed in a STEM career for a quarter century now, I cannot recommend it to most women. It has been an extremely difficult and isolating experience for me. If I had it to do over, I would choose a different path. The hostility I have experienced from males in the field — a near-complete unwillingness to just relax and talk shop with me, to collaborate as equals — has made each day more isolating than the last. I have had a few collegial working relationships with men — most notably with much-younger married men who see me as almost a maternal figure rather than “the competition”, but overall I have to say that rather than seeing me as someone on the same team, most men I work with see me as a threat, someone to be vanquished. It is not for the faint of heart.

    • Richard Flores

      To just relax you said? How can men relax around women in a male heavy profession if women make the environment in a job place toxic by threatening to go to HR for any little thing they judge to be offensive all the time.
      I hope that is not the case in your situation.
      I work in a STEM field. From my personal experience and observation the females that get along well are those that are not constantly going around looking to be offended by something. Many times I or a male colleague are having a conversation amongst guys and if a certain female is within earshot and overhears something she doesn’t like (like a vulgarity, off color humor, or anything) she will come up to us and say “you know I can take you to HR for talking like that” or “if I hear you talking like that again I am going to the manager”. Women like that ruin it for other females who come in because we have to walk on eggshells basically until we can determine whether you are with us or against us.
      I have seen firsthand that a good looking female who is in a STEM career enjoys, and takes advantage of being the center of male attention (nothing wrong with that).
      I remember one time talking to an older female at my job about a work related issued over a project we were working on and she reprimanded me for using the ‘f’ word (which I constantly use and not ashamed of) like I was some child. She said she had a “cuss free zone”?????? Needless to say that was the last time I spoke to her. Never in my career had that happened and how not surprising that it was a female who was the first. That is not the way to get along with men in a STEM field ladies, and if you threaten a male colleague with HR don’t be surprised if you find males walking on eggshells around you and wondering why you don’t have more workplace acquaintances.

  • Lisa C

    I’m a women who has been an engineer for almost 30 years. I had some off-putting experiences in college and grad school (one professor would sit very, very close almost on top of girls that went to his office hours) and it was tough proving myself at my first few jobs because. Early in my career it did seem like my ideas got ignored until they were repeated by a male. However, recently I’ve got into a high tech company that has a number of women managers and VPs. The atmosphere is much improved. I would still encourage my daughters to go into a STEM field, as I find the work interesting and they are better at math and science than the humanities. I would, however, warn them to be very, very carefully about where they take a job.

  • James

    It sure sounds as if there is no need for study at all – everybody quoted in the article sounds as if they feel they already have it figured out. Obviously, they don’t – but that won’t stop them. Going into a question like this with a strong bias beforehand as to the problem and the likely solution is the hallmark of the liberal academic. Congratulations on simply raising an issue not to solve a problem, but simply to advance your agenda, it’s always clever when people do that.

  • Rene

    I am a female civil engineer, and I must concur with those of my peers who say the field is rewarding but not without stumbling blocks. I have worked in my field now for 10 years. I love my work, however there was a time when I worked under engineers who required me to do the administrative portion of the work and not the technical. If I caught a technical error, it was given to someone else to correct. My solution for that was to correct errors when I found them, then give the corrected work to management…eventually, they got it. It took a bit for them to realize I am more than just a skirt with legs and breast, I have a reliable brain as well. Now, I have more technical projects but I would be remised if I did not say I have all of the administrative reporting as well. Their response was, I have the best writing and grammatical skills for communicating! WHATEVER!! We all had to take Composition to get the degree. Bottom line is women in the STEM fields have progressed immensely, however there is a great distance to go. Good luck to you all, GO FOR IT.

  • Mary Smith

    I am a female engineer who has worked in aerospace engineering for 27 years. In college I never had a sense of inequity, but at work in many of the jobs I have had I have always felt I needed to work harder and smarter. Some men were hostile towards me although a vast majority are/were not. In my younger years I frequently made less than my male peers and felt I was perceived as less capable by many of my managers. At one point someone told me I was a good engineer for a woman. I had to move around more within my company to find situations where I was perceived as capable and was treated well. And a management change could upset the apple cart and require me to go find another position.

    Certainly one can take a look at a company when interviewing as ask how many women managers and executives are there. If it is less than 10% it is not a good sign. In engineering about 10-14% are women, this has not changed over the last decades. It is unfortunate as valuing diverse contributions makes companies stronger. Many companies are starting to figure this out and want to address it, but gender bias is a difficult issue.

    I would not recommend engineering as a career to young women unless they have pretty thick skin and are very adaptable. Also given the ratio of men to women in these fields it makes one more likely to be subject to bad male behavior. Work events/parties with 90% men and drinking should be avoided.

    I have also found that younger men are generally more open and supportive of women as equals in engineering, but some of the minority men are not. With the influx of male engineers from China and India there are enough men with pre-concieved notions about women’s roles and abilities that it has washed out much of the gains from the younger generation.

  • Patricia Gwenn Edwards

    As a woman who entered engineering & electronics higher education in 1974 and has kept going back to universities in this field, I must lay the blame on the instructors/teachers. I have been repeatedly humiliated as the only (or one of a few) female in a class in so many imaginative ways it boggles the mind. In 1968 I was denied entry to Physics as a female, in 1970 denied entrance to any engineering discipline by the University of Washington. In the ’90′s, I returned to this school and was again pressured out during affirmative action because I am a “white” female. Currently at U of S. Carolina updating my skills in computer science I am again faced with the same attitudes. The typical goal of professors is to dump 50% of their students in Eng’g, and the focus of the lazy professor is the female—regardless of capabilities.

    In the work place, however, there have been few problems — oh sure, I was asked to wear short shorts while demonstrating heavy machinery at the county fair & slapped on the backside occasionally in the ’70′s, but the general working population is incredibly respectful & caring of co-workers, no matter which sex you are.

    So, women, get your degrees. Working as an engineer is the most wonderful thing in the world. The public welcomes you and, as long as you don’t harbor a resentment, it’s all good out here. Some folks drink, some folks carouse, just like the rest of the world. Come on in, the water’s great!

  • Paul

    Here is an idea I would like all of you to ponder.

    I am a male working in the STEM sector. Throughout my career I have been subject to discrimination, professional bullying, inappropriate commentary regarding my personal beliefs, the stealing of my ideas by others, and general all around meanness.

    Males are inherently more outwardly aggressive (probably a mix of biological and societal), but they are, in general, taught and expected to be more thick skinned.

    I am in no way excusing this type of behavior. (A more balanced male/female ratio in the STEM sector jobs would provide me with much more job satisfaction and productivity and far less stress and anxiety. One of my best bosses was a younger female.) To the ladies who have been subjected to demeaning behavior, inappropriate comments and general all around lousy behavior I feel your pain because it has happened to me too. Maybe not in the same form as it happened to you, but it has happened to me and it has been intense.

    I have cried, I have had anxiety attacks, I have had countless times when I wanted to give up and do someting else – but in the end I have never given up because my “manhood” was on the line.

    This is how men are raised or at least how most men have been raised. Women are raised differently. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with how women have been raised, but please be honest with yourself, we do not raise young girls to be counter aggressive when faced with open hostility.

    I know I am probably not doing a good job of explaining things here…please be gentle with me.

    The underlying issue has nothing to do with women’s intelligence, ability, the fact that they may want to start a family or the other host of things mentioned here. The issue is how girls/women are raised to respond to open hostility.

    In a near all male environment, men operate in primate mode. Their base behavior tends to be animalistic. Their higher congintive thinking gets turned off and everything seems to revolve around pissing distance and genital size.

    If you want to increase women participation in STEM careers, you have two options: 1) arm girls with a counter agressive attitude or 2) neutralize the primate like environment.

    Option two is fraught with all types of peril and I am not sure how it can be done.

    Your best bet is option one. We have to teach girls to be assertive and how to give as good as they get.

    • Diagoras

      No way. It’s obvious we need to go with option 2. There is no excuse for open hostility in the workforce, and men are perfectly capable of acting like decent human beings when they know it is required of them.

      • Kris Farnsworth

        Yes, lets negate all of the behaviors that have driven men to the lead roles of society for the last few thousand years. That mentality has worked extremely well in the educational arena where boys have been steadily scoring more poorly year after year and less boys are going on to enter college due to a variety of changes to the school system that caters to the female elements while classifying boys as disruptive and generally discouraging boys to act like their physiology doesn’t have an impact on learning styles and rest/work cycles.
        The single biggest example of this is the rapidly diminishing recess times the children get during the school days now. Girls are less impacted by these changes due to their naturally more focused/less frenetically energetic natures while the impact on boys is readily apparent.
        I’m not saying that everything should be chest pounding, feet stomping brawls in the work place, but there are going to be times/places where aggressive behavior is going to be more prevalent and that isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Some jobs can benefit from that aggression. Clearly you don’t want your daycare workers acting this way, but its perfectly normal for day traders to be more aggressive and more likely to take risks in order to maximize a perceived potential profit. It really shouldn’t have to be said, but obviously this is a reasonable amount of aggression and no hitting/etc because that would just be illegal. PC is a bigger problem than this is by far, but you rarely see anyone address the 300lbs gorilla in the room.

        • Diagoras

          We weren’t talking about aggressiveness, but “open hostility”. Sorry, but being male doesn’t give you an excuse to be socially inappropriate. The vast majority of men are not openly hostile, so why make excuses for the few who are?

          As for boys not doing well educationally, maybe that’s because we’re using testosterone as an excuse for their behavior and some parents are encouraging their boys to go after an elusive sports scholarship instead of telling their boys to focus on education. Also, female students have more of a motivation to go to college because there are fewer options available to women that pay a decent wage without getting that degree. (For example, men without college degrees can always go into construction or some job requiring physical strength – not that women can’t get those jobs but the women who do are above average in physical strength and fitness.)

          I made it clear to my son that education was important and that that our expectations for him were high. As a result, he’s doing very well, taking all AP courses and even made it into an elite Governor’s Honors program in our state.

          One more point about taking risks – there was actually a study showing that startup businesses by women are more likely to succeed because men have a higher tendency to take foolhardy risks. So there has to be a balance between cautiousness and risk taking.

  • Caroline

    I have been working in technology for almost twenty years and I have seen women in both technology sales and engineering struggle with the culture. Men are often resistant to hiring women and even when they do they have odd expectations. Women are expected to act like one of the guys but they are never accepted like one of the guys. Women are often passed over for promotions or selling opportunities because of the “boys club” environment and mentality or because of the male manager’s general perception of women. Having the rare female manager is even worse because female managers are MUCH harder on female subordinates than on male ones. Also, appearance is a major issue. Even when I worked for a leader in the tech space I had to listen to the men (even the execs) regularly bash and judge female customers based on appearance and as a women you know if these comments are being made about female customers in front of you then similar judgments are being made about you as a female subordinate behind your back. Of course, this is a societal issue since men are sadly encouraged to base a woman’s value on her weight, face and age. I have two brothers, I’m not a prude and I’m fairly thick skinned which is why I’m still working in the field but I have seen many women leave because they feel too uncomfortable and too devalued at work. Young women today do not want to tolerate this nonsense and I don’t blame them! I’m sure it doesn’t help that greedy tech companies are outsourcing so many jobs to India. Now we have to tolerate a miserable work environment and the constant threat of outsourcing which our inept and uncaring government does nothing to stop!

    • dungone

      Do you have any experience apart from working in sales, or in fact any experience working for a female boss anywhere else besides tech? Go ask some female nurses how much they like working for a female boss. I’m having trouble seeing these complaints as being relevant to technology per se.

  • Jack

    The answer to this question is simple: women have better options for earning income. They can be a stripper or a model and make much more money and have fun doing it. Or they can just stay home and play with the kids and let the man pay for everything. Men don’t have as many options. For men STEM jobs seem attractive compared to most of the other dirty and dangerous jobs. Women don’t choose STEM jobs for the same reason that women don’t like math and science in school, the subject is not exciting compared to more social careers.

    • trueblue

      clearly you have never talked to women who excel at math because they enjoy the topic.

  • Accomplish

    I went to an MBA program open house at Berkley (STEM city). The lady speaker who said she had a chemical engineering degree was talking about the positives of entering the MBA program. During this she gave the phrase, “…just an engineer…”.

    Just an engineer!

  • (White) Men are COOKED

    Men are in a way simpletons, driven by straightforward sex desire: They thus BLINDLY promise their future wife that they will care + provide for her + an offspring or two if she graciously agrees to experience “pathology” of pregnancy + child birth.

    Unlike women men are not in any measurable numbers aid or maintained by females in exchange for access to sex. Only stupid gender (men) behave that way and maintain in majority of females such expectations (“Ok, HE wants sex, I have the *ussy … that is a valuable commodity + source of power, at household, marriage, divorce court, etc.)

    Women spread their eggs and there are millions of cash-paying, taking care offering males in an instant. Again, it doesn’t work the other way around.

    ON STEM: Of course that unless it is government job (federal, state, local, K-12, etc.) private corporation will INTENSIFY their global outsourcing. So while STEM education might offer marginally better pay/career it is just that, marginal and subject to never before seen merciless future degree of globalization.

    WOMEN WHINE, for millennia and the ruling class uses “oression of women” as one of many tools to degrade (white) males.

    Women are now 62% of college grads, live 8 yrs longer (longevity is justly #1 criteria of relative progress), enjoy twice as many Golden Years of retirement, have CHOICES to pursue career or be at-home-Mom (men are not allowed such choice by their employers, society/culture AND ABOVE ALL by 99% of their female spouses).

    80% of divorces are filed by women, 90% of child custodies are granted to women (therefore “for best interest of a child” family home goes to Mummy too.

    Ruling class has the entire power of the system: law, TV soap propaganda, (Married with Children), commercials, school narrative, etc. resent males as bafoons, stupid, etc. TV crimi detectives are either female or minority male. Commercials: smart witty women, stupid white males.

    Males need to change. Stop playing male when it is in the current system counterproductive.
    Show your “sensitivities” via whining, complaining, filing abuse report with law enforcement.
    Conduct “Penis dialogues”.

    Meet females in their own game (us deny them pleasure of macho simpletons wiling to take care of them with expectation of regular access to sex, i.e. effortless yet significant source of money + wealth + creature comfort.

    Men and father ought to be ready to fie for divorce first, as the system is already staked against them. Sadly, majority of husbands are surprised by their wives divorce lawyer serving them instead.

    As no fault divorce laws (first signed into aw by R Reagan in 1968) er academic studies favor women and DIVORCE IS GOOD for American economy (two post-divorce households spend on average 140% of what one re-divorce household spent a month.)

  • Karen Etzwiler

    I am a 60 yr old female JOURNEYMAN pipefitter (retired). Had I listened to today’s 3rd wave feminists telling women that they must make SOMEONE ELSE stop discriminating against me…I’d have retired earning slightly over minimum wage. I certainly didn’t wait around for someone to “remove obstacles” FOR me. I fought, scratched, and clawed my way into “equality”. It took REFUSING gender “concessions”…NOT demanding that I be given any kind of “handicap” because of my gender. I ignored my Mother’s pleas to hide my intelligence because I’d never “find a husband” if I didn’t. Any man who had a problem with me beating them shooting pool (an elementary function of Physics) wasn’t worth my time anyway.
    There’s no denying that IN GENERAL…men ARE stronger than women, but in most jobs, that additional strength is “overkill”. Sure, it was harder for me to pick up and carry 100 lbs than it was for most of the men, but I COULD…and WOULD do it…it was my JOB, for which I was paid EXACTLY the same as males. “Equality” will NEVER be achieved if women keep expecting the bar to be lowered so they can get over it.
    Women need to learn to separate their WORK life from their personal life. Intelligence and mechanical aptitude do NOT automatically diminish your femininity. COMPARTMENTALIZE. When I removed my hardhat and steel toed boots and put on my 5″ heels and mini skirt…NOBODY ever suspected that I was a construction worker. In fact, I strongly believe that the experience was directly responsible my own trek into exploring my own femininity. I stopped “rebelling” against it, and accepted that in each of us, it is perfectly normal and acceptable to have BOTH of what society imposes upon us as “masculine” or “feminine” traits.

    • julia

      good for you! As a lady who dabbles in special effects now (doing electrical repair and fixing robots) its hilarious when I’m on set and some old guy asks me if I’m in the MAKEUP department.. to which I’d reply “ you need me to code a motion-control robot to apply mascara? What a novel idea!”

      • Nik

        Good for you. What’s interesting is that STEM requires no physical strength. I graduated with a Math degree and work as an Engineer but I’m surrounded by women and honestly it doesn’t matter as long as the job gets done. There are more and more women in my field compared to years ago, I’ve been at this job for over a decade now. I think the stereotypes of what’s “acceptable” for women are bending and changing. It will take some more time but frankly males are only superior for physical labor due to their usually greater physical strength. The OP pipe fitter above is an excellent example of someone who overcame even that. For all other things women are equal to or better than men as indicated by their test scores in STEM which was repeatedly pointed out in this article.

        So STEM careers are drawing more and more women, I honestly think the article is wrong. You need to look at long term trends but there are a heck of a lot more women engineers today than there were 10 years ago or 30 years ago. Those are just facts, do they expect women to suddenly account for 90% of the STEM careers? When will the writers of articles like this one consider it that women have equaled men as a percentage of professional engineers for example?

        • disqus_aHCy5pLtyO

          Nik, you are terribly mistaken. The only real “tests” for life-long ability in STEM areas is the free market – not tests designed to “equalize” men and women when they are in their early 20′s. Not a single major technology (cell phone, CPU, Data, programming languages, software, world-wide-web, routers, HD, high capacity fiber cables, or any others) was “invented” or “developed” by women. None. Nada. ZERO. Nor will any future major advancements be. The fact that a few large tech companies (Ebay, HP, Yahoo) has or has had women CEO’s is completely irrelevant, as a CEO often has functions that have nothing to do with breakthrough technological advancements. Can women do some STEM “jobs” as well as men?? Certainly. But they will work for companies that were founded by and currently run by men. Your boss, or your boss’s boss, will always be a man if you are involved in STEM, unless you are on a government funded project (which almost always lose money or run over budget and underachieve). Get used to it. A major japanese car manufacturer once tried an “all female” engineering team and scraped it after complete and utter failures in every conceivable discipline. Modern media and political correctness have ruined your ability to see or accept the facts. Even Facebook, used primarily by women, was originally conceived and developed by an exclusively all-male technical staff. Zuck hand picked one woman that wouldn’t give him trouble and put her in high position to shut-up the feminists. That’s how successful STEM businesses work. Open your eyes and do the math.

    • Roberto Matus

      Very good post. As a man, I can say that the idea that “men are frightened by successful women” is bullshit. It’s always easier to blame someone else. I wish there were more women like Karen, because they are definitely the ones that turn me on the most.

    • anchorite

      It sounds like there was still some discrimination, or else, aren’t people supposed to make it from journeyman to master at some point? Did you start late in life? I’m honestly asking here. I have definitely worked at jobs where the women WERE NOT considered management material just because of their gender or status as single moms even though they trained people who eventually moved up past them. They couldn’t fight that battle on their own without jeopardizing their status as provider for their children, so they stayed on the bottom. Certainly nobody ever made concessions for them, quite the opposite; they were taken advantage of.

    • Lora

      Though short skirts and heels are what society deems feminine, just like leg-shaving. You can be feminine (though I question what that even means and challenge the notion of any one way to be a woman) without conforming to society’s vision of beauty and how women ought to dress.

    • Tom Maker

      I think I love you. Great post!

  • Huck Pituey

    Girls’ hand-eye coordination is just as good as boys’ but almost everybody playing Call of Duty or Halo is male. We have to fix this! In some very subtle way, it’s clear that the “Old Boys” (OK, “Young Boys”) Network is preventing girls from participating and preventing them from advancing when they do start playing. Any girl who is capable of playing video games has to keep playing video games or she is a failure.

    • Huck Pituey

      The point here is that it’s fine with everybody if women don’t like the violent video games guys like but there’s some kind of huge problem with the world if women aren’t taking (maybe because they just don’t like) these well-paying jobs that guys like even though they are widely considered to be tedious and dry.

  • sad

    I am a 50 year old woman with more letters AFTER my name than IN my name, all of them degrees in the sciences. I never was discriminated against. But from reading these comments, it must be because I am not pretty enough to be discriminated against? Get real. If you are the proverbial “blonde in heels” and men look at you funny, it isn’t because you are in a STEM career. Time to get over yourself.
    When I am with my husband and kids, I don’t tell people “I am so smart” to see if they look shocked or disturbed by my mad science skillz. In fact, I am just “mom” when I am introduced. Frankly, I don’t give a crap if people know just exactly how highly educated I am. Anyway, as far as I know, nobody cares. Again, time to get over yourself.
    However, as a STEM female, I do find that STEM careers can conflict with female value systems. Females tend to value people and family over money and advancement. I personally believe that is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing that needs fixing. STEM careers tend to demand a lot of time, a lot of work outside of working hours, often travel and conferences, sometimes grant writing (all off the clock). And they are EXTREMELY unforgiving of “time off” for sick kids, ailing parents, or other things that women care about. If you had flex time engineering, job share doctoring, leave of absence laboratory work, women would enter STEM in greater numbers. QED

    • Diagoras

      That’s a good point. When you have kids, somebody has to be living at home and if your husband already travels for work (or you are single/divorced) then you can’t really do much traveling.

    • Chuck Messenger

      Programming jobs can be highly flexible. For years, I worked at home. The primary motivation was to be around for my kids.

  • cyr3n

    Strangely absent from this survey is how women are silently fed up with doing the same work for 30% less pay than men with the same experience.. also having to serve as defacto secretaries whenever a woman is a non-STEM role quits.

    This happened to me at a game company where I got saddled with all the convention travel & lodging arrangements after a secretary went on maternity leave. I was the only other female at this company.. nevermind that my main function was in a STEM role!

    I put in my 2 weeks after the requests were getting more and more ridiculous. They were shocked — SHOCKED — that I wouldn’t work under those conditions. It just seems that if there’s a woman that leaves a certain job function (for whatever reason), the remaining men treat that JOB as if its “women’s work”.

  • Pyrite

    Are women to smart for STEM?

    This article is about the supply side. But, it totally ignores the demand side of STEM.

    If demand was high employees would be treated with respect, valued in the community, paid well, have some employment security, be able to find work after 50, etc., etc.

    Why doesn’t Warren Buffet like to invest in technology companies? If you study for STEM it’s an investment of time. Be prepared to look for work in a different greener pastures some time. You will certainly have a good background to pick up some thing else.

  • kwr

    I am a male who has worked in the IT field for 30 years and can quote similar experiences of bias, overlooked comments, poor pay, etc, just like all you women have expressed. It’s the industry, it’s not your gender.

    So what are the differences: women have choices, men don’t. Women complain and whine, men take-it and move on.

    Where are all the males in nursing study’s, grants, awards and outreach programs?

  • Huck Pituey

    My wife’s STEM career has lasted over a quarter century to date. Throughout it, she has endured work situations that were stressful, and sometimes even combative. The great majority of them were just hardball-style “business as usual”. There were, however, instances of real discrimination.

    In the early days, she experienced discrimination by some in the Old Boys Club. Most of it was unintentional as guys struggled to unlearn the stereotypes and gender roles they had been raised with. Some of it *was* deliberate however, and my wife actually changed jobs on two occasions to get away from co-workers who were hostile or inappropriate.

    Things got better over time but more recently she has started experiencing discrimination again– this time from men (and sometimes even women) from other cultures. Like before, some of it is mild and of little or no consequence but some is deliberate and vicious, especially when men with little experience and ample hubris discover that she earns a lot more than they do (because she’s great at what she does). In the past several years, she has endured a couple of unreasonably uncomfortable work relationships and changed jobs once as a result.

    Some women seem to feel that discrimination is ubiquitous and always a major impediment to women’s STEM careers. This would understandably discourage women from entering STEM fields, to all of our detriment. If this is true (and not simply a manageable hazard, as I believe) or even if it is just perceived to be true, I would encourage those women to form and run their own STEM companies.

  • an

    I’m not sure if this angle is covered (too lazy to go over all responses :P ) My comment is related to women engineers.
    Engineering jobs in big companies that pay reasonably require all workers to work well beyond the 40 hour work week. For couples who are both engineers, it’s just a financial decision ,to go part time or have a job that is non technical so that one person can devote some time to raising a family. In recent years, I have seen a lot of women fallback on to part time engineering jobs that do not involve so much of work. In working class immigrant houses, the person that makes more money stays in the full time job while the other takes a back seat for at least 10 years. In many cases its the woman who makes this sacrifice just because she can cook and be a nanny to the kids. This is stereotypical I know.Whereas the guy has more stamina to stay at work till 10 pm in night or answer crisis work calls in the middle of the night and jump out of bed and go to work. Really, in modern households…I find its who fits well in what role. Not necessarily the woman stays at home, sometimes the guy is better at it. Money does play a huge role in the decisions that are made especially in middle class families . My point is that even if you do get women in STEM fields, most find it extremely difficult to continue in these fields as years go by.Many of these fields do not offer fantastic salaries to compensate for the hours put in at work.I observe that one person in the family intentionally stays behind.

    • Barry Weinstein

      The question begs asking, why do we accept working beyond the 40 hour week? Seems its just companies trying to get something for nothing. If your need 50-60 or 80 hours then hire another engineer. Companies being run by cheap ba$tards most of them, no respect for STEM workers and others.

  • Nicole Smith

    Taking another crack at it.

  • Nicole Smith

    Hi, I’m leaving a test message to see how this looks. I will do this a few times.

  • Lena

    Although other posters have said that women don’t participate in STEM fields because it doesn’t appear “feminine,” it’s actually harassment and non-acceptance. I got my degree in computer science and tried to get a job in the field. I went to a head-hunter and she set me up for one interview as a computer operator and, then told me that she couldn’t “sell” me as a techie. As an attractive young woman, it seems that I would have a better chance as a receptionist.

    And she was right. I had no problems being perceived by the people who were hiring as a receptionist. Despite my excellent grades, programming classes, operator’s certificate from my college and good score on the Mensa test, I could not get a job in IT.

    Although that was a while ago, I have had similar problems with harassment, not being paid equally or promoted in other fields that are predominantly male. I was reading recently that the coding culture was such that they renamed their IT employees “bro”grammers because they are frat boys who don’t think women can code.

    You’d think that all this was behind us after the women’s movement in the 70s, 80s and 90s, but it’s not. It just isn’t.

  • Keith

    It seems that we are always worrying about how girls and racial minorities are doing and that we need to find ways to boost their stance in society, while either ignoring or blaming white males for most of our society’s ills. Truth is, white males have made (by far) the most significant contributions to our progress as a society, starting with the Romans. In today’s schools and in the media, the extraordinary accomplishments of white males throughout the ages are downplayed, while the relatively insignificant accomplishments of other groups are blown our of proportion. Looking through my son’s 4th grade science book , I say where a picture of George Washington Carver took up half the page and had much detail about what he did, while Albert Einstein only had a very small picture and only a couple of sentences about his work. Not that George Washington Carver didn’t do anything, but his scientific accomplishments are very minuscule compared to Einstein’s work, which fundamentally changed our understanding of the universe, as well as the atom.

    • Lizzie Shipton

      Oh, and the reason we blame white males for most of society’s ills…is because it is your fault.

      • Jm Mac

        Only accurate if blank slate is true.

      • BrentHarrelson

        Actually, it’s not our fault, or women’s. Historically, most jobs have demanded physical labor and strength, areas where men have a clear advantage. Technology has improved and replaced many of those jobs, thus men are free to do more intellectual pursuits and women now have more opportunities also. (Hence we have had an explosion in scientific and technological advances and we now discuss why more women do not enter STEM fields.) Keith is correct in his assessment, but that will not be the case in the future.

        You are incorrect that most of societies ills are due to men. When given leadership positions women have behaved the same way. Joan of Arc was famous as a military leader, not as a pacifist. . The first female prime ministers of both Isreal and India engaged in wars. Women can be as covetous, petty, violent, vain, and power hungry as men. Don’t blame men for the faults that nature and evolution have hardwired into us all.

    • TP G

      Keith, honey, white males have been dominating for eons…that’s why THEIR stuff gets more recognition and that there’s MORE of it. Given the same time frame and domination, women and most other cultures could have “created” or “invented” the same kinds of things. White males have been too puffed up for too long just because they have been allowed more space and freedom. Period.

    • anchorite

      I read the whole article and I didn’t detect any tone of blaming males for anything, and I didn’t see any mention of race at all. But this is how you know chauvinism and racism still exist, when nobody is allowed to even talk about gender issues without being accused of reverse sexism or reverse racism. White men seem to want to control the debate, as if they can’t feel better just letting others have a discussion.

    • ArdathRekha

      Wrong. A huge part of the problem is that history has been repeatedly written and rewritten to make white males appear to be the dominant sources of progress, even when they’re not. Prime example: Watson and Crick, who won the Nobel prize for identifying the double-helix structure of DNA, were only two-thirds of the team that actually did so. Can you name the third member of the team? Most people can’t. Look her up. If you Google ENIAC, the first general-purpose computer, do you see just three men on the side, listed as the cardinal people involved in designing it? If so, you’re only seeing one-third of the team, because six women were also instrumental in developing it — and when the ENIAC was demonstrated for the first time, they were actually IGNORED by visiting dignitaries who assumed they were spokesmodels hired for the event! That’s just two cases involving women. The accomplishments of white men have been blown out of proportion for centuries, as has the damage done to the world by the regimes they’ve been in charge of.

      The contributions of women and minorities have been routinely erased from the history books to make it SEEM as if white men are the dominant or only members of their fields, and that the George Washington Carvers and Marie Curies of the world are the rare exceptions. This is actually a huge part of the problem, because young women entering scientific fields are well aware that they will routinely be passed over for recognition and promotions in favor of male classmates who are frequently less qualified. A recent study actually demonstrated that college professors of both sexes, who were presented with identical applications and resumes would routinely rank the applicant as more qualified if the name attached to it was a man’s name; previous studies have shown that resumes with ethnic names were more likely to be tossed into the “slush pile” than identical ones with Anglo-Saxon names. That’s what women (and minorities) are struggling against if they want to pursue STEM fields, and why so many leave for careers in which their efforts will be better rewarded and they’ll be consistently recognized for their work.

  • Chris Yonts

    Why can’t people just do what they want? Why does everything have to have a “reason?”

    • CrosbyTee

      Why can’t we stop trying to force women into fields they may not be interested in?

  • oldwhite guy

    One must ask why the author of the study chose to go into curriculum and instruction (blah) rather than a STEM field.Hmmm.

    I spent 40 years in a university setting. There were always, and I do means always, women faculty in Chemistry and Biology, fewer, but still some, in Physics and Math. My university had the most successful pre-med program in our entire state, and we were not the flagship public university in the state. Program was headed by a woman biologist for 20+ years.

    One of my kids is a structural engineer. He reports more and more female engineers and architects showing up.

    So please Ms. Assistant Professor of Education, go research something that you might know something about. It sure isn’t STEM.

  • M

    I worked in STEM for over 20 years. I’m a woman. I finally left. These jobs are not family friendly.

    • anchorite

      True, and I think that goes for both genders. I insist that, after my bills are paid, I’m a father first, and I can’t do that if I’m working 60 hour weeks and major holidays and working from home every night after the kids go to sleep like I did when I was childless.

    • dungone

      I think you are honest about your perception, but I feel that it is subjective. There are plenty of female-dominated fields which are far less family friendly than STEM. Somehow, it seems that the type of women who are gifted enough to be able to work in STEM fields are averse to work. You must have had a better option – such as a rich husband.

  • James

    While this is a science article, I think I can offer some thoughts on the situation.

    I am in finance. The ratio of guys to girls in my finance classes was about 9 to 2.

    The % of CFAs that are female are 11%. The % of CMTs that are female are probably even lower than that.

    The percentage of female hedge fund managers is extremely low.

    Yet the CFA/CMT tests are gender neutral. As for being a hedge fund manager, all investors care about is making money. Being a woman would be a huge advantage is there are plenty of older women with money that would love to give it to a women to manage.

    Of the CFA/CMT females, the vast majority of them go into jobs like compliance or whatever.

    So the question is why?

    The brutal politically incorrect answer is that it is an absolute rip your face off competitive dog eat dog environment. Want work/family balance? Your fired.

    I have not taken a vacation since 1997 and have not taken even a day off in years. OK, some days I only work 2-3 hours, but still.

    The brutal truth is most females just don’t want to deal with all that. They go into the profession in hopes of marrying an alpha male type and then sit back and enjoy spending the money their husbands make.

    • trueblue

      and there you have it – another male who suffers from the delusion that women are only after that elusive MRS.

    • anchorite

      Your proud claim to being brutally honest and brutally rejecting political correctness doesn’t win you any credit with me, These days it’s politically correct to offend people and be a chauvinist and tell people so called hard truths that are just reheated versions of the same old lines. Some women want alpha males, but not that ones that go into STEM, that I’ve noticed. In fact I think the ones who go into selling clothes and makeup are more likely to want the traditional dominant male breadwinner.

    • Barry Weinstein

      Again, why do we as a society tolerate this? Some people are so desparate that they will work these hours? They are the sick ones and we hold them up as the example.

  • Katy

    I’m a female mechanical engineer (who is not a “tom boy” or unfeminine, thanks!) :)

    I graduated 10 years ago. there were only a handful of women in my graduating class of MEs. Some of us are no longer in engineering because #1. we had children and didn’t want to work 40 hours a week #2. The jobs turned out to be far more boring than we anticipated in school

    Here’s the deal. Majority of women feel differently about their careers when they think about motherhood alongside it. We also may have the science and math aptitude, but simply lack the interest to make a life-long career out of testing master cylinders or calculating wind loads on structures. The only reason I’m still in the field is because I unexpectedly became a single mom and needed to support my family.

    Engineering is not exciting or creative – a lot of times it’s paper pushing in a cubicle somewhere, or working in a lightless dirty factory. I know some female engineers who dumped the career to start their own businesses, because entrepreneurship is more attractive as well.

    • chevydog

      Well, to some point I can say hooray for you. As a male (chemical) engineer, I can’t say that I ever worked with another engineer who cared in the least whether there was a woman working in the department. Quite simply, it was a non-issue. I struggle to wonder why the writers at Slate persist in trying to make it one. Lack of real world experience , I guess.

      I do sort of wonder at your “40 hour” comment. When I graduated, our expectation was to work the conventional 40-hour week. Anything else would have simply been unrealistic. Without wanting to be sarcastic, did you ever expect anything else? And why?

      As to your creativity point, every job has its boring stretches. Engineering is no exception. But I can truthfully say that there were few days that I wasn’t keyed to go in. I served in a variety of positions, some of which were fairly removed from classical engineering. So boredom was seldom a problem for me. Maybe I was lucky in that my employers seemed to recognize that I wasn’t a classical engineer. In my energy conservation persona, I was lucky enough to drive some pretty big improvements, which had been overlooked by the people who had previously passed through, many of them really smart. This in itself gave a certain amount of psychic satisfaction.

      Not knowing you, I really don’t want to judge you. But I’ve come to the belief that there are born engineers; as well as those who are in the profession for various other reasons. If you were the second type, I can more easily understand your comments. Your experience is/was yours. but others may have had different ones.

  • guest173

    I know a lot of women who are nurses. A Bachelors of Science degree in nursing is a science field. Seems like this profession isn’t being considered in this article. It’s a good paying career too.

  • guest173

    Nursing is a science career with a lot of women that pays well. Seems like it’s being overlooked in this article.

  • CrosbyTee

    This Swedish study explain it all. Turn down the sound and focus on the subtitles.

  • homesickyank

    People go into fields that they are interested in. My daughter was very good at math and science, and now she is in the honors program of a good university – studying theater. That she is what she wants to do. What is wrong with that: Why this worship of STEM fields?

  • sinn

    So this article is saying that women are too intelligent to go for Stem Careers and that young boys are inferior. In addition, it’s also saying that if women did go into Stem Careers, they would make much better engineers because of their superior intelligence and abilities. They then make the excuse that gender stereotypes force women out of the field because the field is filled with young men who are inferior to them in intelligence.

  • Ursula Painter

    The atmosphere of excessive competition seems to begin in the STEM programs in schools. Too many are only concerned only with their own status in the program, rather than encouraging one another to succeed. After all, if each one of us becomes a more competent individual through sharing our observations, information, and problem-solving, won’t this enhance the world’s progress in a positive direction? We need all the competent people we can get to solve our mutual problems on this violence-riddled planet! If we’re all human beings, why should our differences make a difference? We’re facing common problems. Why not solve them without mutual exploitation? Unfortunately, I realize that this is an ideal approach and that some individuals choose to make enemies of other human beings, openly or secretly. I think the reason some men won’t work with women is because they feel, perhaps due to past experiences, that women in general cannot be trusted. Men need to realize that they may also be at fault, by objectifying women and not seeing them in the same light they themselves want to be seen.

  • Raghav Gopal

    I know that at least 40% of the IT people where I work are women and 99% of them are from India and most of them are Engineers. They have their families too. It’s all about the mindset. My own sister is an electronics engineer. You have to rough it out if you want to be a STEM graduate; I don’t think most US girls are willing to do that.

    • trueblue

      Raghav – it would be hard for you to know with US company’s approach to reduced onshore staff headcount. Not too many of us left – in many large firms – mostly Indian now.

  • Tracy M

    Two of my sister in laws work in pharmaceuticals and genetics… I guess they’re not most women.

    • Charles Miller

      Some areas, such as those you mention, are not the traditional male-dominated fields,such as mathematics or physics… the two areas that are REALLY hurting (engineering and tech are doing fine…that’s why I avoid the use of “STEM”).

      For example, at my former University, graduating classes of medical doctor have reached 50-50 parity in the number of female and male graduates. Go back 50 years and it was about all male.

      But women do choose differently. The NIH and NASA give special consideration (affimative action) to women and minority applicants. Further, in STEM outreach efforts, grants from NASA specifically call for outreach efforts to address those population.

      Should we expect parity in all fields? That is hard to say. To be blunt, universities and granting agencies have worked hard to achieve more female representation. But the results are uneven, perhaps due to persistent personal choices. Do the armed forces seek parity? Or jobs (such as sanitation workers) that are male dominated? It is not a simple issue.

  • Ctrygrl

    I was going to write something here but I realize Ms Etzwiler wrote it for me much better than I could. I am 61 retired aerospace engineer. I worked my backside off just as she did, and didn’t ask for concession and made the same salary as men. Women cannot expect to have the bar lowered or given anything.

  • Dean Schulze

    Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room. Maybe the reason women shun STEM careers is the way that scientists and engineers are treated by corporate management. This article didn’t even consider the possibility that women are more attuned to management hostility to STEM employees than men are.

    Meg Urry should look up the word non-sequitur. If “Females are making a choice for something, not just against STEM majors and professions” then it isn’t the case that “The problems have to be about culture and environment”. Unless it’s the case that women reject the same culture and environment that men will accept.

    I believe that it is the latter, but no one studying the issue of women in STEM careers has looked into the role that management hostility plays in the gender disparity.

    • dungone

      But then why do women clamor for unpaid internships in the fashion industry where they go around wiping down doorknobs with disinfectant wipes for some psychopath overlord? There’s so many worse jobs that treat employees far worse than engineers are treated, yet some of them are nevertheless dominated by women.

      • Goodluck Jonathan

        Because despite “superior scores in math and science” women are still dumb and irresponsible.

        • dungone

          How does that resolve the contradiction I pointed out? If women are “more attuned” to corporate management maltreatment in software?

          an N.Y.U. student who hoped to work in animation during her unpaid internship said she was instead assigned to the facilities department and ordered to wipe the door handles each day to minimize the spread of swine flu.

          Keep in mind I work at a software company, so we pay to fly our interns in from all over the country and put them up in luxury housing for the summer on top of paying them what works out to be a 50k annual salary. Then we take them to baseball games, rock climbing, sightseeing on chartered boats, etc. It’s amazing just how awful software companies are to their employees…

  • Richard_Pietrasz

    As many people have pointed out, women have more career choices.

    A second issue is who is the primary caregiver when the child is young. Stay at home mothers, or working but non-technical people, are usually not the ones to steer their daughters into STEM careers. Even if this is not overt, example does make a big impression. STEM fathers in the lead role are rare, but maybe their daughters follow that path at a much higher rate.

    As to my experience in the engineering world (US government contractor), there were two types of women doing engineering. There were women who were real engineers, and were there to do engineering first, and they did just fine, and respected as peers. The other group were careerists, who wanted to get into management real fast without establishing their technical chops first. They actually did better than the guys in the same boat, due to “equal opportunity” bias. But with the rank and file engineers, they got the respect they deserved. Which was not much, if that was deserved, just as if they were guys.

  • trueblue

    Its simple really – despite scoring a 710 on math alone on my SAT – best field for a woman with math skillsets and English at 680? Information Technology – one of the best fields for women out there with our kind of background. Simple – not near as annoying as some guy asking you if you were at university to get your MRS degree.

  • Kris Farnsworth

    Worship isn’t the right word. A better description is that our economy needs to fill thousands of STEM positions and the disparity is growing larger every year. We don’t necessarily need more females in STEM, but we need more people, and increasing the amount of females should be an easy kill since there is a low percentage of female involvement at the moment.

  • DeadWhiteMan

    “These choices could be due to social structures that are pervasive and
    lifelong and that are shaping their preferences and ideas about what
    girls do versus what boys do.”

    Either that, or men and women could just be different, Einstein. But the “open-minded” liberals don’t consider that possibility (a possibility that also happens to be reality).

    • Jm Mac

      Also, if society pressures people to be what they are… then society should care more about boys not going to college at all rather than caring about college dames not taking STEM courses.


      Males are the downward stats in almost every category. (And it aint playing with legos –it is prison and homelessness and real jobs and heath and suicides.) Therefore it is the feminist led society that is to blame.

      Goose meet gander.


  • DeadWhiteMan

    This article is deceptive. As the article it links to points out, most students who pursue STEM are those with the highest science GPAs in high school, and most of these are BOYS.

  • ML

    Generally STEM jobs are not respected in the US. There are always someone claiming to know better, even if they are not qualified. The media always jumps on these opposing opinions for a good quick story. However, it leaves the public with misleading or incorrect information. Thus undercutting the STEM professional. Ask for respected professions in US, I bet STEM positions won’t make the cut (but movie or reality star will). But around the rest of the world, scientist and engineer are often in the top 5.
    It is not just a gender thing.

  • Fraga123

    What complete nonsense. The Feminist Thought police turn their guns on another area to mediocritize.

  • anchorite

    I agree. I don’t know any women who would refuse to go into a lucrative career or job because they’re afraid men might be frightened of them. I’m certainly not letting my daughter think that way. I really don’t care what she goes into as long as she likes it and can make a living at it.

  • Joe Boyum

    Obstacles? Like choice?

    Perhaps we should simply order girls to apply for jobs they dont want so we can obtain equality.


  • Goodluck Jonathan

    Why? This is all true with only the most obvious statement missing.
    Women are holding themselves back and it’s their own fault.

  • Goodluck Jonathan

    According to the article girls are outperforming boys in math and science. I’ve heard this suprising statistic before and I’d really be curious where they get it from.

  • Goodluck Jonathan

    I can hardly decode what you’ve written. Are you saying you avoided IT because you’re worried people will say you’re there to get married?

  • Enzo

    don’t worry, hillary will “equalize” this soon HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  • Enzo

    The thing that holds women back is OTHER women.

  • SqueekyChin

    Oh heyzeus bleating crisco, really? Cultural expectations? If “cultural expectations” held a woman out of engineering in this day and age (any time in the last 30 years) that’s the woman’s problem. And she wouldn’t have made it in this field anyway. I am a 25+ years experienced female software engineer and there were no barriers to my entry into that field other than those I created, and then destroyed.

  • SqueekyChin

    Oh crisco, really? Cultural expectations? If “cultural expectations” held a woman out of engineering in this day and age (any time in the last 30 years) that’s the woman’s problem. And she wouldn’t have made it in this field anyway. I am a 25+ years experienced female software engineer and there were no barriers to my entry into that field other than those I created, and then destroyed.

  • SqueekyChin

    Oh heyzeus bleating crisco, really? Cultural expectations? If “cultural expectations” held a woman out of engineering in this day and age (any time in the last 30 years) that’s the their problem. Wouldn’t have made it in this field anyway. I am a 25+ years experienced female software engineer and there were no barriers to my entry into that field other than those I created, and then destroyed.

  • BrentHarrelson

    I totally agree. I don’t think women should have to work in a sexist environment, but the quid pro quo is that they shouldn’t work in one where they are trying to make all their male co-workers confirm to their own standards.

  • Trissy Smith

    The real question is why are fields that women are drawn to valued so much less than STEM jobs. It has been centuries in the making. Typical Male jobs – Valuable , Typical Female jobs – not as valued.

    It is not hard to see as a female Engineer, I succeed because I am not very social. I am “male” brained. I do not need socialization to be happy.

    Science and Engineering are a good place for the socially inept to succeed.

    I would guess that being in a non-social environment makes most women very unhappy and so they are drawn away from those fields that have a lot of working alone time.

  • JAG

    It’s complicated, but few women want to be the lone female in an all male culture or environment. Contrary to what many neandertals on these threads may suggest, women do enjoy the company of other women. That’s not the only answer. Just one of them.
    Like I said, it’s complicated.

  • JAG

    I think Daddy hittin’ the road and not being around is to blame.

    • Jm Mac

      Which would be symptom of the feminist society. duh.

      Irrelevant anyway since the point was
      “society should care more about boys not going to college at all
      rather than caring about college dames not taking STEM courses.”

  • ESPNSucks

    Why would you choose an STEM career. There’s no jobs except for postdoctoral positions which pay less than a janitor makes.

    • ieatsheeple

      I have no idea where you got this idea that STEM careers or job options are limited to academia.

      There is a shortage of qualified workers in IT. Huge.

      The T stands for Tech. This would include IT jobs, programming, data science, etc. (hint: think Google, Apple, Intel, etc.). Tech jobs make a ton of money – check out the salary estimator on indeed for IT positions. Look at the median income in Silicon Valley – it’s quite obvious that IT jobs pay far in excess of what janitors make. Also, as it pertains to the article – from my experience the rate of female representation in entry level positions in the IT industry has been steadily increasing.

      Engineers also make a ton of money as well. The defense industry for one pays their engineers well in excess of six figures. Not to mention engineers that work for the automotive, aerospace, computing, healthcare machinery, etc.

      Last but not least… healthcare would also apply in STEM. Physicians make less than janitors…

  • Diagoras

    If this is true, then one of the things STEM promoters can do is to emphasize the need for engineers and scientists to also be good writers. After all, they need to be able to write reports, publish articles, publish operating manuals, etc. We also need more scientists who are good at communicating to the general public about science. Most journalists are horrible at reporting science and do it all wrong. We really need more scientists to write about science and maybe if we promote that idea, women who happen to be good at math and science but know they are a little better with language skills, might still choose STEM careers.

  • Diagoras

    The majority of women I know cuss all the time. I can’t believe this is a typical occurrence. Maybe you are taking one weird situation/person and blowing it out of proportion?

    • Kris Farnsworth

      It only takes one time to ruin your life/career. That is the problem.

      • Diagoras

        But that’s no reason to treat half the population as if we have the cooties just because of one weirdo. It sounds like an excuse to me.

    • Richard Flores

      Like I said, my personal observation has been that the women who are attractive and act like one of the guys get a lot of help (male attention) and consequently they enjoy the workplace. Even the not so attractive females like “butches” are generally well accepted if they act like one the guys.
      It’s the less attractive females(and a very few attractive ones) who come in and try to “Gloria Steinem” their way through everything, and that have HR on speed dial, who quickly exhaust themselves because they are going against the current of the workplace flow and environment. They quickly make enemies, and in a short time later they quit because they can’t function in the very hostile environment that they themselves caused.

  • Eric Valero

    I will play devil’s advocate, and aggravate the femenists in the process, and try to explain why I think women don’t go into and excel at scientific roles.
    Women are, in my experience(and I’ve read some literature validating the hypothesis) EXCELLENT memorizers. They excel at learning and remembering bits of information.
    This is why most of the girls I knew in highschool were very good in my math and science courses. I was always a top student, but there were always a few girls with me as peers in the top percentiles.
    Where they struggled, though, was in actually understanding concepts and being able to find their own solutions.
    They would memorize every formula for a math class, and I wouldn’t memorize a single one. I, however, understood the underlying mathematical concepts and never needed to memorize things because I could work them out for myself.
    I personally think that this is the reason why women aren’t prevailent in STEM fields: They are memorizers. They don’t enjoy the material as much because, even though they are good at it, they don’t fundamentally understand it so much as they regurgitate it, and probably don’t enjoy it as much.
    Just my .02 based on what I’ve seen.
    I’m a Computer Science major, btw, so I did choose to go the STEM career path.

  • Noneya

    To bad. The U.S. is in dire need of STEM graduates.

  • Kris Farnsworth

    Certainly not all women do this, but a significant portion do. You can deny it all day long but we see it happen regularly. Just because you do not meet the pattern of behavior described doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen and like many other aspects in life a few bad actors ruin it for everyone else.

  • Kris Farnsworth

    Tolerate the hours? Maybe he is single and enjoys his job? Now because Mr. LovesToWork80HoursAWeek is doing this on a regular basis your bosses are going to use him as an example of the model employee which of course ends up being an expected behavior. This is typical human behavior. There is a reason why there are labor laws.

    Why wouldn’t you hold them up as the example? Do we look at star athletes and say “Man, you exercise 80 hours a week? You need to chill out man. There is no need for all of that.” No we don’t. We celebrate their conviction to their job even when they blow out knees and break necks and whatever else happens to them. Do we look at star musicians and tell them that spending 80 hours a week playing their violin is ridiculous? No of course not… The problem really boils down to mentality. Do you want to do this? How much do you really want this job? If you enjoy your work and don’t mind the time then its not a problem. If you don’t enjoy the work or you just don’t want to spend that much time at work then it becomes a problem. How do you regulate that from a management perspective? Clearly they aren’t going to bother if they are a mediocre manager. The only real solution to this kind of problem would be federal or state laws prohibiting working more than X amount of hours per month, but I can already see a lot of people having an issue with anything like that. Who are you to tell me I’m not allowed to work 80, 90, 100 hours a week?

    It goes back to the age old question: If you don’t like it then why don’t you go somewhere else? If you don’t like getting pissed/crapped/bled/puked on then you probably shouldn’t become a nurse. That’s just how it is. Complaining about it isn’t going to have any beneficial effect on the situation. Its just whining. Sometimes there are legitimate complaints and sometimes it is just the nature of the job.

  • jefnvk

    Yep, and men don’t go into elementary education and childcare, despite the fact they are capable. What do we do to even out those numbers?

  • arleeda

    I persued a STEM career in the 60s. It cost me my first husband, but as a result my mentors were much more accommodating to my need to take care of my kids. Also my ex took the children on Friday night and brought them back on Sunday, giving me time to work in the lab or at home, and even have a social life. Things were not as competitive back then, however. My grant support came relatively easy. My daughter and granddaughters, alas, have no interest in a scientific career, at least for the grandkids not yet. I had a good income, much better than my ex’s from his family business, and paid 3/4 of my two children’s college tuition and will probably end up paying half of my granddaughters’ tuition. I may not have been a warm and cozy stay at home mom, but I brought home the bacon.

  • sozzled

    There are a multitude of factors that contribute to a small percentage of women in most STEM fields but we should exclude medical doctors (not including surgeons who are mostly male) and nurses; the real problem primarily exists in the technology (software engineering especially) and engineering sectors. I think a part of the problem may be cultural upbringing – think disney pink princesses looking for their perfect knight. It is far easier for a women and culturally acceptable to seek low paying and “less technical” degrees since they will find a man who earns more than them. Secondly, childrearing generally falls on the women and men are expected to work – a demanding job for a married woman with a family to raise is extremely difficult especially if she earns more than the husband. Third, our society rewards the superficial, intellectually vapid type of women who are more focused on their physique and social status than studying for long tedious hours – no time to sit at a computer screen programming for hours, like umm like uhhh hellz no! like thats so like lame. Young girls should not be mocked or ridiculed for wanting to code for hours, playing video games, watching nature/scientific documentaries instead of a worthless Kardashians reality show, making their study’s a priority…. Why do we place such high emphasis on girls who cheerlead or join sororities (non-academic ones)? Why are women on display as bags of meat for men at many technological “conferences” and video game events?

    I suspect the problem runs deeper than “fixing” our public education system – the problem is ingrained in our culture – perhaps it is the residual effect from our 1950′s “nuclear family values” – perhaps it is the disney, half naked pop singers, magazines, advertisements that are subliminally bombarding girls at young ages. This is an American problem that does not affect parts of Europe, China, Japan, and in Iran (ask your persian friends). In those places, the women in STEM fields are closer to being equal with men in terms of percentages (unsure about the pay inequality issue).

  • Skitenoir

    I began college as a female math major, but graduated in English Lit. This was for two reasons:

    First, I found that the more complicated the math got, the more it turned into words. Only, unlike equations which must always balance, words had an infinite number of possible arrangements to reach the goal. In other words: I liked the creative freedom better. There were no little boxes to stay within, or lines which couldn’t be crossed, and I was very, very good at it. For good reason: girls, even awkward, nerdy mathlete girls, are trained to talk and analyze every little nuance as part of our socialization until it becomes an ingrained skill. Boys, not so much I’ve found.

    The second was the attitude and culture of the STEM-area classes. I honestly believe it takes a very specific type of personality to be a great engineer. That particular job type requires precision, order, the ability to work alone, obsession with a single task/goal/ or topic, and a fondness for repetition. To be blunt: the field is extremely attractive to borderline-autistic males, who find in STEM a safe-haven for their talents which also allows them to feel traditionally “masculine.” For perhaps the first time in their lives. Which is wonderful for them, but awful for everyone else. Attending class always felt a bit like being trapped in an un-fun back corner at a comicon. A bunch of socially-unsure people forever testing you on minute trivia you don’t really care about. Who then getting pissy when you don’t let them paw at you in you Superwoman cosplay.
    So I switched and it’s been STEM’s loss ever since.

  • GoFlyKite123

    As a female STEM worker, I have absolutely no idea why more women are NOT pursuing STEM careers. I have never found my career in Software as ‘socially oppressive’ and I feel like I have plenty of creative freedom. True, I am not painting pictures or writing stories, but I create technical solutions everyday which require a lot of creativity.
    If anyone reading this has daughters who are good in math and computers PLEASE encourage them to stick through a STEM major. The past few companies I have worked for cannot find enough qualified candidates, and having women on the team brings a good balance to the male-centered design perspective.

  • Chuck Messenger

    I think this is the kind of pervasive hostility toward women in STEM careers which the OP was referring to.

    • lost64

      I think that the fact that company’s hire & promote women without regard to their competence to be more PC, and the demands to be PC are the root causes of hostility to women in STEM. In my experience is not pervasive as you seem to think though.

  • World Issues Truth (filtering the nonsense…)

  • okiejoe

    One reason many young people, male and female, avoid the STEM fields is that in many of them(Math, Physics et al) you can’t get anywhere unless you have a PhD and even then you may be somebody’s assistant fo most of your career. In other fields, including some engineering specialties, a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is enough to be a leader in the field. This is true both in business and academe.

  • lost64

    I am a male software developer and I will have to disagree with you. Though you are right about considering management of STEM to be STEM (This drives me crazy, and I consider it to be highly insulting).

    Despite the fact that where I work women are often hired without regard for their competence, I have worked with some very talented women.

    Most major advances are currently made by teams, not individuals. If I were putting to a team for a development project with 5 team members of my choice who I had worked (for optimal results) with I can’t think of a project where I would not pick at least one of the women I have worked with.