Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Dead Man Walking
Do I even need to explain how I feel about THIS???

The president of Harvard University has caused a stir among academics by suggesting women have less "innate ability" at science and maths than men.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:13 AM  
2 Editorial Opinions:
  • At January 18, 2005, Blogger jwer said…

    I read the article, and I can't help but notice that it's more about the response to his comments than about the comments themselves...

    Let me just say this, though: I do not have any inherent problem with the idea that women and men have innate differences, for example, I do agree that it's foolish to ignore that men, on average, are taller than women, or that women, on average, live longer than men.

    However, when you start talking about immensely complex tasks, like "doing math" or "doing science" it should seem obvious to even the tiniest intellect that such a comparison is going to be rendered correlative at best by social factors. Dr Hopkins' outrage at the idea that most married women with children are less willing to work 80 hours a week is a little silly, too; just because she would do so doesn't mean women with various family structures should agree with her. I think a more important factor is the oft-noted fact that science and math teachers call on boys more often than girls at every level, and girls get discouraged and stop raising their hands.

    That said, women are better race-car drivers than men, because they have innately better reflexes. You know, provided they've already put their makeup on before they start the race. Oh hi.

  • At January 18, 2005, Blogger Broadsheet said…

    Good thing I like you.....

    I would be the VERY first one to recognize and admit the very real issues of the "glass ceiling" and the restrictions that motherhood places on women achieving or even pursuing careers which require demanding amounts of hours and years of study. I'm not a mother for both those reasons, and not necessarily by choice either.

    But to suggest that we are genetically different in intellect is like saying that US students are genetically inferior to most of Europe and Japan because our students score significantly lower in math and science compared to them. We do!

    I still believe it's cultural and environmental.

    I agree with you about the teacher bias, I remember it well, but I also think there is still a very real and basic stigma for women associated with pursuing these types of careers in the first place. Face it - the most popular girls in school weren't in AP Chemistry and Biology, and while we had a pretty health ratio of women in many of my classes, I was still in the minority in most of my core biochemistry and engineering courses. Go back and read the original threads about High IQ being a hindrance to women getting married. I have an awful lot of female physician colleagues and the ratio of single versus married compared to their male counterparts is pitiful and dramatic (although if you look at the divorce rates of physicians overall, it's pretty dismal anyway).

    I'm glad society has reached a point where I can pursue and achieve whatever I am capable of, but we still have a long way to go on the equality basis.

    There is enough real gender bias out there for a variety of legitimate reasons that we don't need to sweep it under the carpet of "genetic inferiority".

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