28
Oct
10

Choice not ability keeps women out of math-intensive fields

Two Cornell University psychological researchers conclude that the main factor for a shortage of women in math, science and engineering fields is, clearly, not ability, but rather freely made choices.

They suggest that some women would rather study biology than math. And the reason for a lower number of women than men in these areas of academia is also by choice, given the fact that the difficult first years as a professor coincide with the time when many women are having children.

Psychological scientists Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams of Cornell University set out to understand the differences between men and women in math-intensive fields such as physics, engineering, computer science, economics, and chemistry. In the top 100 U.S. universities, only 9% to 16% of tenure-track positions in these kinds of fields are held by women.


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The Editor

John G. Falcioni is Editor-in-Chief of Mechanical Engineering magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

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