Sex differences in academia: University challenge | The Economist

Interesting analysis of the some of the unconscious beliefs and habits that may undermine efforts to increase diversity within STEM disciplines:

All this raises interesting and awkward questions. It may be unpalatable to some, but the idea that males and females have evolved cognitive differences over the course of many millions of years, because of the different interests of the sexes, is plausible. That people of different races have evolved such differences is far less likely, given the youth of Homo sapiens as a species. Prejudice thus seems a more plausible explanation for what Dr Leslie and Dr Cimpian have observed. But prejudice can work in subtle ways.

It could indeed be that recruiters from disciplines which think innate talent important are prejudiced about who they select for their PhD programmes. It could instead, though, be that women and black people themselves, through exposure to a culture that constantly tells them (which research suggests it does) that they do not have an aptitude for things like maths and physics, have come to believe this is true.

If that is the case (and Dr Leslie and Dr Cimpian suspect it is), it suggests that a cultural shift in schools and universities, playing down talent and emphasising hard work, might serve to broaden the intake of currently male-dominated and black-deficient fields, to the benefit of all.

Sex differences in academia: University challenge | The Economist.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

One Response to Sex differences in academia: University challenge | The Economist

  1. Pingback: The Facts on Women in Science Show Why We Don’t Need the Diversity Bureaucracy | Multicultural Meanderings

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