The Real Reason Women Don’t go into Math, Science and Engineering – Sexist Shirts

Have you been following this foolishness?

The European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet. That’s pretty impressive, right? But overshadowing this milestone of human achievement, is a controversy over the shirt one of the scientists chose to wear. (FTR, I don’t agree with governments spending money on space exploration, but I don’t deny the achievement.) The scientist in question wore a bowling shirt that had scantily clad women on it. And that, you see, illustrates why the scientific and technical fields are so dominated by men. This sort of casual misogyny scares off otherwise interested women.

The Verge article I linked to above is so breathless that it reads like an Onion piece, but apparently it is serious. First of all, the shirt is admittedly tacky and inappropriate from a moral standpoint. It is also grossly inappropriate for the occasion. Dude should have put on a coat and tie if not a suit for such a momentous occasion. But as the stereotype suggests, brilliant scientists are often a bit socially clueless. I highly suspect that social cluelessness more than either deliberate or casual misogyny is behind this faux pas.

But The Verge article takes this tacky shirt and runs with it. It is symbolic for why more women don’t pursue careers in STEM fields. I don’t deny that there is likely a male centric milieu in these fields because they are dominated by men, just as there is likely a female centric milieu in fields like elementary education, nursing (less so these days) and hair styling which have long been dominated by women. So it is certainly possible that a woman interested in a STEM field could be intimidated by this and chose another route. But if you are intimated enough to change career paths by some doofus in a tacky and inappropriate shirt, then that doesn’t really say much about your fortitude or stick-to-itiveness, does it?

Here is how a scientist, rather than a PC addled ideologue would look at this question.  There are three broad possible explanations for why there are disproportionately fewer women in STEM fields. First, there might be extrinsic factors, like male chauvinism and early educational expectations, that give rise to this discrepancy. Second, there might be intrinsic factors, like men are inherently more talented at and inclined to such fields. Third, it could be some combination of both.

As an objective scientist, you can’t simply rule out option number two because you don’t like it. That is not how science works. In fact, given the ubiquitous nature of these observations, across culture and time, option two seems to me to be the Occam’s Razor explanation. We know that males on average do better on math standardized tests and especially at the outer limits. It is easy to suppose that the numbers we see are a reflection of that reality. It strikes me that the burden of proof is really on the “extrinsic” folks to demonstrate that the majority of what we observe is related to these extrinsic factors. Now it is almost certainly true that both extrinsic and intrinsic factors play a part, because complex phenomenon like this are almost never just one or the other, but the issue is how much of a factor does each play.

The Verge article makes no attempt to address this. It just comes off as whiney and pathetic, and does its cause no favors.

On a side note, the poor scientist has been so hounded by Social Justice Warriors that he cried during his apology. Now he shouldn’t have cried. He should have just said the shirt was inappropriate and he’s sorry. But I hope the SJWs are happy. They made a grown man, who has done more with his life than they ever will, cry. These PC enforcing goons need to be called out for their campaign of terror.

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5 thoughts on “The Real Reason Women Don’t go into Math, Science and Engineering – Sexist Shirts

  1. roho

    Bad choice of shirts……….However, IMO, women don’t pursue Math, Science, and Engineering because it is on the far end of their emotional base. Math, Science and Engineering are disciplines of EXACTS……….Not Greys, but Black and White. Women live in an emotional world of everything being grey and “justification” of all sorts depends on this. Women see intentions a greater virtue than results.

    Therefore, if logic, facts, and results are your compass, a woman would respond, “You simply do not understand all that is involved here!!”……………..LOL!

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  2. weavercht

    My theory is women avoid the tech field, because they wish to avoid the geeks.

    But seriously, I thought it was already accepted that women are less logical but better with memory and multi-tasking? And women do better in school while men do better at solving difficult problems.

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    1. Kayla Lang

      Typical western sexism. To have multi tasking forced on women, is as stupid as expecting a rock to be able to swim. No one is good at multi tasking, and it is harmful myth which causes a lot of frustration for both genders. And about being’ less logical ‘ as a woman , I take that as a severe insult.

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  3. weavercht

    The other major factor is men are supposedly more variable. So, you have more very smart and very stupid men. And I personally think women focus more on relationships and dating than men do. You expect a man to be a slacker or completely devoted to his work. You don’t expect a woman to show such variability, though some do of course.

    Whatever the case, the popular claim currently is women tend to make better stock investors. Women do better research and tend to hold their stock investments during a dip. And dips usually correct. Men, on the other hand, are more inclined to gamble, take risks, and trade too often.

    That’s not an absolute – just a trend.

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  4. Kayla Lang

    Women in the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe , have advanced degrees in STEM. If you want to find the REAL reason women don’t pursue STEM in America, all you have to do, is look at our cultural “norms”, it’s simply our sexist environment in America. There is nothing innate gong on here, it’s constant setting of limitations on women’s intellect by pop psychology, nothing could be more inane than where you get your information from, pity. If this continues , America will be even further behind in STEM.

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