Why aren’t there more women at STEM conferences?: This time, it’s statistical.

UC-Davis professor and perennial noticer of gender imbalance at conferences Jonathan Eisen received an e-mail invitation and call for submissions to the 2013 Winter Q-Bio Meeting: Quantitative Biology on the Hawaii Islands. Nice, right? Sun, science, slate of speakers almost exclusively composed of dudes. (On the plus side, Dr. Lahav, at least you’ll never have to wait in line for the bathroom.)

That is a 25:1 ratio.  Pathetic.  Embarrassing.  The sponsors – UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences and BioCircuits Institute, San Diego Center for Systems Biology, the University of Hawaii and the Office of Naval Research – should all be ashamed.

One female speaker out of 26. (Eisen tends to shorthand to XX/XY, but unless he’s doing some pretty intrusive genetic testing at these conferences, I’m guessing he means female/male.) Even given current gender disparities in STEM fields, that still seems a bit more disparate than can be attributed to chance. So Eisen submitted his own abstract for the meeting:

A quantitative analysis of gender bias in quantitative biology meetings

(Or, The probability of having one out of twenty-six participants at a scientific meeting be female)

Scientific conferences have key participants which I define to be the speakers and the organizers. Such key participants can be divided into two main classes based on gender: male and female, which I denote here as M and F, respectively (I realize there are other gender classes and I regretfully am not including them here). The number of key participants (which I denote as KP) for conferences varies significantly. For this analysis I focused on meetings with KP = 26. This value was selected for multiple reasons, including (a) that it is the number of letters in the English alphabet (b) that its factors include the number 13 which I like, and (3) because in email announcements for this meeting KP= 26. I sought to answer a relatively simple question – what is the probability that, for a meeting with KP=26, that F = 1. I chose this because this seemed extreme and because F=1 in the email announcements for this meeting.

[math, math, mathity math-math…]

Given that for p = 0.2 the Pr (F=1) < 0.05 I therefore conclude that the null hypothesis (that having one female out of 26 key participants) can be rejected - and that this meeting has a biased ratio of males: females.

Results, I’m sure, that shock us all.

Disheartening? Sure. But at least now, when someone starts claiming there isn’t gender discrimination at conferences, you can hit ’em with some math. And if that doesn’t work, just sigh and pull out your bingo card. (Click to embiggen.)

Female Conference Speaker Bingo: a bingo card full of excuses for not having more female speakers at STEM conferences

Female Conference Speaker Bingo: Because making excuses is way easier than making progress

84 comments for “Why aren’t there more women at STEM conferences?: This time, it’s statistical.

  1. Danah Gaz
    September 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve never attended a STEM conference myself, nor would I want to.

    I have a long, sordid history of working in I.T., and attending some conventions that attract many of the same people, such as COMDEX.

    I left I.T., and although not the largest reason, one significant factor was the number of self-absorbed, emotionally stunted men that work in the field. It becomes overwhelming when nearly every single person you work with is male, with aspergers, and suffering under delusions of “self-made” syndrome. It’s so pervasive that it seems to infect the culture.

    Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but I wouldn’t be caught dead at a STEM conference because I suspect the same dynamic. The tales I’ve heard from people I know who do attend – of sexism, of Ayn Rand fetishism, etc. lead me to believe that I’m not far off.

    • binarypillbug
      September 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      uh

      hmm

      are you saying that most of the men you’re talking about said that they had aspergers?

      • Danah Gaz
        September 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        The one’s I’ve spoken to about it actually do generally make that claim, yes – although I’ve of course not spoken to every single one, or even a majority, so fair enough. That said, my point is less about aspergers and far more about the lack of capacity for empathy, the emotional immaturity, and over abundance of ego that I’ve observed in many, or rather, most coworkers while in my 14 years in the field. I assume aspergers because it’s the most charitable reason I can think of why such attitudes permeate the field. If I didn’t assume that, I’d have to consider that most of these men are just huge jerks. That doesn’t seem fair.

      • September 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm

        What’s really isn’t fair is immediately associating people with Aperger’s with the assholes you used to run into at IT conferences. Stop doing it. Don’t try to further explain or clarify, just stop.

      • binarypillbug
        September 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm

        …i’m not really certain how to concisely respond to that.

        “That said, my point is less about aspergers and far more about the lack of capacity for empathy, the emotional immaturity, and over abundance of ego that I’ve observed in many, or rather, most coworkers while in my 14 years in the field.”

        oh, it’s not about aspergers, that’s why you mentioned aspergers!

        wait.

        “I assume aspergers because it’s the most charitable reason I can think of why such attitudes permeate the field. If I didn’t assume that, I’d have to consider that most of these men are just huge jerks. That doesn’t seem fair.”

        but that’s totally fair to people with aspergers, though.

      • ek
        September 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        And what would you say to females in IT with aspie tendencies?

      • matlun
        September 24, 2012 at 3:51 pm

        In the context, “having Asperberger’s” is not all that ableist. It is surprisingly common. As an Aspie in IT, I might object to the rest of the adjectives but to be honest there is some truth in the post.

    • September 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      Socially awkward != having Asperger’s. Please avoid ableist language.

      • Danah Gaz
        September 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm

        I apologize. My intent was to attribute the overwhelming behavior to a condition, rather than a purposeful defect of character among so many people. For what it’s worth, I felt that fairer than making a blanket assumption that so many people are jerks, particularly when aspergers tends to draw people to the field – particularly in software development, and some of these people I have spoken to about the condition have flat out claimed aspergers.

    • matlun
      September 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Actually, in IT this kind of gender proportions might be fairly reasonable as a random sampling. However, I always thought that the actual distribution of researchers in biology was much more even.

      In the linked article he is calculating from an estimate of 20% female researchers (of a “potential speaker” standing). Does anyone know how well this corresponds to the actual situation in the field?

    • David
      September 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      The tales I’ve heard from people I know who do attend – of sexism, of Ayn Rand fetishism, etc

      Simultaneously being sexist while worshipping a political theory created by a woman??

      But I agree that a lot of computer nerds are sexist. However… In Science you can be correct, something that you can’t do in a humanities subject. A woman can in principle walk into one of these conferences, do some

      [math, math, mathity math-math…]

      and be objectively correct, no matter how sexist the audience, they will have to accept that she is correct and competent.

      For example; I was recently at a Quantitative Finance careers event, trying to work out how much my soul is worth. We had to design functions that would sell a stock efficiently in a falling market. Then after 30 min we programmed them into the computer, and ran them in competition. The best function was written by one of the three women in the room. She is competent and capable of doing the job, No-one can argue with that.

      • librarygoose
        September 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm

        Simultaneously being sexist while worshipping a political theory created by a woman??

        Yes it is possible! Because, and let me blow your mind here, Ayn Rand was a big ol’ misogynist. Women can also be misogynists. Now you can pick up the pieces of your blown mind.

      • David
        September 28, 2012 at 7:02 am

        I was making a joke, but Ayn Rand is still a woman…

        Last time I checked gender was not defined by degree of misogyny.

  2. Past my expiration date
    September 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Caperton, are you the originator of this bingo card? I like it.

    • September 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      I am, in fact. Happy to please.

  3. Brennan
    September 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Really? They still think they can pull this crap? In BIOLOGY??? Did they really think no one would notice?

    • Mike
      September 25, 2012 at 7:17 am

      Who is “they”?

      • Rhoanna
        September 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

        Presumably the organizers of the conference, 2013 Winter Q-Bio Meeting: Quantitative Biology on the Hawaii Islands.

  4. Dan S.
    September 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Also:

    … But in a groundbreaking study published in PNAS last week by Corinne Moss-Racusin and colleagues, that is exactly what was done… scientists [were] presented with application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position and who intended to go on to graduate school. Half the scientists were given the application with a male name attached, and half were given the exact same application with a female name attached. Results found that the “female” applicants were rated significantly lower than the “males” in competence, hireability, and whether the scientist would be willing to mentor the student. The scientists also offered lower starting salaries to the “female” applicants: $26,507.94 compared to $30,238.10…

    source

    • September 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      HA! I love this comment especially because Corinne is a “real-life” friend from college, and one of the brightest people I know. Happy to see her shouted out here.

    • matlun
      September 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      This is very interesting work.

      It is probably an example of how people tend to use stereotypes in this type of fairly subjective ranking exercise. Ie the applicant is ranked in how well he/she corresponds to the stereotype of “good lab manager” in the mind of the evaluator. And this stereotype will then include an unconscious gender bias.

  5. September 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    [math, math, mathity math-math…]

    I wonder if my supervisor will let me use this notation in my thesis. It would really save me quite a lot of time.

    Also relevant to this post:

    Scientists, Your Gender Bias Is Showing (note that female scientists were no more or less likely to under-estimate the female applicant – yay internalized sexism!)

    • September 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Whoops, Dan S beat me to it!

  6. Donna L
    September 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    This reminds me a little of some of the things Ben Barres has said about his experiences.


    Ben Barres had just finished giving a seminar at the prestigious Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research 10 years ago, describing to scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and other top institutions his discoveries about nerve cells called glia. As the applause died down, a friend later told him, one scientist turned to another and remarked what a great seminar it had been, adding, “Ben Barres’s work is much better than his sister’s.”

    There was only one problem. Prof. Barres, then as now a professor of neurobiology at Stanford University, doesn’t have a sister in science. The Barbara Barres the man remembered was Ben.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115274744775305134.html (It’s the WSJ, so of course some of the language is problematic.)

    See also

    http://sexgenderbody.tumblr.com/post/16985212037/how-the-sex-bias-prevails

    • A4
      September 25, 2012 at 8:46 am

      Excellent stuff! Thanks for posting

  7. September 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Well, in my field (theoretical mathematical particle physics not string theory) a typical conference has ZERO female speakers. If there is a token speaker, she is most likely covering some safe side topic of interest, and nobody pays her that much attention. If she dares to have opinions of her own, her career is guaranteed to be destroyed. I am not exaggerating. We all know those words in the bible …

    • krs
      September 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Same with my field (operator algebras). If there is a female speaker at the conference I’m attending, it’s often (usually) me. And I’m just a PhD student. I’ve been to many conferences. I have seen one female Post Doc give a talk and zero female professors in my field.

  8. Punchdrunk
    September 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    @ matlun and Danah Gaz:

    I’m on the spectrum, my son’s Asperger’s, please stop. We don’t lack empathy. We’re not bigots or sexists or unable to control ourselves. Well, some are, but no more than any other group of people.
    My son and I care deeply about how our actions effect others. We’re not bumbling narcissists or sociopaths.
    I’m being as polite as I can, that was incredibly insulting.
    I know the type of ‘IT geek’ behavior you’re talking about (we’re a geeky family), and GTFO with lumping me and my son in with that entitled, misogynistic, small-minded, self-serving behavior.

    • matlun
      September 25, 2012 at 1:02 am

      IMO: For the “lacking empathy” to be true in general, you must be careful to differentiate between cognitive and affective empathy (see eg here)

      I was only responding to Danah’s first post and do not agree with hir posts in general.

    • Partial Human
      September 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      But…but… Punchdrunk, the only other alternative for her was to label sexist, boorish, stunted, entitled men as jerks!

      WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE NEUROTYPICAL GRABARSES IN THE OLD BOYS NETWORK??????

      Far, faaaar better to label all of us non-NTs as mannerless idiots, than risk offending a jerk!

    • im
      September 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      … Does she label some non-NT’s as mannerless jerks, or attempt to explain some jerkyness as NT-ness? By Bayes’ theorem, both judgements contain some quantum of each other.

      Of course, either Aspergers is contributing to jerkyness or it is not. The attribution-breakdown of jerkyness sources does not care about ableism, only about what the source of unpleasant behavior.

      I suspect that a small but much larger than average proportion of people on the Aspergers-spectrum may act as a jerk multiplyer even if the people with Aspergers themselves are not being jerks at a particularly high rate.

  9. Omar
    September 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    The same can be applied to engineering in North America. When I attended a conference in London a few years ago, there were quite a number of women from Iran, India, China and South Korea.

    • debbie
      September 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      This has been my partner’s experience, as well (he’s also an engineer). He knows many women who are engineers from Iraq, Iran, and China, but was shocked by how few women are in engineering in Canada.

    • im
      September 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      The pig is getting through the python though. In my college class there are getting to be a lot more female engineers. The group that just joined the robotics engineering club I am in has a fair number of women, maybe even a quarter or a third. I think it may be getting better.

  10. matlun
    September 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    To be fair they probably just wanted to get the best speakers available. There are few female volunteers and you it would be unfair to exclude a more competent male speaker just to get an additional woman in there.

    BINGO!
    (Do I win a prize, or have I misunderstood how this works?)

    • matlun
      September 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      “you it” -> “it”
      I wanted to write as compact and seemingly believable post as possible and still manage to get a full bingo line, but it seems I still screwed up the editing.

  11. Alexandra
    September 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    So this is what I have to look forward to, eh? I was enjoying the 60/40 female to male student ratio in my Calculus, Chemistry, and Biology courses this semester…

    • Sheepy
      September 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      The high female ratio in calculus isn’t surprising as (at least at my university and the ones my friends have attended) it is a required course for pretty much all disciplines that involve mathematics. In my experience Chemistry and Biology generally have better ratios then most other sciences, but I might be mistaken in thinking that is a general trend.

      I’m a computer science major myself and I’m usually one of a few females in my comp sci courses. The percentage of females hasn’t been higher than 10% for any of them.

  12. Jeff
    September 25, 2012 at 1:47 am

    The same goes for fields dominated by woman. There are not an equal amount of men at a conference. I am confused to see the point of this post. Are you saying that their are more worthy women out their in this field that have made a name for themselves that should have been invited? Or are you saying women are entitled to a larger stage even thought they make up an extremely small percentage of this field? Nothing is stoping women from exploring these types of careers. Matter of fact, women receive grants for entering into male dominated majors. However, the same can’t be said for men entering female dominated majors, such as nursing, one of the highest paid degrees of today.

    • Jeff
      September 25, 2012 at 1:48 am

      Pardon my horrible grammar I am exhausted and going to bed.

    • matlun
      September 25, 2012 at 2:12 am

      The linked article is an argument that the disparity is larger than would be expected from random chance. With some bonus math.

    • librarygoose
      September 25, 2012 at 3:35 am

      BINGO!!

    • kungfulola
      September 25, 2012 at 6:02 am

      Let me summarize the above comment, for accessibility purposes: “What about teh menz?”

    • A4
      September 25, 2012 at 8:52 am

      women receive grants for entering into male dominated majors

      From the grant fairy!

    • Jeff
      September 25, 2012 at 10:01 am

      kungfu, once again your misandry shows. Interesting how you belittle me by writing in that stereotypical dumb neanderthal man tone. I still bless and wish you well though. However, am very surprised by your name. I have been living a life of Buddhism and Shaolin Kempo for 19 years. If Kung Fu is a way of your life, then you are only paddling a fraction of the river.

      My comment had nothing to do with men. I used men as an example to put things into perspective. Are women entitled to speak at a convention even if they do not earn it? If women want to be equal to men then perhaps the best route possible would be getting treated like men. Both positive and negatives. Babying your way to the top will never gain respect. When women make a name for themselves in the technology field, and are not treated with respect and as equals to men then we have a problem.

      A4,

      http://www.scholarshipsforwomen.net/science/

      And this is not including all the gender neutral and minority grants that women receive.

      • im
        September 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

        YOu LittLE IdiOT!

        The problem is that too FEW wOmen are deserving and that those who do deserve are not getting what they deserve. No INdividal is to BLAmE for this.

        We want more women to be deserving. Currently women are being denied the chance to make a name for themselves. The playing field is not level and it needs to be.

        Did you even READ that stuff about unconscious gender bias? That is totally stopping women from pursuing these fields.

      • Jeff
        September 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm

        More personal attacks, yay! Please direct your anger elsewhere. It is fine if we disagree, not everyone has to think alike. I don’t wish you ill or insult you, why do so to me?

        How is the playing field not level? What is denying women from making a name for themselves? Women receive more grants for entering into male dominant degrees. Many companies receive funding for hiring minorities and women. Please explain what is holding women back.

        Yes, having taken many psychology classes I have read quite a few things about gender bias. Did you read the part where women exert bias on their own gender as do men? Apparently gender bias didn’t stop you from entering into engineering. Why? Has it stopped you from making a name for yourself? If there is something stopping women, how are we going to address it and put and end to it instead of just screaming about it?

        You didn’t debunk what I said. You merely insulted me and stated something without any logical or statistical truth.

      • Bagelsan
        September 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm

        I got to “misandry” and knew it would be a stupid comment. And I was right! :D

      • Jeff
        September 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm

        Oh, may I ask what you feel is stupid about it?

      • September 26, 2012 at 8:29 am

        Everything from “kungfu…” to “…receive.”

    • September 25, 2012 at 10:21 am

      I work in a field dominated by women. Our gender balance at conferences is somewhat better than none, but it’s hardly 25 women to 1 man. Still disproportionate.

    • Brennan
      September 25, 2012 at 10:40 am

      [citation needed]

  13. Colin Reid
    September 25, 2012 at 5:01 am

    An early careers workshop I attended recently had the following ratios (women/total):

    Speakers: 2/6
    Organisers: 1/3
    Other attendees: 3/40-odd

    The first two ratios are not so surprising for maths, but the third seemed a bit off to me and was actually discussed at the Q&A. The conclusions were basically ‘not enough childcare options’ and ‘invite specific people to attend so they know they are welcome to come’.

    I’m currently at the main pure maths conference in Australia, and I’d guess about 1/6 of the speakers are women. For the plenaries it looks like a similar ratio: 2 out of 11. (I could be off on both though as I am guessing based on first names.) I don’t know how this compares to the ratios of active mathematicians (grad students and up) in the country overall.

  14. Mike
    September 25, 2012 at 6:45 am

    What was the selection process like? Did the organizers send out invitations, did they make the event public and people had to apply?

    And what happened to gender shouldnt matter? It seems to matter, if there are not enough women. There are fields where women are overrepresented, maybe one should try to get women OUT of these fields first, so that more women are available for other paths.

  15. Mike
    September 25, 2012 at 6:59 am

    The pig is getting through the python though. In my college class there are getting to be a lot more female engineers. The group that just joined the robotics engineering club I am in has a fair number of women, maybe even a quarter or a third. I think it may be getting better.

    Its “getting better” since 30 years now. Some classes have more women than others, but the average in those fields is still what it is. There has been a fair number of respected and successful male balet dancers. It made not join men ballet in droves. There are activities which seem to be more attractive to one gender than the other.

    • im
      September 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      What I am saying is that I, a young engineering student among others like me, (and non-computer engineering is about as gender-skewed as it gets) see a whole lot more of my peers being women than these older confernecegoers do. When my friends and I grow up to be in the conferencegoing set, things should be better.

  16. Alara Rogers
    September 25, 2012 at 10:35 am

    There are fields where women are overrepresented, maybe one should try to get women OUT of these fields first, so that more women are available for other paths.

    Uh… I’m kind of amazed that anyone would actually say something like this, but then, this is the internet. If someone’s going to say something that’s nonsensical and completely without logic anywhere, it’s on the internet.

    You do not get people into the careers you would rather they be in by forcing them out of the careers they are already in. You get them into those careers by improving their ability to get into those careers. If they lack skills, teach them skills. If there is prejudice, combat the prejudice. If the money is too low but it is a valuable career, improve the money. (This is one of the reasons the ratio of men in nursing, social work and teaching is so low… and I don’t know about nursing and social work, but I do know that the rare male teachers have a much, much higher chance of moving on to supervisory positions such as principal or superintendent than the female teachers do, so the parallel with women in fields with few women is not accurate. Men have *better* chances for advancement than women do in careers that are mostly female.)

    Do you think that if you made it difficult for women to be schoolteachers, that men would jump in to fill the gap and that the women (who have been educated to be educators) would suddenly become bioscience researchers? Men don’t want to be schoolteachers because the money isn’t there and because other men will impugn their masculinity. Women don’t want to be bioscience researchers because there’s only so many times that you can tolerate your ideas being dismissed, your voice being silenced, and your person disrespected before you just get sick of it and quit. You don’t solve the problem that people have a hard time getting into a career by making it harder for them to choose different careers… you find the problem that is blocking them and you solve it.

    In other countries, including extremely sexist countries where women have fewer rights than here, there are much higher proportions of women in the sciences, because while they have many prejudices against women, that isn’t one of them. Girls consistently test better than boys at pretty much every ability involving language that there is, and yet men are more likely to be published by the literary establishment, more likely to be book reviewers, more likely to be speechwriters, more likely to be pundits — pretty much any job that involves using language and actually getting respect for it is dominated by men, despite the fact that in the West girls have better test scores for verbal ability than boys do. So the old “women just naturally prefer” or “women are just naturally not good at” saws are obvious bullshit. Women don’t have a natural preference if that preference is absent in women from a different culture, and if women are underrepresented in the fields where boys outtest girls *and* the fields where girls outtest boys, then it’s not about gender-based ability differences.

    (BTW, to a different poster who mentioned nursing: bullshit. Nursing is not a high-paid degree IN MEDICINE. If you compare it to a degree in English, or a degree in Art, yes, but nursing is a science degree and is paid less than pretty much any other field in medicine that requires comparable education and skills. In fact, nurse practitioners, who are basically almost doctors, and physician’s assistants, who are also basically almost doctors, do very comparable work… but PAs have a much higher ratio of men than NPs do, because PAs started as a military thing and NPs started from nursing… and PAs get paid more. same skill, only real difference is the number of men in the field. )

    • Mike
      September 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      The countries you refer to men are much more involved in matters of the faith and many boys and men in those countries see higher education and math as some kind of heresy, so thats why the gender ratio is A BIT better.

      Also we established that there are fields where women are overrepresented. So the reason that women are underrepresented cant be sexism, unless you want to argue that sexists enter STEM fields and then go on to keep women out, while non sexists enter the fields where we see more women and that must be why more women are present.

      And finally, the women whom pursue careers like nursing in droves, or any other field where you have the gender ratio skewed towards girls and women are not available to enter fields, where the gender ratio is skewed towards men.

      • September 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm

        [awed silence]

    • Jeff
      September 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      I’m curious to what countries you speak of? What level of math and sciences do these countries acquire? I have never heard of such things and would be very interested in reading up on some info. Do you have any statistics or journals to cite?

    • Jeff
      September 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      Also, you cannot compare a four year bachelors of science to a doctorate (MD). I meant to compare similar degrees. And an engineering degree is actually a 5 year degree, not to mention most engineers go through grad school to stay competitive.

      Nursing and PA
      http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291111.htm

      http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm#tab-7

      • im
        September 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm

        Engineering a 5 year degree? Not for me?

      • Jeff
        September 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

        Congratulations that is an impressive feat. For most, and most universities, It is a five year degree. Where did you attend? What was your engineering degree in?

      • September 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm

        I’ve never personally encountered any five-year engineering bachelor’s programs at all (in the U.S., anyway). I have seen a few fast-track programs to get both a bachelor’s and a master’s in five years.

      • Bagelsan
        September 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

        Nurse practitioners need more than a bachelor’s degree. Ditto PAs. It’s more comparable to an MD than you might think, and frankly it’s just as useful in the real world.

      • Jeff
        September 25, 2012 at 8:55 pm

        Yes the fast track for engineering. Known as 4 + 1, is rarely attempted. I believe for every 8000 or so in a graduate program only around 300 attempt it. Outside of the U.S many engineering degrees are a mandatory 5 years. Inside the U.S is possible to get in four, however, on top of the liberal arts and elective classes, having to take diff equations, physics I & II, and your degrees core classes usually pushes the student to 9 – 10 semesters for completion. I don’t have any new statistics on the matter but ten years ago I believe 60% of engineering students graduated in 9 – 10 semesters compared to 16% for 8 semesters.

      • September 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm

        You appear to have pertinent and very specific statistics at hand. Where are your figures coming from?

    • Donna L
      September 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      nursing is a science degree and is paid less than pretty much any other field in medicine that requires comparable education and skills

      That’s not necessarily true at the beginning of one’s career. My son has a good friend who’s only 23, a year older than he is (although she graduated from college with a nursing degree two years ago), and is making around $80,000 annually, while working towards a graduate degree.

  17. Mike
    September 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    … But in a groundbreaking study published in PNAS last week by Corinne Moss-Racusin and colleagues, that is exactly what was done… scientists [were] presented with application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position and who intended to go on to graduate school. Half the scientists were given the application with a male name attached, and half were given the exact same application with a female name attached. Results found that the “female” applicants were rated significantly lower than the “males” in competence, hireability, and whether the scientist would be willing to mentor the student. The scientists also offered lower starting salaries to the “female” applicants: $26,507.94 compared to $30,238.10…

    I am sure as soon as men can potentially get pregnant and are eventually saddled with the responsibilities of motherhood and entitled to maternity leave and such their marketability compared to women will decline.

    • September 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      I keep forgetting that when a foetus develops a uterus, this automatically results in a 25% reduction in brain tissue, right from the get-go. And when menarche hits, basically the whole frontal cortex just shrivels up! Because everyone knows that a uterus makes someone significantly less competent than a non-beuterused person.

      Because if you look at the study, perceived competence was the statistical mediator of the entire effect (i.e., it accounted for all the variance in the dependent variables as affected by the experimental manipulations). Respondents perceived female applicants as being less competent and therefore felt they should be hired less, earn less, and be mentored less. Why should someone’s capacity to get pregnant and go on maternity leave in the future reflect on their current competence? Unless of course you accept the uterus = brain deficit argument, which, to be fair, it seems like many people do.

      (Also note: In academia, at least in my experience, paternal leave or general parental leave is often possible. White collar job = white collar privilege.)

      • Mike
        September 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm

        Companies factor in things like maternity leave and the potential strain of parenthood on the company, in other words, absence. If a company “offers” maternity leave in America they are going to get their money back, on top of that they factor in that women are going to be absent more to to tend to children and thats how you get your lower starting salary for women.

        If the salaries would be equal, women would cost more and would be less competitive. Is it fair? No, but live isnt always fair. A woman has the possibility after “taking he pants off” to terminate a pregnancy if she does not want to be a mother. She is a woman, she is the one who gets pregnant and can get an abortion. We do not give the father the possibility of an “legal abortion” where he does not have to pay child support just to make it all fair and balanced. If she wants to be a parent, but paying child support shots his financial plans to hell, like pursuing an education, tough break, life isnt always fair. With advantages comes disadvantages as well. Companies realize too that its the woman whom gets pregnant and not the man.

      • September 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm

        Nothing you are saying has any relevance to the study you quoted initially and tried to debunk.

        The experimental effect of applicant gender on willingness to hire a female applicant was unrelated to perceptions of likelihood to use more resource or cost more. It was fully accounted for by perceived competency of the applicant.

        It should also be noted that women, especially middle-class women in white collar jobs such as described here, are far less likely to have children or use maternity leave.

        Your shotgun-scatter approach to this debate is silly and unproductive in advancing your point. Strive for coherency.

      • September 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        Mike! I banned you yesterday, and yet somehow you are back. Goodbye again!

      • September 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

        Jill, I know you tend to err on the side of not deleting comments, but I’m wondering if it might be a good idea to do so with Mike’s comments? Coming back after being banned says to me that he really wants the attention. His comments are also really inflammatory and are likely to derail and get him the attention he wants (I know I just fell for this).

      • September 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm

        Actually, on double-checking the article, I should clarify that the mediation effect was specific to hireability, with partial mediation for mentoring (i.e., perceived competence accounted for some but not all of the variation in mentoring intentions as caused by the experimental manipulation of applicant gender). They did not test a mediation effect for salary conferral because they used this variable in another way (as part of the competence composite and not as a dependent variable – looks to be a quirk of their original study design where salary was initially an indicator, not a DV, and was only used as a DV after the fact).

        The point stands, if specified: willingness to hire the person was dependent on their perceived competence, not expectations about future leave, and perceived competence was dependent on gender. There was also a moderation effect of pre-existing negative attitudes toward women (in this case, subtle attitudes, not explicitly hostile ones, as measured by the Modern Sexism Scale) – where participants scored highly on this measure, they were more likely to view female applicants poorly in terms of competence, hireability, mentoring. There was no effect this scale score on responses to male participants, except slightly to favour mentoring them (though this finding was only marginally statistically significant).

    • September 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Dude, didn’t you get banhammered, just, like, yesterday? Or are you a different troll? Is Feministe facing the Invasion of the MRA Mikes? I sense a movement/conspiracy here!

      MIKES FOR MANHOOD UNITE. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR POSTING STATUS!

      • September 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

        He has the same gravatar, which means he is using the same email address to post, so it’s the same Mike. He just masked or switched his IP to get around the ban.

      • September 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        So he actually switched both his email address AND IP address. I had blacklisted both. Irritating.

        And yes, future comments of Mike’s will be deleted (assuming they aren’t caught by our auto-mod). I would delete what he’s already posted, but there are several responses already. Hopefully we can just all move on and ignore what he’s written.

      • September 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

        Isn’t this the same Mike who got around another ban with the name “Ikme”?

  18. September 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Wait… as fun as it is smacking at statistical softballs when I’m supposed to be working, didn’t we already ban Mike for calling Mac a c*nt on the Galt thread? We can’t take that achievement away from her.

    • September 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      Ha ha, belated again.

  19. Lydia
    September 26, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Maybe pasty pale nerds just have a hard time inviting women :p .

Comments are closed.