Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gender, Tech, and Education

Before I get into the articles, I would like to pose a question.

It is well-known that K-12 teaching is a "woman's business." I went to my school district's on-line directory, chose "instructional staff" and counted up the number of male and female teachers. In my district, male teachers accounted for about 22% of the teaching staff; female, 78%. The Middle and High Schools account for most of the male teachers; the elementary schools for very few.

Nursing is probably even more skewed, even if there are many more male nurses today than there were when my mother was actively nursing.

Teaching is generally well-paid (some argue, overpaid). It does not require heavy lifting, is generally not dangerous, and the hours aren't bad, although it is emotionally draining.

Why is there no concerted, angry efforts to change the "gender disparities" in teaching? Or nursing? (Or, conversely, garbage collection and coal mining?)

To ask that question is to partly answer it: females are "winning," not losing. Men's complaints, when they are made, are not taken seriously in our culture. And tech is more prestigious than teaching.

Article: An 'Ether Of Sexism' Doesn't Explain Gender Disparities In Science And Tech
The most relentlessly cited statistic was that women make up only 16% of the tech workforce. At first glance, this looks pretty lame. But once you catch your breath, you realize that most of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Women only earn 18% of such degrees awarded to United States residents. Not such a bad effort, then, by Google and company. Still, that didn’t stop the public shaming. Earnest apologies were issued, and calls were made for reform.

To my knowledge — I’m biased — no school enrolls more fiercely intelligent women than Yale. Yet even there, women are only 18% of computer science majors. The figures are similar at other high-flying schools that admit the best and the brightest women. Not unexpectedly, the prevailing narrative at Yale is that these numbers reflect some kind of glaring injustice. But what exactly is Yale doing wrong?
Many studies are quoted on both sides of the issue, but the most convincing is a 20-year long one following 3,000 mathematically gifted men and women, from childhood to adulthood. The major differences in where they ended up had to do with "lifestyle preferences."
Men placed greater importance than women on “being successful in my line of work,” “inventing or creating something that will have an impact,” and “having lots of money.” Women stressed “having strong friendships,” “living close to parents and relatives,” and “having children.” Overall, men appeared to emphasize career success while women sought balance.
In Western societies today, women have all the options open to them, and widespread encouragement to consider and pursue those options. Differences in outcome may simple reflect differences in personal choices.

Collectively, 300,000,000+ Americans making billions of lifestyle choices, of their own free will, over decades, have produced the culture we live in. The culture, with females being 78% of teachers and 16% of tech workers, reflect those free-will choices.

The only way to change those ratios may be government force. And does anyone want to force men and women out of one field or into other?

Article: This Is What Tech’s Ugly Gender Problem Really Looks Like

Anecdotal evidence about high-powered "angels" who refused to put money into women's startups. Some sexist things are quoted.

The "technological-industrial complex" tends to be male and on the left; they are also either wealthy-left or young-left or both. I read an article like this and wonder, "Did these unfortunate women find the few right-wing, male chauvinist pigs in the "TIC," or are these people on the left?" Is the left sexist? (Yes, with too many examples of the left being MCP's about conservative women to leave any doubt).

The men turning down women's requests, because they are women, are making huge mistakes for the long run. An inability to evaluate a project, as a project, and using irrelevant criteria, will cause good projects to go to someone willing to fund them. It will also mean that projects will be chosen for funding that are not viable.

So, in the long run this stupidity is self-limiting.
Indeed all of the women interviewed for this story have found investors who they say have been wholly supportive throughout the process. Even those who have experienced bias, like Tucker, say it’s hard to get outraged about outright ignorance.
Article: Title IX for our boys: Column

Stereotyped as "naughty," boys quickly learn that they are thought of as dumber and more trouble than girls. And that has consequences. "When boys aged seven to eight were told that they tend to do worse at school than girls, they scored more poorly in reading, writing and mathematics tests than those who were not primed for failure. And telling children aged six to nine before a test that both sexes were expected to do equally well improved the boys' performance." But the message that boys get is that they're not as smart

Female teachers also give boys lower grades, according to research in Britain. Female teachers grade boys more harshly than girls, though, interestingly, male teachers are seen by girls as treating everyone the same regardless of gender. More and more, it's looking like schools are a hostile environment for boys.

...It may be time for state and federal officials to look into this gender imbalance. If schoolteachers were overwhelmingly male and girls were suffering as a result, there would be a national outcry and Title IX-style gender equity legislation would be touted. Why should we do less when boys are the ones suffering?
Article: Quotation of the day on the ‘gender pay gap’ ….

… is from Joanna Williams’s (education editor of spiked) article “Cut the Crap About the Pay Gap“:

A gender pay gap, albeit one that is rapidly decreasing, still exists; but the good news is that when occupation, contracted hours and most significantly age are taken into account, it all but disappears. In fact, the youngest women today, even those working part-time, are already earning more each hour than men. We need to ask why this is not more widely known and question the motives of those who seem so desperate to cling to a last-ditch attempt to prove that women remain disadvantaged. We should be telling today’s girls that the potential to do whatever job they want and earn as much money as they please is theirs for the taking, rather than burdening them with the mantle of victimhood.
Article: Cut the Crap About the Pay Gap

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