Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Female engineer N2 weighs in on the current controversy:
I am practically speechless, and for me, that takes some doing!! First, I had an attack of hysterics and emitted a few maidenly vapors, and then I got MAD. (And recovered my voice.)
The termites are beginning to peep out of the woodwork, emboldened no doubt by the encouraging new social and political trend toward the deification of the privileged white male (has anyone out there read "The Handmaid's Tale"?????), allowing this kind of bullshit to pass as a serious and "vitally important" debate in the hallowed and ivy-covered walls of academe.
Let us examine the problem under consideration: the "persistent underrepresentation of women in university departments of mathematics, engineering and physical sciences". Could it be that this is explained by:
1) That pesky time issue thing. Our hero points out that "top positions on university math and engineering faculties require extraordinary commitments of time and energy, with many professors working 80-hour weeks in the same punishing schedules pursued by top lawyers, bankers and business executives. Few married women with children are willing to accept such sacrifices". Oh yeah, women traditionally just fall apart in the face of the expectation that they be able to work a challenging job, be an adequate wife and mother, take the lion's share of responsibility for domestic responsibilities, and generally pack a 30-hour schedule into a 24-hour day. Their poor little minds just go into overload and they can't handle it!! And, golly gee whillikers, to expect them to solve EQUATIONS and stuff on top of it all is JUST TOO MUCH!!!
2) "Men are taller than women, that comes from the biology, and Larry's view was that perhaps the dispersion in test scores could also come from the biology." (citing research showing that more high school boys than girls tend to score at very high and very low levels on standardized math tests (what happened to all those much-touted studies showing that in the beginning, girls consistently do as well or better, but tend to succumb to secondary education's tendency to relegate them to the back seat, so they fall along the wayside?)) No doubt the next riveting topic for discussion will be how the boys at the low end are obviously gay, or how about a return to the ever-popular theory that African-Americans have diminished intellectual capacity due to biology?
It is reported that "male colleagues didn't say much afterwards and later said they felt his comments were being blown out of context. Female colleagues were on the whole surprised by his comments." Surprise, surprise!!
Let me offer a wee theory. It just MIGHT be that there are so few women represented in the fields of math, science, and engineering at the highest levels of business and in academic departments because ADVANCEMENT IS CONTROLLED BY MEN SUCH AS OL' LARRY AND ALL THOSE BAFFLED COLLEAGUES OF HIS WHO ARE AMAZED THAT OFFENSE COULD BE TAKEN TO SUCH A CONDESCENDING THEORY!!! But, of course, I am but a plucky woman who somehow managed to beat the curse of biology and fate and SUCCEED in both mathematics AND engineering. And to think that all this time, I never realized what a freak of nature I was!!
Scary, isn't it?