From Powerline we get this,
This study explored the gendered nature of STEM higher education institution through a feminist critical discourse analysis of STEM course syllabi from a Midwest research university. I explored STEM syllabi to understand how linguistic features such as stance and interdiscursivity are used in the syllabus and how language and discourses used in the syllabus replicate the masculine nature of STEM education. Findings suggest that the discourses identified in the syllabi reinforce traditional STEM academic roles, and that power and gender in the STEM syllabi are revealed through exploration of the themes of knowledge, learning, and the teaching and learning environment created by the language used in the syllabus. These findings inform and extend understanding of the STEM syllabus and the STEM higher education institution and lead to recommendations about how to make the STEM syllabus more inclusive for women. [Emphasis added.]
If you read to the end of the paper (ah, the things I do for Power Line readers!), you find this among the suggested remedies:
This suggests that there is an opportunity for STEM courses to reduce the perception of courses as difficult and unfriendly through language use in the syllabi, and also as a guide for how to use less competitive teaching methods and grading profiles that could improve the experience of female students. [Emphasis added.]
In other words, dumb it down and practice grade inflation for the girls in the class, who are no different from boys, don’t you ever forget.
So what is the takeaway here? Apparently girls are not entering STEM programs at a large enough rate, and once there, are not doing particularly well. It would seem that some think that it is a big conspiracy. For example, my one sister would be such a person. She was very unhappy that the robotics club at the local school was almost all boys. She felt that the boys in the club were intimidating any girls that might want to join. So she started a robotics club for just girls. Can anybody guess what happened? Well, there were no participants. The girls were just not interested; especially when they could not depend on the boys making cool robots to impress them.
So what is really going on? Why are women so poor at STEM?
I. People who really like STEM tend to be highly intelligent. These would be mostly males, as they have the wider intelligence bell curve, yielding a greater number of highly intelligent individuals.
II. One can make an OK to good living through STEM. It is mostly considered to be valuable, and as such, talent will be in demand. Women need not worry about such things, as lots of marketing and HR jobs are reserved for them.
III. One should be competent if one is in a STEM field. Incompetence shows readily. Modern women don’t need to bother to be competent, so why should they put in the effort
IV. STEM requires deriving creative solutions that work in the real world. Enough said.
Now it is your turn. Why do STEM and women not mix?
Addendum: Within the last year I came across an article that tried to explain a perceived anomaly with respect to computer science and the number of women entering the field. It seems that thirty years ago, many women did choose to go to the University for a Computer Science degree. And then the numbers dropped. The article made the case that the time of transition was also the time that geek/nerd culture in the computer world became popular. The assertion was that women just did not want to be around such guys. There is probably much truth in that. But perhaps a better way to look at it is that up to that time, computer science was viewed a a prestigious field, one that provided many respectable career opportunities (e.g. white shirt IBM culture). Sure, it might take some work, but there were rewards at the end. After the culture shift, the prestige went away, and who but people who really truly did like the field would tolerate that?