Though their numbers are growing, only 27 percent of all students taking the AP Computer Science exam in the United States are female. The gender gap only grows worse from there: Just 18 percent of American computer-science college degrees go to women. This is in the United States, where many college men proudly describe themselves as “male feminists” and girls are taught they can be anything they want to be.
Why yes, they are taught that they can be anything that they want to be. But wait, there is more. They are also pushed really hard to get into these male dominated fields. Really, really hard.
Meanwhile, in Algeria, 41 percent of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math—or “stem,” as it’s known—are female.
I do wonder a bit about the sample size, but let’s go with it.
So what explains the tendency for nations that have traditionally less gender equality to have more women in science and technology than their gender-progressive counterparts do?
Love the “gender progressive” description. Also, I wonder how much (and how) they learn. Is it just rote memorization?
According to a new paper published in Psychological Science by the psychologists Gijsbert Stoet, at Leeds Beckett University, and David Geary, at the University of Missouri, it could have to do with the fact that women in countries with higher gender inequality are simply seeking the clearest possible path to financial freedom. And often, that path leads through stemprofessions.
This is plausible. Very plausible.
But when it comes to their relative strengths, in almost all the countries—all except Romania and Lebanon—boys’ best subject was science, and girls’ was reading.
Nothing to see here. We all know this. The predispositions are mostly built-in.
And the more gender-equal the country, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, the larger this gap between boys and girls in having science as their best subject. (The most gender-equal countries are the typical snowy utopias you hear about, like Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. Turkey and the United Arab Emirates rank among the least equal, according to the Global Gender Gap Index.)
AOC says that we should be more like Sweden. I wonder where the results of this study will lead…
What’s more, the countries that minted the most female college graduates in fields like science, engineering, or math were also some of the least gender-equal countries. They posit that this is because the countries that empower women also empower them, indirectly, to pick whatever career they’d enjoy most and be best at.
So now we know. When women are in the cat-bird’s seat, (as they are in Sweden, equality protestations aside), they pick the stuff that they like doing. Some might uncharitably also suggest that they pick easy stuff. Others might suggest they choose to do stuff that is next to useless. But, we are not supposed to judge, are we?
So there we have it, it all makes sense. It is very surprising that the Atlantic published something like this. But who knows, maybe the editors were not paying attention?