meep (meep) wrote,

Awesome Idea: Cut Down on Number of Men in Science

I saw that William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection had linked to this piece by Hans Bader on coming quotas for men in science and tech:

Obama hinted that Title IX quotas would soon come to engineering and techology, saying that “Title IX isn’t just about sports,” but also about “inequality in math and science education” and “a much broader range of fields, including engineering and technology. I’ve said that women will shape the destiny of this country, and I mean it.”

Christina Hoff Sommers wrote earlier about this looming liberal war on science. Based on a campaign promise Obama made to feminist groups in October 2008, Sommers foresaw the Obama Administration moving to artificially cap male enrollment in math and science classes to achieve gender proportionality — the way that Title IX currently caps male participation in intercollegiate athletics. The result could be a substantial reduction in the number of scientists graduating from America’s colleges and universities.

Now, I've been writing about MATH AND SCIENCE NEED MORE CHICKS for years, especially as I had been a target of such efforts, and found it increasingly annoying. This is entirely relevant:

Many women are quite capable of mastering high-level math and science, but simply don’t find working in such a field all that interesting. As Dr. Sommers notes, many “colleges already practice affirmative action for women in science,” rather than discriminating against them. Susan Pinker, a clinical psychologist, chronicled cases of women who “abandoned successful careers in science and engineering to work in fields like architecture, law and education,” because they wanted jobs that involved more interaction with people, “not because they had faced discrimination in science.” Far from being discouraged by society from pursuing a career in math or science, these women had been strongly encouraged to pursue such a a career: “Once they showed aptitude for math or physical science, there was an assumption that they’d pursue it as a career even if they had other interests or aspirations. And because these women went along with the program and were perceived by parents and teachers as torch bearers, it was so much more difficult for them to come to terms with the fact that the work made them unhappy.”

In the end, the "more goodies in academia for chicks who can do math and/or science" worked against my interest as it was not the world for me, and I hung around in grad school for way too long (6 years). Since then, I've been trying to tempt my friends in academia to join me in the much more lucrative corporate world, especially as there's far less in the way of politics and there's more career security. (I know of a few who managed to get traditional tenure. Far more have had a bunch of part-time stints, from academic year to academic year, or semester to semester.)

In any case, I now think max quotas in universities for men in math and science is awesome, and I don't mean in an ironic way. I mean in a way that "it will finally destroy universities". Worried that online attempts to replace higher education will fail? Worry no longer.

The types of subjects eminently suited for movement over to the MOOCs are tech- and science-based. Most of the offerings up now appeal to that crowd. I've been taking some Computer Science courses via Udacity, and been enjoying them a great deal, and learning some practical skills. Now, I'm not an 18-year-old trying to figure out what to do with my life and what kind of credentials I may need to get a job I want. But if you start putting artificial barriers on top of the immense costs being already there... yep, you won't have difficulty keeping down the numbers of men in these fields. Many will go do it anyway without your precious credentials.

As for the universities: tough shit. They've been promoting leftist crap that resulted in Title IX, and don't think it's only the liberal arts areas that contributed to it. When I was at NYU, Courant was rife with leftists amongst the students and faculty (most of the non-leftists left to go work on Wall Street, and even there, plenty were willing to sell out to Lehman Brothers).

Alan Sokal, the NYU physics professor who pulled a hoax (easily done) on the deconstructionists was(is) an out-and-out Marxist. Want to know why he pulled that hoax? Because he thought his fellow Marxists were getting sidetracked by these particular idiocies. I once tried to listen to him expound on his Marxism, but it came across as incoherently as everything else in Social Text, the journal he hoaxed. I find it interesting that the Wikipedia article on the Sokal Affair keeps mentioning the "Academic Left" without at all mentioning that Sokal was a hardcore leftist himself.

But that's of no matter.

I doubt that they'll pull the trigger on this in any meaningful way, but I do hope it goes in that direction. Because while everyone was realizing the rotten core of higher ed humanities in modern times, the defense of the university was that some substantive research and education with high standards was going on in the math-related fields. All the useless "Director of Student Navel-Gazing" positions were just the cost of doing business to allow solid results in the hard sciences.

Ha ha ha

Good luck with that.

I rather fancy physics will be the first to go. I hope it takes string theory with it.

Anyway, here's a post I wrote back in 2006 on the sex distribution in different majors:
But one finds that certain fields are not gender neutral. Let's see which these are favored by men compared to women: physics, chemistry, and electrical engineering. Also on a different graph: computer science and economics. (Question: where's the math majors? There are far more majoring in math than physics or why isn't it represented? Is the pattern not one that would go with their neat regression? Seriously, I'm not trusting the number-crunching when some huge majors are missing.) Favored by women: education, nursing, psychology, sociology. Does one see a pattern? Anyone?

Could it be that certain fields deal with "stuff" and "things" and other fields center around people? That's what it looks like to me.

Perhaps "desegregation has stalled" because the populations are now in equilibrium, where each individual is going with their actual major preference, and where such preferences aren't equally distributed amongst groups. Is there any outcry that there aren't more men in women's studies? Why the gender segregation?! We must kick out some of the faculty and students and forcibly draft men to take their place. Then justice shall be achieved!

I hope they enjoy their sweet, juicy justice when universities are back to their somewhat marginal status of the 19th century. I'm fine with that result. I'm not sure how fine the various useless administrators would be with it.

The end result is not going to be more women in science. It's going to be fewer people in the hard sciences in academia, period. Because when even the competent women leave those fields to go do something else, you're not going to have much luck in trying to add the marginal women.

And universities have been far from being the gatekeepers of knowledge for a couple decades now. Perhaps due to the (waning) government support they have been shielded from their increasing irrelevancy in a way that, oh, weekly news magazines have not.

I think the culture and science will come out of this okay. I don't have much hopes for the old school Old Schools.

Somewhat related: High growth in number of people with advanced degrees on welfare. Of course, not all is a testament to the uselessness of their degrees. Much of that also has to do with the shit economy.

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