Huzzah! We’re Done, Childrens’ Stereotypes Of Scientists Include Women Now

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It’s an obvious enough observation that the world isn’t perfect. There are indeed many things about it that we’d like to change. But we also have another associated problem – when have we done enough to change it? So that we can declare the problem solved and thus move our scarce resources on to trying to correct some other cock up of the universe? If we’re honest about it that’s something that society currently gets wrong.

Take, for example, renewable power generation. All are agreed – all on the green and pro-renewables side at least – that such are going to be cheaper than fossil fuels real soon now. Excellent, the correct response to this is that we can now stop subsidising renewables. Whatever it was that we needed to do to solve climate change is now done. We’ll not be burning dead dinosaurs to power civilisation and it was the burning of the dead dinosaurs producing the climate change problem. Great, problem solved, now, what next?

Except that’s not what happens, is it? As with this interesting little finding about what little girls think about scientists:

A new study suggests that changing media depictions have affected common gendered stereotypes — particularly when it comes to the stereotypical image of a scientist, a historically male-dominated field.

Using literature databases, researchers at Northwestern University examined 78 studies they identified over the last 50 years that included “Draw a Scientist” tests in America. The idea was to observe if children thought of a man or a woman when asked to draw a scientist.

The researchers relied on collected findings from more than 20,000 American children in kindergarten through 12th grade. The first study included an analysis of data collected from 1966 to 1977; the remaining studies included data from 1985 to 2016. According to the analysis, researchers concluded that more children drew women scientists with more frequency in later decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, less than one percent of the drawings showed a female scientists. That percentage had increased to 28 in the 1980s.

So, we have had a rise in the number of children who think that women can be scientists. Admittedly, not something I worry about greatly – as long as those who wish to be scientists have the opportunity to so be then I’m pretty sure we’re done even as I note that most of the rest of society doesn’t agree with me. Is this enough though?

Women continue to hold fewer positions than men in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. According to a UNESCO report, only 28.8 percent of the world’s researchers are female.

Children’s views of the world now seem to match that world near exactly. Seems to me like we’re done. After all, the point of education is to teach people what is, to free them from the disappointments and shackles of belief systems based upon what they’d like it all to be. That is what school and education is for isn’t it? To teach that the world isn’t unicorns pooping rainbows but vastly more fun and complex than that?

Excellent, we’re done therefore. On this one particular subject that is, childrens’ views of gender in science accord with reality. What’s the next problem for us to go off and solve then?

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Gamecock
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Gamecock

‘A new study suggests that changing media depictions have affected common gendered stereotypes — particularly when it comes to the stereotypical image of a scientist, a historically male-dominated field.’

Reported by people who don’t know the difference between sex and gender.

Meh.

BWTM:

https://www.naturalnews.com/042087_scientific_dishonesty_retracted_papers_science_fraud.html

‘Number of retracted scientific papers skyrockets: Scientific dishonesty on the rise?’

Coincidence?

Spike
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If the “gender” disparity in research is a result of personal decisions, then there was no problem in the first place. But the UNESCO crowd, like Harvard University when it cut loose Lawrence Summers, believes that the only acceptable explanation is group hatred. So it is overt cruelty (violating the ethical norms of “social” science) to ask children to draw a picture that must evidence a stereotype, which you will attribute to group hatred, even if you then declare that the hatred is not the fault of the children. If we should rely on government only for things that we… Read more »

So Much For Subtlety
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So Much For Subtlety

Contributions of women to science, at least to hard science, remains roughly nil. You can push a lot of men out of science and push a lot of girls into it, but there is still no reason to think that women’s contribution will remain anything but trivial.

If women could do science, they would have been doing science. Just as women can cook – but for some reason professional chefs tend to be men.

NiV
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NiV

Explain Noether’s theorem, then. 🙂

99% of men don’t do anything of any scientific worth. (Nor are most of them professional chefs.) I don’t see why they should get credit, just for sharing a gender with the people who did the actual work.

Hallowed Be
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Hallowed Be

Niv- yes good point, but there’s another one to be made here. If the stereotypes and division of labour into men’s work and women’s work of the bygone era worked against gender proportionality in the sciences then removing them should be like opening the sluice gates of a dam. I’d say that 28% represents much of the the first slosh as the newer generations even up in the freer less proscribed world. Now what we are left to address is whether the propensity for scientific careers differs innately and if so should various social tinkering be employed to maintain even… Read more »

NiV
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NiV

My view is that it’s all about personal choice. If women want to go into science (and some do), then they should be able to, with no artificial barriers put in the way. If the people paying for the science want women to be doing it for them (or men, or any other arbitrary and stupid category), and are willing to pay higher wages and offer better working conditions to get them to do so, then they should be free to do so, and pay the higher price for their tinkering. Others can compete, and get more science done more… Read more »

Hallowed Be
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Hallowed Be

I understand that discrimination of individual qualities not relevant to business performance will be selected against by market competition. No doubt gross (of the 50-100 years ago type) sexism would be out competed quickly away. However i think nowadays its more likely that its the attractiveness of the careers and career paths (rather than ability or employer discrimination) that more explains deviations from equal proportions. If that’s true then one option is to change the law to allow women to be paid more to bridge the attractiveness gap. Thinking that through though i don’t think that works either. Allow women… Read more »

NiV
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NiV

See the paper here: https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/wps/MCD_RJ_FP_GenderPayGap.pdf Look at figure 10. That shows how the gender pay gap varies with the number of years since the birth of your first child. The gap between the top two lines is due to gender differences in education (which also affects how willing women are to take career breaks or go part time – figures 6 and 7). The gap between the next two lines is the reduction in accumulated working experience due to career breaks. And the final gap is the effect of different career choices. As you can see, there is a residual… Read more »