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Thread: Women in Science - food for thought

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Things are the way they are because bad habits are hard to break. And no, they don't work very well at all, for most people in the world.
    I'm not saying it is good. I think evolution only looks at survival of species and survive humans have. Many in misery.
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    Glad that Enlightenment thinkers didn't agree with you. We might still be burning "witches". Or the abolitionists that fought to end slavery. Or the civil rights activists who thought it was crazy that skin color was a factor in how you were treated. Or . . .
    I'm saying it is impossible to define better and then actually improve things without changing a bunch of other variables and then other aspects are much worse. Evolution of society takes into account many trillions of variables. Are we better off with science. Would you prefer a world where humans were slightly less intelligent where humans could never have conquered the world as we have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    I always say things are they way they are because it works. Things were the way they were because it worked. Societal evolution is in its infancy, so expect a lot of changes, but don't try to change things, it is too complicated to figure out what is better. It has to be an evolution of society.
    Often "it" works for only a limited subset of the population, such as those in power (whether that power comes from money, politics, military might, etc.). As others have pointed out, none of that necessarily makes it right.

    I don't know what you mean by "societal evolution", but it is almost certainly not in its infancy; societies have been evolving since humans first had anything like a society. Sometimes they change slowly, sometimes they are driven to rapid change, just like biological evolution.

    In my 60 years of life I've seen some pretty massive societal changes in the US.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    I'm saying it is impossible to define better and then actually improve things without changing a bunch of other variables and then other aspects are much worse. Evolution of society takes into account many trillions of variables.
    I don't think society is a zero-sum game.

    And I think it is absolutely possible to define better.

    I also suspect this discussion is rapidly getting off topic, and into areas not appropriate for CQ.
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    60 percent of new phycians are female. Is that not science. I personally think the decision to become aedical doctor is better than physics. Why try to steer another way?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    60 percent of new phycians are female. Is that not science. I personally think the decision to become aedical doctor is better than physics. Why try to steer another way?
    That's because we "fixed" medicine back in the '70s. 40% of my medical school year were female back in 1975, because we already understood that having women in medicine was to everyone's advantage, we adopted a career structure that allowed different trajectories and different rates of progress (albeit with an initial positive discrimination in favour of women through what was patronizingly called the "Women's Retainer Scheme"), we had positive role models, we overtly mocked the few sexist dinosaurs of the previous generation, and we let women know that they were valued and welcomed.
    Amazingly, the gender balance in medicine moved quickly towards 50%.
    There are still serious issues in academic medicine, and I would never claim that all was rosy in clinical medicine (some surgical specialties are still operating in the 1940s, it appears), but I worked for thirty years in such a non-sexist environment I sometimes find it difficult to believe the crap that's still going on in business and the entertainment industry.
    If physics sorted itself out in the same way, I predict the gender balance would shift in the same way, and it wouldn't steal women from medicine - you'd be amazed how little aptitude most medics have for physics.

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    ,,,,you'd be amazed how little aptitude most medics have for physics.
    admittedly long ago, I wanted to do physics, biology, maths, but biology was an arts subject, not allowed with Maths! For medicine I would think biology, Chemistry, maths would have been good, (I think my doctor sister did that eventually), but also forbidden at my school. I hope it's better now with more flexible curriculums. I am referring to UK A levels, the USA system is different.
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    I'd agree that physics remains heavily dominated by men, and I'd agree that much of that is just "culture" that's in place because it's in place. I do see active efforts to change that, but it often seems that changes like that take longer than we'd like.

    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    ...and it wouldn't steal women from medicine - you'd be amazed how little aptitude most medics have for physics.
    Heh, as a side note, I definitely believe that. I used to teach an introductory physics lab course targeted at pre-med students, and it was pretty frightening how poor a grasp some of them had.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    Heh, as a side note, I definitely believe that. I used to teach an introductory physics lab course targeted at pre-med students, and it was pretty frightening how poor a grasp some of them had.
    My semester as a teaching assistant for a Chemistry course for pre-meds didn't leave me impressed by their grasp of chemistry or for hands-on laboratory work. There were a couple I flat-out told, "I hope you're going to be a psychiatrist, and not a surgeon".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...science-didnt/

    Something worth keeping in mind. Broadly speaking, encouraging ANYONE with talent to do STEM is a gift to the future.
    I'm male. When I was younger I was definitely made fun of by my peers for liking maths and science. This is commonly known as nerd-bashing which seems to be culturally accepted/tolerated (at least when I was growing up). It didn't stop me though, because I knew they were idiots and nothing would stop me from my passion. Today, I have a great career in STEM and the kids who made fun of me are flipping burgers.

    Just food for thought. My message to all young women interested in STEM is that please don't let go of your passion because of a few idiots. STEM is the future, there's no doubt about that.

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    I still feel women go where they want to based on what is available to them now. I think all this, why aren't there more women in physics, is basically sending the message that the choices you made are wrong. Frankly I would not encourage people to go into physics. I think the women who made to go into be a physician, nurse, pharmacist, teacher, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, radiology technician, respiratory therapist, lab technician, chemist, engineer, made much more practical decisions. They should be applauded and not given another reason to doubt their decision. As far as I can tell a doctorate in physics is not nearly as easy to keep a job as all these other options.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    I still feel women go where they want to based on what is available to them now. I think all this, why aren't there more women in physics, is basically sending the message that the choices you made are wrong.
    No, it's a response to women who want a career in physics being discouraged from following it, to a greater extent than men are discouraged from following it. Pretty much by definition, people who never considered a career in physics are not going to feel they made the wrong choice by not pursuing a career in physics.

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  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    I still feel women go where they want to based on what is available to them now. I think all this, why aren't there more women in physics, is basically sending the message that the choices you made are wrong. Frankly I would not encourage people to go into physics. I think the women who made to go into be a physician, nurse, pharmacist, teacher, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, radiology technician, respiratory therapist, lab technician, chemist, engineer, made much more practical decisions. They should be applauded and not given another reason to doubt their decision. As far as I can tell a doctorate in physics is not nearly as easy to keep a job as all these other options.
    I don't think anyone is trying to encourage women who don't want to go into physics to go into physics. And students should have realistic expectations of their job prospects, whether they go into physics, engineering, medicine, or anything (and whether they are men or women).

    The problem is that women who do want careers in STEM are discouraged from pursuing those careers, either actively or passively discouraged. And this has been told to me by women who are actually working in those fields.
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    My experience is that trying to discourage a woman from doing what she wants to do isn't very productive. Note that Swift says they are working in the field.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    Heh, as a side note, I definitely believe that. I used to teach an introductory physics lab course targeted at pre-med students, and it was pretty frightening how poor a grasp some of them had.
    It's positively excruciating. And don't get me started on their maths.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    My experience is that trying to discourage a woman from doing what she wants to do isn't very productive.
    They're wilful little creatures, aren't they?
    (By which I mean to indicate: Your remark reflects a serious lack of understanding of the problem.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    My experience is that trying to discourage a woman from doing what she wants to do isn't very productive. Note that Swift says they are working in the field.
    Ask a woman about that, see what she says.
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  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    My experience is that trying to discourage a woman from doing what she wants to do isn't very productive. Note that Swift says they are working in the field.
    One of the ones I was thinking of was sexually harassed by one of her professors. She is working in the field in spite of that. Just because some people overcome unfair and unjust obstacles doesn't mean those obstacles are not a problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    One of the ones I was thinking of was sexually harassed by one of her professors. She is working in the field in spite of that. Just because some people overcome unfair and unjust obstacles doesn't mean those obstacles are not a problem.
    Yes. What you do to discourage someone from doing something they want to do, is you make it into something they don't want to do anymore - just add daily unpleasantness and lack of recognition, and wait.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2018-Dec-05 at 01:33 AM.
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    Gee, why are 90 percent of nurses female? Why is this always phrased as how are women this or that? I work as a nurse and I am a man.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    Gee, why are 90 percent of nurses female? Why is this always phrased as how are women this or that? I work as a nurse and I am a man.
    Because in Western societies men are considered the default, women the exceptions, despite being half the population. Men taking jobs is not considered noteworthy because it's "supposed to be" the norm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    Gee, why are 90 percent of nurses female? Why is this always phrased as how are women this or that? I work as a nurse and I am a man.
    Gad, people have been wringing their hands about gender imbalance in "female dominated" jobs like nursing and teaching for decades. Surely you've noticed.

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    I find it peculiar that sexual harassment seems to be prevalent (and repelling women) mostly in STEM jobs, and not in jobs like marketing, HR, sales, nursing or retail. Or if it exists in those jobs it is not pushing women out of them significantly. However, when it comes to STEM jobs I read many articles that say women exit those jobs because of sexual harassment.

    I'm a male in STEM I wonder if there's something inherently more creepy in my male peers than the males in non-STEM fields.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I don't think anyone is trying to encourage women who don't want to go into physics to go into physics.
    Mmmm. I think we devalue the humanities ("STEM is the future," in this very thread, as though the humanities won't have to be right there with it), making those of us who are simply better at the humanities feel as though we've somehow chosen--or been born with the skillset for--a lesser path. But within STEM, there's certainly less "there is only one correct field."

    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Because in Western societies men are considered the default, women the exceptions, despite being half the population. Men taking jobs is not considered noteworthy because it's "supposed to be" the norm.
    What's more, women are the majority of nurses but men get more promotions to management. Even within nursing, an ostensibly female field (and make no mistake, it's a "female" field because of sexism--nursing is "nurturing" and men aren't supposed to do it), there is definitely a tendency to assume that men are better at it.
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    Just to put some numbers on it: in the UK, women occupy 30% of senior positions in nursing, despite making up 90% of the workforce. Having observed the process from nearby for a couple of decades, I'd say the sexist assumption is not that men are better nurses, but that they're better managers. If you want to get your ear bent about how bad men are at coal-face nursing, get a group of female nurses together in the pub and buy them a few beers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Mmmm. I think we devalue the humanities ("STEM is the future," in this very thread, as though the humanities won't have to be right there with it), making those of us who are simply better at the humanities feel as though we've somehow chosen--or been born with the skillset for--a lesser path. But within STEM, there's certainly less "there is only one correct field."
    I think there is definitely a devaluing of the humanities in society, and this has been true for sometime. Look at school or governmental budget cuts for example: art and music are usually the first things cut.

    I'm not sure that specifically is a sexism thing. I think it is more a blindness to subjects without blatantly obvious economic incentives, and a devaluing of the importance of the humanities (both economically and otherwise). Even within STEM, I think this is true, with things like engineering and computer programming looked upon as more valuable than theoretical physics or mathematics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Just to put some numbers on it: in the UK, women occupy 30% of senior positions in nursing, despite making up 90% of the workforce. Having observed the process from nearby for a couple of decades, I'd say the sexist assumption is not that men are better nurses, but that they're better managers. If you want to get your ear bent about how bad men are at coal-face nursing, get a group of female nurses together in the pub and buy them a few beers.

    Grant Hutchison
    Management in nursing is a horrible job. I think anyone who decides to remain a practicing nurse has made the wiser decision.
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    Management is a horrible job.

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    One study I found fascinating and counter intuitive was that researchers found that the more "gender equal" a country is the fewer women in STEM. Basically they found that in less gender equal countries such as UAE and Tunisia there's a far higher percentage (40%) of women in STEM than in countries where women have more equal rights such as Finland and Norway (20%).

    Source www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/553592/ see the plot where they see a strong correlation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    One study I found fascinating and counter intuitive was that researchers found that the more "gender equal" a country is the fewer women in STEM. Basically they found that in less gender equal countries such as UAE and Tunisia there's a far higher percentage (40%) of women in STEM than in countries where women have more equal rights such as Finland and Norway (20%).

    Source www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/553592/ see the plot where they see a strong correlation.
    This is what I'm talking about Willis!
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