There’s no argument that, until recently, universities deserved their reputations as bastions of male privilege and outright sexism. But times have changed. Many of the common, negative depictions of the plight of academic women are based on experiences of older women and data from before the 2000s, and often before the 1990s. That’s not to say that mistreatment doesn’t still occur — but when it does, it is largely anecdotal, or else overgeneralized from small studies. As we found, when the evidence of mistreatment goes beyond the anecdotal, it is limited to a small number of comparisons of men and women involving a single academic rank in a given field on a specific outcome.
In contrast, our work, which is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest and was written with the economists Donna K. Ginther, of the University of Kansas, and Shulamit Kahn, of Boston University, reports the results of several hundred analyses of data on hiring, salary, promotion, productivity and job satisfaction for eight broad fields of science at American universities and colleges.
Our analysis reveals that the experiences of young and midcareer women in math-intensive fields are, for the most part, similar to those of their male counterparts: …
The general finding was that women often simply prefer to do different things from men:
In contrast to math-based fields, women prefer veterinary medicine, where they now constitute 80 percent of graduates, and life sciences, in which they earn over half of all doctoral degrees; women are also half of all newly minted M.D.s and 70 percent of psychology Ph.D.s. However, those college women who do choose math-intensive majors like engineering persist in them through graduate school and into the academy at the same rate as their male counterparts — again showing that women can and do succeed in math-based fields if they develop interest in them and commit to them.
Women are, for example, less likely than men to stay awake for two days playing competition chess, bridge, or poker. But they might stay awake that long to keep someone alive. Only a few people cannot afford to know obvious life-experience stuff like that. So, of course …
Interesting that these sorts of people (we’ll let you read Red Ink for yourself to get the sense of it) are falling out with the New York Times. Wonder if that portends anything …
See also: Peer review: New Yorker asks, Is the field of psychology biased against conservatives?
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