Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, March 01, 2006
# 1:46:00 PM:

Why women ditch science

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Philip Greenspun can be a cranky bastard, but he is often brilliant. In response to the question of why there aren't more women in science, he writes this stinger:

Having been both a student and teacher at MIT, my personal explanation for men going into science is the following:

  • young men strive to achieve high status among their peer group
  • men tend to lack perspective and are unable to step back and ask the question "is this peer group worth impressing?"


Adjusted for IQ and working hours, jobs in science are the lowest paid in the United States [so there is one more] possible explanation for the dearth of women in science: They found better jobs.

I have a science degree, in marine biology. I came out of it in 1990 realizing that I was qualified to wash glassware in someone's lab unless I went to grad school, in which case I might be qualified to order the glassware for not much more money. Now I'm a writer, editor, web guy, drummer, and dad. I'm probably happier and better paid than if I had become a scientist. It's sad.


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