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Sat Jan 24, 2015, 05:38 PM


New study finds that "genius" fields of work are male-dominated

Surprise, surprise: There's a gender gap in most academic fields, with men taking more advanced degrees in subjects like computer science and physics. A study published Thursday in Science suggests that the fields that favor men -- in both the sciences and the humanities -- have one cultural bias in common. They value perceived innate brilliance over hard work and dedication. Unfortunately, that spark of brilliance is a trait that's stereotypically assigned to white men above all others.

Researchers surveyed over 1,800 academics from 30 different disciplines and found that the value of presumed brilliance (a spark of genius in the field, if you will) was a better predictor for under-representation of women in that field than any other hypothesis tested.

In addition to giving weight to their own hypothesis, the researchers were able to knock out some popular explanations for gender gaps by comparison: That women shy away from fields that require more hours of work, that women don't make the cut in fields where only the top percentile of students are successful, and that women are less likely to choose fields that require analytical thinking than men are.

And the same held true when researchers applied the test to African-American representation, indicating that this bias for "brilliance" may keep those individuals out of such fields as well.


Please read the full article, if you have a chance.

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Reply New study finds that "genius" fields of work are male-dominated (Original post)
YoungDemCA Jan 2015 OP
ismnotwasm Jan 2015 #1
KT2000 Jan 2015 #2

Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 05:51 PM

1. I had read a different article about this

Fascinating find.

The first part of this comment irritated me:

"The hypothesis the authors advance might well be true, but it is observationally equivalent to the alternative that these fields are more competitive and that women shy away from competition," Zingales said. Further study could show this more definitively. But either way, he said, the results showed "a desperate need for education on the issue [of gender bias] at all levels."

Guy made up a wordy quote to stand against a study-- I don't think women "shy away" from competition, I think they know when the game is rigged.

The word 'genius' shouldn't automatically bring up a gender or racial bias, but it does--women and African Americans throughout history have not been given credit where due, quite the oppisite.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 07:05 PM

2. high school and college

for my niece meant putting up with teachers who told her she would not make it in her chosen field. She graduated with a BS in physics, magna cum laude.
She is currently working in IT and until a guy works with her he assumes she doesn't know what she is doing - then they back-off with the condescending attitude.
It is on-going for her.

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