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January 19, 2005

Men, women and math...more, and more....

E-mail exchange with Steven Pinker in The Harvard Crimson (via Steve:


Look, the truth cannot be offensive. Perhaps the hypothesis is wrong, but how would we ever find out whether it is wrong if it is “offensive” even to consider it?

This map of tenured female mathematicians by country is interesting. Two things of note:
1) A vey low frequency of women as mathematicians seems to characterize Protestant Northern Europe!
2) Turkey has a greater proportion of female mathematicians than most of Europe!

A graph which shows the frequency of females in various scientific fields in the UK shows the same rank order of discipline as the US. This is important, I think the frequency might differ from country to country, but what would be very curious is if the rank order of disciplines differed (that is, a far higher frequency of females in engineering than biology). The proportion of females within a given field might be elastic given certain variables shifting, but, if there is an innate aptitude/preference difference, the underlaying bias toward or away from certain fields will remain.

Finally, this large PDF is chock full of statistics broken down by European country. Haven't examined it in detail, though many of the tables do show the same rank order, though there is a wide variation between countries.

TangoMan adds: Look to Jane Galt for about the most rational post I've found on this issue, other than our own of course. From what I've seen of the Left's discourse on this issue, I'm of the same mind as Steve Sailer. I thought the issue of gender differences was more understood and accepted than this whole imbroglio has revealed and man, (oops, I must be a sexist, hang on - yeah, strike that last utterance of man) person, we've got our work cut out for us.

Lastly, let's all give a salute to the woman who has made a caricature of herself as a scientist who either blacks out or throws up when presented with a hypothesis that she finds distasteful.

Here's to you Dr. Nancy Hopkins - the laughing stock of academia.

Posted by razib at 01:50 PM