February 10th, 2011

Debunking Discrimination

A blunt article in PNAS by Ceci and Williams provides considerable evidence that the underrepresentation of women in mathematically intensive fields is not due to systematic discrimination: Women’s current underrepresentation in math-intensive ?elds is not caused by discrimination in these domains, but rather to sex differences in resources, abilities, and choices (whether free or constrained). … read more


December 2nd, 2010

Gender differences in science: a cure?

Science has a fascinating study at the University of Colorado at Boulder: a simple, 30 minute intervention erased the gender gap in physics grades in a randomized, double-blind study. (Here are two summaries for those without a subscription.) The gist: in weeks 1 and 4 of the 15 week course, students spent 15 minutes writing … read more


October 20th, 2010

Group Think

One of the big differences between working in industry and academia is that in industry you rarely work alone. Most problems companies have to tackle are too big and complex to involve just one person. There is extensive literature on problem solving ability in individuals (IQ and the like), but much less on groups. Some … read more


January 26th, 2010

Math anxiety is contagious

ArsTechnica has a great summary of a study today entitled Female teachers transmit math anxiety to female students. The quick version: The study found that when elementary school teachers, who are primarily female, displayed a high level of anxiety about math, that skittishness was transmitted to their female students. Those students who spent a year … read more


June 5th, 2009

Benefits of Female Faculty

There’s an intriguing piece in Slate on what looks like a very well designed study of the role of faculty gender on female students’ career trajectories. A few highlights: The authors persuasively demonstrate that the overall male-female student read more performance difference is due in large part to the fact that men dominate the Air Force Academy … read more


March 16th, 2009

Larry Summers revisited

From a new meta-analysis out of Cornell that reviewed 400 papers over the past 35 years: “A major reason explaining why women are underrepresented not only in math-intensive fields but also in senior leadership positions in most fields is that many women choose to have children, and the timing of child rearing coincides with the … read more


January 27th, 2009

“A Bad Reputation: Why are more and more graduate students turning away from careers at research universities?”

Mary Ann Mason and Marc Goulden have conducted a recent study of University of California graduate students. Mason’s assessment in The Chronicle: “We may be losing some of the most talented potential academics before they even arrive for a job interview. In the eyes of many doctoral students, the research university has a bad reputation … read more


January 20th, 2009

Executive Orders

A piece in today’s New York Times has an interesting suggestion for an Obama executive order: adding family leave and parental benefits to federal grants. As we’ve seen in lots of research, the big challenge facing women in the sciences appears to be balancing child care responsibilities with work, so anything that improves matters is … read more


July 25th, 2008

Math Scores Show No Gap for Girls

A piece in today’s Times covers a new NSF-funded study that compares standardized math test scores for girls and boys and finds no difference. These studies are important in that there is a fair amount of evidence that the perception that women underachieve in some subjects becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Although boys in high school … read more


June 4th, 2008

Larry Summers Revisited

Another really interesting article on women in science (and still more in the queue!) – this one is more upbeat. A piece in this week’s Economist subtitled, “Girls are becoming as good as boys at mathematics, and are still better at reading” describes research that shows that the gap between boys’ and girls’ math scores … read more