Women Choose

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal called Why Aren’t There More Women in Science and Technology? by developmental psychologist and social science writer, Susan Pinker.  It cites the results of a study published last month in the journal Psychological Science which analyzes data from the world’s largest educational survey.

The article immediately calls out the key tenet of modern feminism- that women will have achieved equity only when they fill at least 50% of positions once filled by men.  It then discusses how women from nations with the greatest gender equality showed more preference toward careers outside of STEM jobs while the inverse being true of women from nations with weak legal protections and low gender equality.   Pinker says,

So the nations with the least gender equality, as determined by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, had the highest representation of women in STEM.

Conversely, nations with the strongest protections for women and the most dependable social safety nets—such as Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Finland—had the fewest female STEM graduates, about 20% overall. The study puts the American STEM graduation rate at 24%.

Then Pinker adds,

I asked Wendy Williams, founder and director of the Cornell Institute for Women in Science, what she makes of these findings. She wrote that if girls expect they can “live a good life” while working in the arts, health or sciences, then girls choose to pursue what they are best at—which could be STEM, or it could be law or psychology. She added, “However, if the environment offers limited options, and the best ones are in STEM, girls focus there…Stoet’s and Geary’s findings deservedly complicate the simplistic narrative that sex differences in STEM careers are the result of societal gender biases.”

She then concludes with,

That conclusion should prompt a rethink. If women are most likely to choose STEM careers in societies that offer less equality and fewer personal freedoms, then that’s a steep price to pay just to say we’re 50/50.

This conclusion is at odds with what we are expected to think about the plight of women in western countries. From #metoo and #timesup to the pay gap, the narrative I hear most often is that women are oppressed. To be clear, women have been oppressed and they have been victims of horrible treatment. However, it is healthy to get some perspective on a global scale of how far we have come and where we are in the modern world.

This article connects nicely to this Jordan Peterson interview below. You can see the incredulity of the interviewer toward Dr. Peterson when he states facts to her that contradict her closely held bias.  See video here:


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