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Old 12-05-2014, 05:44 AM
 
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IMHO, the reason why women are not in the sciences more are because the are not interested in technology as much.

I sell a technical product. Out of several thousand sales, a total of 4 women have bought from me. If it matters, two of them were gay and more masculine. I suspect I've talked with 30,000 interested male customers and no more than 10 women. 70-80% of my customers are engineers. So even engineer females just are not as interested.

I've wondered whether or not the male technical brain is more or less like a serial port while the multi-tasking female brain is more like a parallel port. The whole "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" is related to the technical interest. A lot of words to say I think there is a predetermined element as to why more men go into engineering.
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Old 12-05-2014, 06:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Of course every career, academic or not, is helped by having a partner at home who is willing to take on the lion's share of domestic and child rearing duties.

This is an interesting article which sheds a light on academia as well as gender challenges. The jerk who says "That is what you have a wife for" really ticks me off but many men still feel this way.
Can you imagine a grown educated man being proud he has never washed a sock?

Study: Male scientists want to be involved dads, but few are - The Washington Post
Let's stick to the OP ^^, and try to avoid the stereotypical arguments about who works harder SAH parents or working outside the home parents. If someone posts off topic, please report it instead of responding or reporting AND responding. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping this forum one with mutual respect to all posters.
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Old 12-05-2014, 07:14 AM
 
4,040 posts, read 7,437,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Ag 93 View Post
Although I don't agree with all of the statements syracusa has made, I think he/she has made some excellent points on this thread and pointed out things, that while not popular, are, in fact, reality.

I absolutely agree that having a single breadwinner family with a SAH parent (which is overwhelmingly still likely to be the woman) is mutually beneficial to the entire family- as long as both partners are supportive of this arrangement. I know for a fact that since I run the entire household and handle all issues, my husband can focus 100% of his time on his job, which is one that is very mentally, emotionally, and (occasionally) physically challenging. The risk comes in as syracusa points out: that the breadwinner decides to leave the SAH parent, who now has a very difficult time transitioning back into the workforce. 50% of marriages end in divorce, but 50% do not. Moreover, the divorce rate is correlated to certain things (lower income level, education etc) that are not as likely to be the case in higher socio-ecomonic households (which is not to say it never happens, of course). Needless to say, for many of us, it is a risk we have decided to take.

I am a SAH Mom to two young girls. I have a Master's degree and put my husband through Med school and earned double what he did in residency. I gave us a damn good lifestyle, and now, I don't have to work. We didn't arrive at this point through luck or happenstance. We worked together to make it happen and we've earned it. I could work outside the home if I wanted to and my husband would totally be supportive of this. I just don't want to, because as has already been pointed out, working kind of sucks. I don't need it to validate myself as an intelligent, accomplished individual. Believe me, I do work as a SAHM, but nowhere near as hard (or to as questionable an end) as I did when I was working outside the home. I think a lot of SAH parents feel the need to validate themselves by describing what they do at home with a certain amount of hyperbole. I have just never felt the need to do that.

The only time it bothers me to be "only" a SAH parent is the feedback I get from my kids. They have never known me to work, and certainly don't appreciate what I do for them now. Why? Because they are 7 and 4. Interestingly, I have been looking around a bit to get back into the workforce, but only on a limited PT basis. I am only doing it because I do think I need to protect myself to a degree in the event something were to happen to my husband or relationship.
100% agree with the above with caveat that using as an example a sole-breadwinner family where the breadwinner is an MD is hardly relevant.
MD-s make A LOT of money compared to the rest of the working population, so obviously, only one income is needed in such families.

Having an MD in the family is, in and of itself, a luxury. Not everyone goes to Medical School and THIS should not be regarded as a "poor choice" crime.
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Old 12-05-2014, 07:30 AM
 
4,040 posts, read 7,437,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN-Born-n-Raised View Post
IMHO, the reason why women are not in the sciences more are because the are not interested in technology as much.

I sell a technical product. Out of several thousand sales, a total of 4 women have bought from me. If it matters, two of them were gay and more masculine. I suspect I've talked with 30,000 interested male customers and no more than 10 women. 70-80% of my customers are engineers. So even engineer females just are not as interested.

I've wondered whether or not the male technical brain is more or less like a serial port while the multi-tasking female brain is more like a parallel port. The whole "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" is related to the technical interest. A lot of words to say I think there is a predetermined element as to why more men go into engineering.
What I don't understand is why it is SO important for women to go into engineering?
Isn't it more important to ensure there are as many good engineers as society needs, regardless of gender?
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:28 AM
 
28,432 posts, read 11,565,709 times
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social setting ... peroid.

over all women = men mentally. That does not mean they aint crazy!!!!!
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:52 AM
 
1,774 posts, read 2,308,989 times
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The article rings true. The demands of a career in science are incompatible with family life, as are most jobs where you are expected to work 80 hours a week. Back in the day it was more accepted for dads to basically ignore their family so long as they were paying the bills. Academic science careers don't really even pay the bills these days, so you really have to be kind of a monk to be successful.
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:24 PM
 
Location: moved
13,641 posts, read 9,696,571 times
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From my vantage point, there's not so much a dearth of women in STEM overall, as specifically in mechanical/electrical/civil/aerospace engineering, and in physics. The mechanical-physical part of STEM, as opposed to life-sciences, chemistry or even pure math, remains obdurately male-dominated. Looking at annual inductions into the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi, one finds a healthy crop of female inductees in fields like chemical engineering, biomedical and industrial. But the fields having to do with mechanics remain overwhelmingly male.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldhag1 View Post
Most of the men I took classes with in graduate level hard science classes, who planned on making a career of it, were not exactly the warm fuzzy type by nature.
Scientists/engineers tend to be the NT-type, rather than the SF-type, on the Myers-Briggs scale. This doesn't imply that they're troglodyte misogynists or socially inept losers. It just means that their personalities are different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
One reason more women don't go into engineering is that engineering seems to be a low-prestige job in the US.
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Engineering may be lower prestige than MD and maybe law, but it's still higher prestige than teaching, nursing, etc;
Engineering is acknowledged as a "profession", whereas nursing and teaching are widely viewed in America as trades. So on that gradation, engineering enjoys greater prestige. But amongst the professions, engineering is typically the most junior.

A proper apples-to-apples comparison is the engineering PhD vs. the JD and MD, and to some extent vs. the science/math PhD. Typically the engineering PhD struggles with lower prestige. The reasoning, I think, is that engineers tend to be corporate employees, answering to MBAs and lawyers. They might be highly skilled independent thinkers, but they're under the umbrella of social degradation suffered by all cog-in-the-machine employees. Lawyers and doctors, meanwhile, are often owners of sole proprietorships.

To Ruth's point, if American parents have a daughter who excels in quantitative reasoning, they're likely to steer her away from engineering and more towards say actuarial science, accounting or law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinawina View Post
It said the life of an academic in the sciences is extremely demanding and not conclusive in any way to family life. So women AND men who want to be involved with their families either shy away from that path all together or make sacrifices in expense of their careers (as in, they don't get as far as those who prioritize work first).
Indeed.

Fresh PhDs are typically around 27-30 years old, which is precisely the time when modern American professionals start to seriously think about marriage and children. The academic track is brutal... post-doc and tenure-track. Many women succeed as PhD candidates, setting aside family-formation while they pursue their research. But as the years grind on, making such a trade becomes increasingly less rewarding. Going from initial hiring as an assistant-professor in engineering until receiving tenture typically takes around 6 years. So, one graduates with a PhD in engineering at 28, spends 3 years as a post-doc and 6 more years fighting for tenure. Congratulations, freshly-minted Associate Professor - you're now 37! Now life becomes considerably more relaxing... but you're already 37... which may interfere with plans for women who wish to have children.
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:37 PM
 
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The field has a lot to do with it. "Real" experimental lab sciences like physics, chemistry, bio are very difficult, competitive, time consuming and requires being in a lab. However, other fields lumped into STEM have a better quality of life. Math, statistics, economics, even CS and EE are competitive but not as much of a grinder. I went to grad school for applied math and there were a lot of women in my program.

My sister got on tenure track at age 28 in Econ. She had to put in her time at some lame colleges though.
If you make it, it's actually pretty good for having kids as the schedules are far more flexible than regular jobs and there are a lot of perks being associated with a university.

Last edited by rzzzz; 12-05-2014 at 04:04 PM..
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Old 12-05-2014, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,297 posts, read 120,694,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rzzzz View Post
The field has a lot to do with it. "Real" experimental lab science like physics, chemistry, bio is very difficult, competitive, time consuming and requires being in a lab. However some other fields have it more figured out. Math, statistics, economics, etc are competitive but not as much of a grinder. I went to grad school for applied math and there were a lot of women in my program.

My sister got on tenure track at age 28 in Econ. She had to put in her time at some lame colleges though.
If you make it, it's actually pretty good for having kids as the schedules are far more flexible than regular jobs and there are a lot of perks being associated with a university.
^^This! Not only did my spouse work in academia for a time, I/we have lived in Boulder County, CO for the last 30+ years, and I have known a lot of professors at least by acquaintance. I have not known any who seemed to have a particularly hard time having time for their families. I just now asked DH about this, and he said it was in his experience "not any harder than for anyone else". And that says a lot.

I read the WaPo article. It doesn't exactly say some of the things some posters here say it says. And there's no comparison group! There have been times when DH has been directed to put in an extra 10 hours a week, for months on end at the high tech firm where he works. Then they're supposed to get comp time at 80%, but that doesn't always happen. And I still think the comment about thinking about work outside of work is hilarious, and evidence that the researchers themselves don't know what's going on in the parallel universe out there of business/industry. Do these people think that other professionals don't think about work outside of work? Don't read professional journals on their own time, go to professional organization meetings on their own time, etc? There's a huge difference between a two hour lunch at a campus restaurant where work might be one of many topics of conversation, and grabbing something to eat in 15 minutes that happens in some other jobs. Now I'm not talking about working lunches, but those usually have food brought in, or you go to a private room at a restaurant and actually work. That this study was done by academics on academics is a bit incestuous, if you ask me.

As far as family goes, one of the perks of working in academia is generally free tuition at the institution at which one works.

Now I realize the ultimate put-down to one's argument is "that's anecdotal". But it is anecdotes from two well-respected science schools.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,479 posts, read 59,752,379 times
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I knew there was a reason I did not attempt an academic career some 45 years ago. Even then I saw the incredible amount of time it would take and BS I would have to tolerate for effectively very little pay. Instead I worked for and received a Bachelor's degree in a combined civil engineering and environmental science degree that led to a mostly regulatory career at the state level. I would have done better with a Federal job but my timing was off. The pay was not great but I was never called to put in overtime and four weeks vacation a year was greatly appreciated.

I never could afford new cars but the pay was enough to own a small home free and clear. I am now retired with decent pension and great health insurance. We, my wife of 45 years, now have the time to ride our motorcycle and otherwise make up for all the play we missed.

IMHO a woman could do worse then studying for a STEM degree and adding a Masters in Public Administration to use to get a Federal Science/Engineering Position and spend the next 40 years in a cubicle based sensory depravation in order to receive one of the best combinations of pension and health care possible.

If she decides to get married they can let the hubby take the higher risks, and even more BS, to go for the bigger bucks. It is working for my relatives.
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