July 24, 2008

JOHN TIERNEY ON DUBIOUS CLAIMS OF SEX BIAS IN SCIENCE:

You’ll find sweeping assertions of discrimination in academia against female scientists if you read the executive summary of the National Academy of Sciences’ 2006 report, which was issued by a committee led by Donna Shalala. But if you look in the report for evidence of bias, you find studies showing that female graduate students in general (and those without children in particular) are as likely as men to finish their studies, and that they’re as likely to have mentors and assistantship support. According to the report, there were some differences in productivity — male graduate students published more than female students, and tenured male professors published about 8 percent more than female tenured professors — but when men and women were up for tenure, they received it at similar rates. . . .

I was also interested to see Dr. Nelson’s comparable figures for white males, because it certainly looks as if their “millennium of affirmative action” has ended. Dr. Nelson found that white male Ph.D.’s are overrepresented among assistant professors in just three disciplines: chemistry, biological sciences and psychology. They roughly break even in two other fields, political science and sociology. And they’re underrepresented in everything else — 10 of the 15 disciplines surveyed by Dr. Nelson.

Read the whole thing. Meanwhile, I’d like Congressional hearings into the enormous shortage of male teachers at the K-12 level. Not only is the disparity in numbers huge, but there is strong evidence of pervasive bias against male entry into this field, and strong evidence that students — both male and female — suffer from the shortage of men in education at these levels.

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