January 3, 2007

Why Aren't More Women in Science?

There's a new book out by the American Psychological Association: Why Aren't More Women in Science? Top Researchers Debate the Evidence, edited by Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams.

Today's IsideHigherEd has an interview with the editors:

Q: We have seen more progress in some fields (medicine, for example) than others (engineering). Does research point to explanations?

A: Amidst the debate over whether women are underrepresented in certain fields of math and science is an inescapable fact: women have made huge advances in virtually every field of science and math during the past three decades. Granted, the progress in some fields (e.g., medicine, veterinary medicine, biological sciences) has been far greater than in others (engineering, chemistry, physics, and computer science). Some believe that the dearth of women in these latter fields is the result of their greater dependence on cognitive skills that are assumed to be more prevalent among males (e.g., spatial abilities), while others have argued that the reason has more to do with sex differences in personal preferences, with men gravitating more toward object-oriented fields and women toward person-oriented ones. Our review of the evidence leads us to conclude that the reason fewer women are in certain fields has to do with many factors, not just one or two.

The table of contents is here. It seems like an interesting and important book for all of our collections.

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