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HA HA HA!! I love Teen Girl Squad. Homestar Runner - brings families together through mockery. BUT. It perfectly suits my mood today. Anyone follow the world of science? Only me? Harvard is hosting a discussion panel on women and minorities in science and the President (Lawrence Summers, no relation to Buffy - duh) said there are innate gender differences which explain why fewer women succeed in science and math. There were walkouts during his lecture.

Quote: Nancy Hopkins (professor of Bio at MIT - what a dummy! /sarcasm) "I just couldn't breath because this kind of bias makes me physically ill." Same here.

I recall being the only female in a Calculus class of 150 students in college. NOT ONCE would the teacher call on me, and many times I was the only one with my hands raised. I walked out on the final (in protest) and STILL managed to get an 83 overall. The final exam was 25% of my total grade, and it was marked 0. (I rocked the extra credit, too) Many of the gender-superior men failed the course.

My genetics professor was one of the most highly educated scientists in the US at the time. SHE was the best teacher I ever had. I hate this "women can't do math" crap. Sure, some can't. Some men can't. Some men can't figure out the standard normal probability density function.

Did you know that most questions in math and science (for young children) have men as the protagonist? That Barbie once had a talking doll that said "Math is hard?" IT IS NOT HARD WIRED. It is a conditioned response to the world around us.

Any thoughts? Gripes? Discrimination you felt? Am I the only science/math nerd out there? (See? There's more to me than the hills alive with the sound of sucking...)

Comments

( 63 comments — Leave a comment )
tx_cronopio
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:15 am (UTC)
ITA --- did you see the follow-up article in today's NYT? Summers still refuses to admit he said anything wrong, is insisting that it's a scientist's job to be provoking.

Hey, the man was just doin' his job.

Asshole.

I also made an A in calculus. :)
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:21 am (UTC)
Here's the best part. Dr. Summers is an ECONOMIST. I like how is is speaking to Chemists and Biologists and Geneticists about his one time experiment is giving his daughter (probably conditioned with pink clothes and "babies") a couple of trucks and since she called them "daddy and baby" trucks, his theory is justified. Asshole, indeed.

Signed, Stoney who rocked straight A's in a competitive science world and has the ribbons and grants to prove it.

Go Texas girls!! (We're Fred!!!)
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:23 am (UTC)
If A over O = Dr. Summers, the justification of Asshole is represented thus: nIn
No joke. Best thing? I totally schooled dad in math and science.

No, I can't play the guitar or piano well, but I got the state to build me a lab, didnt I? And good for you. Same thing happened to Chrissy. Bastard teachers.
inlovewithnight
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:20 am (UTC)
Dude, in high school I was one of maybe six or seven people in my calc class who would've passed without the curve. At least four of the others? Also girls. I took Chem II, voluntarily. Here's the thing: I don't LIKE math, and I don't particularly like science. But I can, in fact, do them. If there was an innate inability that I had to overcome, than my lack of interest in the subjects should've made me LESS able to overcome it, right? Conclusion: Summers must die.
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:26 am (UTC)
Seriously. ANd he is the onle that has hired less females at Harvard. Not because they aren't applying. He just doesn't give them tenure, and his reasoning is that women can't do it because they are too busy raising children.

This is as stupid as Newt Gingrich's "women bleed so they can't do combat, but they can have the desk jobs" argument. BAHHH!!!

(And go you!!)
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solipsiae
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:33 am (UTC)
Two of my best girlfriends in college were physics majors and had to endure all KINDS of sexist shit. One was a genderfuck queer, so she had no problem dodging things, but it was harder for another.

I pursued philosophy instead of hard maths/science, but I loved calculus and physics in high school. The teacher (she) would assign me the role of administering labs for students who'd missed it the first time around, which I thought was a real honor.
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:36 am (UTC)
I owe my academic love to my female science teachers. I think it's becoming easier for women to love the "nerd" stuff, but it shames me that our local paper dropped the "Science Section" in favor of more Fashion reporting.

Thus we have more dumb bottle-blondes who think the talking Barbie doll is "cute." I.E.: Paris Hilton. Blech.
_jealousy_
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:36 am (UTC)
The head of the Biology department at my school is a woman. Roughly 85% of the science majors at my school are also women, myself included.
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:37 am (UTC)
HOORAY!!! I was so glad so many important women in science were represented at this conference and left more determined than ever to ensure equality.

Go, You!! You're Fred!!
smashsc
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:44 am (UTC)
I was tracked down in math & science in middle school because I was sloppy and hated the whole showing your work element of stupid easy math. Like 8 = 7 + x easy. No way I was going to show my work on that stuff. And I got tracked down in science because I really can't memorize stuff well and middle school math was mostly memorization and no science. In middle school/9th grade when I was getting tracked down in math & science I also went to two wonderful all girls science camps (Duke Action & Smith Summer Science). Both programs were absolutely wonderful and I really reccomend them to anyone who is looking for something for their kids. I don't know how much of my getting tracked down (really) had to do with being a girl and how much was my lazy/sloppy nature. But I pulled myself back up and those 2 camps are what gave me the confidence to do so.

In high school I worked my ass off and doubled up in math (Geometry & Algebra II the same year) to get on the AP Calc track and strong armed my way into science classes so that I could take AP Physics in 11th grade. I was good at math and science.

Then, in college I took no math and the 2 easiest science courses at the school because I was too busy with other things. Now, I work in a science department everyday and will eventually be going into a math/fundraising/health field. The stupid middle school teachers who tracked me down can suck it.
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC)
HA HA HA!! If only they made a lesbian slide rule... Huh?

Good for you. Smart chicks are sexy. Memorization has its place in math (tables and theorems) but without an understanding of the machanics of it, they make no sense. Without teachers that can teach the "why" element of math and science, no one gives a shit.

Without the few good teachers who want people to learn (and that desire is not based on gender) we are doomed to fail.

Good for you for being so goddamn smart.
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(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:32 pm (UTC)
*gasps*
You shouldn't have even felt the need to justify being a divorced woman to me, Mari. That makes me sad that you feel the need to. And I understand first hand the need to leave a destructive marriage (and a cheating scum bag, to boot.)

I am proud of you for being smart. I am proud of you for living in a male dominated society (and I understand first hand the male-domination in the Latin world) and having the job you do. You are smart, you are teaching your daughters to be all they can, and it's another reason why I'm proud to have you on my flist.

I love you, you are terrific, and don't forget it.
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marlo
Jan. 18th, 2005 11:21 am (UTC)
I thought the Math Is Hard thing came from the Simpsons. Huh! Yes, any kind of sexism sends the Fists of Rage flying into action. OY GEVALT!!!

On another note, ICON LOVE. I made a "TWELVE-SIDED DIED!!!!" one last night. ;D

stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:33 pm (UTC)
12 sided died made tears come out, I was laughing so hard.

Do you know how lucky you are to be you? ANd to have the friends you do? And Toren? And your mommio? You are smart, cookie, and I'm glad to know you.
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phfeenikz
Jan. 18th, 2005 11:27 am (UTC)
Not to mention he totally ignored this little ditty. I myself would challenge the gender bias considering the fact that I tested at college level reading in 8th grade. As for math? Well let's just say I finally passed Freshman Algebra in my Senior year of high school. This was after being inundated with page-long equations, thetas, sines, cosines and the like, since I chose to take the two year tech school option -- in Electronics! I somehow overlooked the prerequisite "Must have strong math skills".

Signed: The Math Tortoise - Doh! what's cow cue lus?
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:34 pm (UTC)
This is another reason why I am glad you are on my flist. Funny, goofy, and smart. But not as smart as meeeee! (Ha ha ha!)

Plus? In this icon you have a Jeff Goldblum thing going, which is of the good.

It's funny. Everyone in my immediate family is an accomplished artist in some medium. I ended up with the math and science and tutored all of their stoned friends. Huh.
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sangueuk
Jan. 18th, 2005 11:37 am (UTC)
Some men can't figure out the standard normal probability density function. and very few can find the clitoris, even with all the time they spend looking at them in magazines. But we can find them, can't we. We can also find arseholes

:::hands everyone a map::: here -->>Lawrence Summers.
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:35 pm (UTC)
HA HA HA HA HA!!! I have TEARS pouring down my face at that. HA HA!! Ah, my leetle Sanguelina. I feeda you tha best of the cheese -s-cake.

You are priceless.
... - poshcat - Jan. 18th, 2005 12:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
violethamster
Jan. 18th, 2005 11:38 am (UTC)
I was totally brainwashed into thinking I couldn't do math. To the extent that when my junior high algebra teacher asked me why I wasn't signing up for the highest level high school math class the next year, since I was getting an A in his class, I answered that I wasn't good at math.

Then in my senior year of high school, by which time I'd started to suspect that I could actually do math and decided to take the highest level math course, the teacher announced in the first class that he made a point of getting all the girls to drop out of his class. I was easily intimidated and couldn't stand up to being constantly ridiculed by the jerkwad, and eventually dropped out into the lower class. My friend Patty was the only girl who toughed it out and stayed in the class.

I still have a tendency to think of myself as not good at math. But, I've gotten through calculus, discrete math and probability & statistics so far. Hopefully I'll manage to get through linear algebra this semester.


stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:40 pm (UTC)
See??!! You've just proven my theory (um, I have a theory. It could be... Junior high.) that junior high math teachers are the devil. It's the same pattern over and over again.

I love that you are kicking ass and yet you STILL have self-doubt. A crime. My dear, you are smart, you are intelligent, and you are my friend.

You have kicked butt in school (while working and living life on your own) and if you can do that? You can do the next step.

Did I mention that I wanted to be a cheerleader? Making up for lost time...
thebratqueen
Jan. 18th, 2005 11:43 am (UTC)
This is part of why I'm so happy I went to an all girls' college. I didn't have to deal with this gender bias BS and could just be a student.

Never got the whole girls = math is hard thing, though I did have classmates who made me wince on behalf of my gender. OTOH, who's to say they weren't just as dumb in other subjects?
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC)
Absolutely. If they could make you wince in Probability, they were doing the same thing (most likely) in Advanced Women's Literature or somesuch.

I was fortunate to go to schools that fostered intelligence, regardless of gender. They were pretty progressive for the suburbs of Dallas. I didn't experience the gender BS until I was in one of the best science schools in the country, although it was located in Utah. (U of U) Which explains the gender bias....

No math brain = math is hard
bad math teacher = math is hard
desoto_hia873
Jan. 18th, 2005 11:48 am (UTC)
Am I the only science/math nerd out there?

Nope. ::waves::

Undergrad in physics. PhD in atmospheric science. I think I was fairly lucky in terms of discrimination, though. I was the only female in many of my classes and there were no women faculty members in my undergrad physics department at the time (I think there are now), but I never felt like I was treated any differently from anyone else. A few of my professors seemed a bit nervous around me, but I attributed that mostly to lack of social skills in general. :-)

I think the relative fewer number of women in science and math is largely due to cultural conditioning and the fact that so many high school science courses are profoundly boring. I wasn't interested in science until I took an astronomy course at university - I read half the text book in one sitting when studying for the first midterm. Then I changed majors from business administration (talk about boring) to physics.

It's cool that you've gotten so many comments on this post from other 'Freds'.
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:49 pm (UTC)
Hooray!! Another Fred!!

I concur completely on the cultural conditioning. Word problems alone (in elementary schools, especially) show a bias: 3/4 of the subjects are males. Jim has three apples... Bob is on a train going... Tom wants to build a... Mary bought a pair of shoes... Bah.

I have taught my daughter to dig and vermiculture as much as I've taught my son about yeast dough. A lot of the problems with gender bias can be solved at home, but most mothers have been conditioned to let their husbands handle the checkbook and the like.

I mentioned in a comment above that I got my degree at U of Utah, a more mysoginistic state is unknown. Women have the babies, men do the thinking. There are those that don't share that theory, but the folks who do believe it have no problem telling you that you are in the wrong place. I just laughed and taunted them with my Texan breasts. Brains and boobs! A dangerous combo... I feel a death match coming on!

(Atmospheric science??!! There's a lot going on in your field of study right now. How exciting! You're Fred!)
... - desoto_hia873 - Jan. 19th, 2005 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
poshcat
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC)
Here's a comment from the math-challenged part of the room. ::waves::

I was always awful in math, and without extra guidance I quickly fell behind and couldn't catch up. To this day, I have trouble doing the easiest calculations. But not because I'm a girl!!!! God damn. I'm good at writing, always have been. It comes naturally to me. It's a talent I have, and a skill I've honed. But not because I'm a girl!!!!

Some people are driven to make jerks of themselves. How does this yahoo explain the people (both men and women) who don't conform to his theory? Are they all freaks of nature? Yeesh.

PS Your math skills SO intimidate me. ::bends over::
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC)
You rule. And you own your own business now!!
*spanks you to the Nth degree*

See? You get it. Because you are not math-inclined has no bearing on your vagina. Unless you were having too much sex when you should have been studying for math class.

I bet if you had better teachers, you wouldn't be so intimidated by basic calculations. It may not make you a math wiz, but you wouldn't be scared of it. The intimidation that a lot of my female friends have about math puzzles me. I can't play the piano well, but I'm not INTIMIDATED by it.

But somewhere along the line, educators and society have made math become this THING with a line in the sand. Dumbasses over there, boys over here. If you look above, one of my male flisters said he can't do math for shit. See!! My dad can't do difficult math, but he can balance his checkbook. My husband is a financial analyst, so he rocks the math, but his science isn't as strong as mine, and he's a SLOW READER, OMFG.

*spanks you again until you diagram a dodecahedron, where s = 8*
kita0610
Jan. 18th, 2005 01:12 pm (UTC)
I had a female professor for calculus. God I fucking hated that bitch. *G*

There are studies which suggest that male and female brains operate differently- a big duh, since our chemistry is so radically different, but there is no way anyone can translate these studies into "women are bad at math because they have breeding hips".

What do you expect from Harvard?
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 01:18 pm (UTC)
I mean, we write slash and we don't have dicks, right?
BWAH HA HA! I bet she was a dyke. *BG*

I can accept that our body chemisty makes our brains different. Absolutely. But because of having double X, I am unable to learn/comprehend as much as a man in Y subject? I may understand it differently, or may approach a problem in a unique manner, but the idea that women inherently can't succeed in math and science? Bool sheeit.

"What did you expect from Harvard?" Exactly. And the guy is an economist: the lowest rung on the "Science/Math" ladder. The equivalent of the SoCal "Communications Major."
julia_here
Jan. 18th, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC)
Any thoughts? Gripes? Discrimination you felt? Am I the only science/math nerd out there? (See? There's more to me than the hills alive with the sound of sucking...)


Not the math part- I've got this brain wiring problem called "global reversals" which makes me get tied in tiny little hard knots about the level of the quadratic equation, but: daughter dearest got 720 on the math part of her SAT and is taking AP physics right now.

Julia, hatifying the president of Harvard and glad that no matter how many letters of interest Miss Perfect gets she wants to go to the University of Montana.
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)
And your proud and stiff Grandma in the pic makes me proud.
Ahhh... There you are. I KNEW you would have something to say.

And it's not just math this guy is bullshitting about. Science, too.

Very happy to hear about mini Julia_here. Physics is DEFINITELY where there is a lack of double X's. I didn't feel so out of place in my bio and micro-bio classes...

The pres. is taking his lumps from celebrated women all over the US, so nuts to you, bub! ("bub" being the pres. of course.)
ex_dovil323
Jan. 18th, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
1 + 1 is 2, 2 + 2 is 4, 4 + 4 is wheee a kitten and now I must give birth this very instant.

OMG they were right!

Funnily enough I sucked at maths but managed to do first year economics at uni. Which goes to show that it depends on the way that the subject is taught and that this is because people learn differently rather than girls like pretty ribbons and boys like trucks. Because gender is easy to make black and white but in the real world it can be a big moosh of grey. Next minute they'll be saying that boys can cook! Crazy!

Plus I learnt that economics was crap. No really, it is. :)
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)
Did you have pretty babies that look like a hybrid of David's forhead and James' cheekbones? THat would be freckin' MURDER to deliver. Just saying.

Economics IS crap. It's like they are trying to say women can't write slash, or something. KERFUFFLE!!! Ha ha.

Just a stupid man in a boy's club with a stupid opinion. And that sentence makes me sound smart.

GO have that mutant baby!! That's an order.
viciouswishes
Jan. 18th, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)
Not a math/science nerd academically, but I do love computers and have had to convince many techies that yes, I do sometimes know how to fix my own computer and also know how to ask for help when I need it.

And as a non-math person, it's not what's between my legs that counts of my disinterest.
stoney321
Jan. 18th, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
I know, right? I was an IT tech and ran up against that on occassion. Half-way through my job an influx of women came in and it was GREAT. We all sat around and braided each others air and let the boys do the icky work. Wait. No, we didn't...

Your last line is the whole fucking point. Hear, hear!
mirasol
Jan. 18th, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC)
In my classes at school (top set all the way, thank you very much) there was a definite gender imbalance. Two-thirds girls, one-third boys. I aced my maths and science exams, but was convinced by everyone around me that I had a natural aptitude for languages and that I should concentrate on those.

I reckon it was payback for the time they got the educational psychologist in to see me when I was 6. I wouldn't talk to anyone in school and they were worried. My reason? I was bored and couldn't see the point of play-doh and the sand pit.

Of course, I can now.

So what kind of job do I do now? Something nice and girly and non-math/sciency. I produce stats, day in, day out.

The part-time office junior also goes to college and tried to show off the other day. Asked if we knew what the square root of -1 was.

Guess who was the only one that knew? Yes, boobies win again!
stoney321
Jan. 19th, 2005 05:49 am (UTC)
Boobies always win the house. At least in this house.

I am so proud of my smart flist.
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Jan. 19th, 2005 05:50 am (UTC)
Absolutely. This guy came on board three years ago and there has been a steady decline in not only tenured women, but other minorities as well. That's what you get for not having this at Stanford.
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Jan. 19th, 2005 05:53 am (UTC)
You, my LJBFF and my RLBFF are two incredibly smart people. And both have math issues. But the reason you have math issues is not because of your Doppel X Chromosome, ya? It's because of something in YOU. Now, Caza told me he can't understand some of the higher science bits. It isn't because of his Y. That's the bitch with this guy.

Now that we have the Genome Project wrapping up quickly, every one wants to put failure on genes. Blacks are in the ghetto because, Latinos drop out of school because... And that is horse shit.

Those two groups are failiing for a multiplicity of reasons, same as why there aren't a lot of women in higher math/science positions at universities around the world. Bleh. This guy's a tool.
lynnenne
Jan. 18th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC)
I love math and science. In fact, I'm hoping to go back to school next year to study astronomy. Guess I'll take Harvard off my list of potential universities. *g*
stoney321
Jan. 19th, 2005 05:54 am (UTC)
Damn straight. Stanford. USC. UT. UT!!!!

Astronomy would be so fun.... You're Fred!
mskakaako
Jan. 18th, 2005 09:33 pm (UTC)
Wrong, said Fred...
I hated math as a kid. Did poorly all the way through highschool...just scraping by. It *must* be because I'm just a girl. But, I'm ASIAN...what the frig is up with that?!

Does not equate, does not equate.
stoney321
Jan. 19th, 2005 05:55 am (UTC)
You must be only PART Asian. THe other part is the dumb part.

Wait... You are a FEMALE Asian. Obviously there is the reason...

Way to shine the light on another problem, thus highlighting his "inherent" stupidity.

See? This is where the love comes from.
paynbow
Jan. 18th, 2005 10:57 pm (UTC)
That is fucking annoying! Talk about a return to the Victorian era! Innate gender differences my ass! Both my sisters entered the sciences. My aunt is a doctor and finished top in the province in her class. It's hard for women in sciences because the MALE profs assume that women can't do math! Grrrrrrrrrr......
stoney321
Jan. 19th, 2005 05:57 am (UTC)
Absolutely. The general response from the women at the conference (after seething with anger) was, "Let's go back to work, put our heads down, blow them away, and prove them wrong."

Yep.
( 63 comments — Leave a comment )

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