February 18, 2005
Dr. Summers, the president of Harvard, has been getting hammered by the media and other professors for the comments he made about why there aren't as many women in science and engineering. I covered my first take on it here.Under a lot of pressure, he has just released some notes on what he said. These are covered by the NY Times here. My take on it is both positive and negative. My understanding from before was that socialogical and perhaps innate biological traits caused women to be less interested in those topics. However it appears that Dr. Summers clearly said that perhaps it was a lack of aptitude in those areas rather than society or discrimination. While I believe the different genders may excel at different things, I have a pretty hard time agreeing with the statement that females lack the aptitude for these disciplines. In Summers' defense however, he also repeatedly told people to prove him wrong. He made the controversial statements intentionally to provoke and make people think, hoping they could prove him wrong. I don't think he is necessarily some chauvinist guy, but is just offering some possible explanations to a puzzle (albeit explanations that I don't agree with).
Posted by charr at 11:02 PM
i havent heard anyone talking about this actually. i like that someone is.
Biologically, women are less inclined to go for careers in the sciences, as you said. Biological factors, however, also cause women to think differently than men. Men may be IN GENERAL more taylored to the number crunching, etc. but women as well CAN possess this aptitude, and can also bring different, less conventional ways of thinking to the sciences, as well as (what is sometimes considered) a more humanitarian approach to the medical field.
I just thought id add to your comment.
Thanks Amy, I agree with your comments. I think men and women appoach a lot of things in different ways, and I have no problem with that. The crucial factor is that the end result (numerical, whatever) is the same; i.e. that 2*2=4. I know a number of girls that did better than I in my engineering classes, so I know aptitude is there -- there just weren't that many girls that seemed to be interested in EE.