Being female in physics is ridiculous.

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  • #26
WannabeNewton
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Let's just ignore problems within the US because there are third world countries that have it worse than us.

Brilliant.

Yes, because only the worst injustices in the world are the only ones worth discussing. You can redirect any argument or discussion this way and its not helpful. I mean, who cares about cancer when starvation and undernutrition leads to 10 times as many deaths each year. Pssh, "cancer", the first-world problem.

Funny.

While this problem is obviously not as serious as even the under representation of women in the field, it is still a problem and worth discussing.

I apologized, what more do you want? Obviously being able to go to a university, getting a $1000 scholarship, and first-name authorship in a publication are at the forefront of women's equality issues. If it sounds like I'm being sarcastic I apologize for that too. In reality I'm just laughing at the trivial nature of the "problem". Well if you'll excuse me I have to get back to my physics class-I'm one of the few non-white people there so I better come up with some "problems" that I can complain about.
 
  • #27
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Affirmative action is discrimination, there will always be over-representation of one sex over another in any given job: healthcare will always have more women and engineering-related courses will have more men. Me being a man, if there was AA where I live, I'd just go to medicine with a much lower entrance grade than the girls, just because there are more women than men in medicine. And yes that would be very unfair, independently of the women:men ratio in medicine.
 
  • #28
jgens
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Affirmative action is discrimination

Unfortunately this often becomes the case, but the principle itself is not misguided in my opinion. In the sciences women face barriers, societal and otherwise, that men usually do not. These societal barriers appear in the form of discouraging young girls from pursuing careers in the sciences and special scholarships for women are a reasonable first step in combating this issue. Aside from the male/female sex imbalance in graduating PhDs, this discrepancy is exacerbated even further in the breakdown of senior faculty (see post #14), which is indicative of discrimination in either the recognition and/or hiring of women. So even without affirmative action policies, discrimination is still rampant, just in the other direction. Which of these is worse depends largely on your perspective I suppose, but the point is that while there are legitimate criticisms of affirmative action, pretending there are no issues to be fixed is ludicrous.

there will always be over-representation of one sex over another in any given job

Why should this be the case?
 
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  • #29
jgens
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Don't tenured professors have to retire to make room? They don't just get laid off or fired, making room for those more qualified.

There is some truth to this. Universities have more opportunities for hiring new faculty, however, than one might think. While retirement rates are fairly low, faculty move between universities with considerably more frequency. By my (rough) estimation, something between 1/2 and 3/4 of the senior faculty at UChicago were hired within the last 10-15 years, and this completely ignores the faculty that came and left during this period.
 
  • #30
StatGuy2000
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There is some truth to this. Universities have more opportunities for hiring new faculty, however, than one might think. While retirement rates are fairly low, faculty move between universities with considerably more frequency. By my (rough) estimation, something between 1/2 and 3/4 of the senior faculty at UChicago were hired within the last 10-15 years, and this completely ignores the faculty that came and left during this period.

I am wondering if the 1/2 to 3/4 of the senior faculty at UChicago who were hired within the last 10-15 years (according to your rough estimation) spread out across all disciplines or concentrated in specific disciplines.

I ask this because it may well be the case that in the STEM fields there may be less hiring of tenure-track faculty overall because of limited openings, and thus there may not be much opportunity to correct the gender disparity that exists within science departments (many of the senior faculty being hired when there were both fewer women pursuing PhDs and which women faced far more barriers to higher education and employment).
 
  • #31
jgens
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I am wondering if the 1/2 to 3/4 of the senior faculty at UChicago who were hired within the last 10-15 years (according to your rough estimation) spread out across all disciplines or concentrated in specific disciplines.

That estimation was for the mathematics department specifically. Sorry if that was unclear.

I ask this because it may well be the case that in the STEM fields there may be less hiring of tenure-track faculty overall because of limited openings, and thus there may not be much opportunity to correct the gender disparity that exists within science departments (many of the senior faculty being hired when there were both fewer women pursuing PhDs and which women faced far more barriers to higher education and employment).

It is possible my estimation is substantially off (although I think this unlikely) and hiring new faculty is a complicated process. Whether there is an overt preference for male candidates or simply a flaw in the process that selects disproportionately for male candidates, however, the result is still de facto discrimination.
 
  • #32
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The system seems incredibly robust because as others have pointed out there are more male faculty than female faculty. Women and URM gets payed less on the dollar for the same job and are less likely to get hired in the first place. Networking is a huge part of getting a job and networking involves getting connected to the current power structure which is predominately white and male.

Psychological research has shown time and time again that we tend to favor and help people that look like us in a conscious and subconscious manner so how do you think this plays out in the real world where many of the positions of power are already held by white males.
 
  • #33
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"Women and URM gets payed less on the dollar for the same job"

Just recently i saw statistics (i could send an image, although the captions are hungarian) that says that this only applies to the most well paid jobs, top managers etc.
(It is another thing, that many underpaid jobs are done mainly by women, but teaching in elementary school isnt the same job as driving trains for example.)
And it can be explained by many other ways, overtime working, etc.
 
  • #34
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"Women and URM gets payed less on the dollar for the same job"

Just recently i saw statistics (i could send an image, although the captions are hungarian) that says that this only applies to the most well paid jobs, top managers etc.
I think everyone knows that minimum wage jobs are egalitarian.

And it can be explained by many other ways, overtime working, etc.

So the implicit assumption is that white male workers work harder or females and URMs are lazy.
 
  • #35
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OP, it sounds like you haven't run into a lot of problems that were common to women breaking into a new fields as 'pioneers', not too long ago. That's great - it shows there has been progress!

The same problems, no. Similar problems, yes. For instance, back then people regarded women as less intelligent/capable. Now, if they see a woman with the same qualifications/awards as a man, they may assume she got those awards because she's a woman. So is it really a different issue?
 
  • #36
Evo
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The same problems, no. Similar problems, yes. For instance, back then people regarded women as less intelligent/capable. Now, if they see a woman with the same qualifications/awards as a man, they may assume she got those awards because she's a woman. So is it really a different issue?
The woman's performance will quickly confirm if it was merit based.
 
  • #37
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The woman's performance will quickly confirm if it was merit based.

Agree. It seems like it is the same problems but with people rationalizing why they arent paying the same wages.

The problem will be gone when people stop trying to rationalize statistically significant disadvantages.
 
  • #38
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I also dont think a first or second year undergrad has the qualifications to decide if a teacher is incompetent in a university setting since universities tend to choose faculty with a large weight towards research performance not teaching(which presumably the OP is using as the metric of competence). I would be hard pressed to find a first or second year undergrad who can judge research quality like a department hiring committee.

Confirmation bias seems like a likely culprit.
 
  • #39
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I also dont think a first or second year undergrad has the qualifications to decide if a teacher is incompetent in a university setting since universities tend to choose faculty with a large weight towards research performance not teaching(which presumably the OP is using as the metric of competence). I would be hard pressed to find a first or second year undergrad who can judge research quality like a department hiring committee.

Confirmation bias seems like a likely culprit.

She is being replaced next year, and I was on the committee (along with professors and other students) who decided this. You're right, I'm not one to judge competence of a professor, however my opinion is also that of every single person on the committee.
 
  • #40
StatGuy2000
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So the implicit assumption is that white male workers work harder or females and URMs are lazy.

I don't think that's what the poster had in mind. What I assume he/she may be referring to are situations where, at least in the case of women, those who choose to take time out of their work to have children and or to raise a family may put in less hours (to accomodate their parental commitments, which still disproportionately fall on women, although that is changing), and thus be penalized in the workplace for it. So female employees who may start out being paid the same wage as their male peers may end up earning less in the future for the same job.

Now I'm not denying that direct discrimination against women or URMs do not occur in the workplace, but there may be other, complex factors that play into this that cannot or should not be ignored.

There is also the situation (as Sheryl Sandberg pointed out in a recent interview on 60 Minutes, commenting about women in the workforce) that many women professionals undervalue their relative worth in terms of salary when it comes to job or salary negotiation (and salaries, particularly in the private sector, are often negotiable prior to the actual hiring). This phenomena could also exist in URMs as well.
 
  • #41
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I don't think that's what the poster had in mind. What I assume he/she may be referring to are situations where, at least in the case of women, those who choose to take time out of their work to have children and or to raise a family may put in less hours (to accomodate their parental commitments, which still disproportionately fall on women, although that is changing), and thus be penalized in the workplace for it. So female employees who may start out being paid the same wage as their male peers may end up earning less in the future for the same job.
That argument doesnt hold for URMs.

Also doesnt it seem odd that people are judging the wages of women over their lifetimes on events that at most occur a handful of times if at all in a women's lifetime (pregnancy) in these modern times.

Also shouldnt the scales of evidence be on showing that there is not a discriminatory factor. That you would have to show that these so called "complex factors" are statistically significant and causal instead of assuming they are and discounting the issues which historically (as in less than a century ago) are undeniable because they were institutionalized.

The simplest analogy would be that URMs and women are just starting to play a game of monopoly in which boardwalk,park place, and all the best properties are already purchased. Imagine how fair it would feel to have to play a game of monopoly after most of the properties have been purchased.
 
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  • #42
Pythagorean
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There's some indication that blind hiring increases the hiring rate of women, indicating a real bias:

http://www.nber.org/papers/w5903

Maybe blind hiring, rather than affirmative action, is the way to approach the problem. I don't know how effective or ineffective affirmative action is in the first place, but if the complaints against it are valid, then a blind hiring process could satisfy both sides of the argument. I don't know how interviews would be conducted though. In an orchestra, you let your instrument speak for you. Maybe text chat interviews?
 
  • #43
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I would love for there be some type of blind hiring process and a similar process for our justice system.

There has recently been a lot of talk and research about age discrimination in certain sectors. It seems like it would be easy to partially combat this by having application tracking systems strip dates from resumes and CVs.

There is also the problem that blind hiring is only a solution for a particular bottleneck in the system where there might be other parts where there might be issues. I rarely see people complain about the legacy system at colleges given the history of colleges which as you can guess this is benefiting males (As an example nearly all harvard alumni from before the 1960's are male).

Do a random simulation where you sample 50/50 from two groups M/F where you "admit" students randomly but give a bias for individuals labeled legacy and initialize it so that 90+% of legacies are male. I can guarantee you that the bias will favor the male group for more than a handful of generations.
 
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  • #44
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Personally, I wouldn't care at all about the "prefer not to respond"-gender problem. Prejudice is inevitable, sure, but I have been proven otherwise infront of my own 2 eyes while I was sober (I think) that a woman is perfectly capable of fixing a car.

Back to the original point - should you be into your subject, I think you shouldn't even pay attention to things that are not important. Are you just going to do physics to prove something to others? I mean, who cares, if you want to study physics, then go for it - if you are good, it will have nada to do with your gender/race/religion and whatnot.
 
  • #45
StatGuy2000
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I would love for there be some type of blind hiring process and a similar process for our justice system.

There has recently been a lot of talk and research about age discrimination in certain sectors. It seems like it would be easy to partially combat this by having application tracking systems strip dates from resumes and CVs.

There is also the problem that blind hiring is only a solution for a particular bottleneck in the system where there might be other parts where there might be issues. I rarely see people complain about the legacy system at colleges given the history of colleges which as you can guess this is benefiting males (As an example nearly all harvard alumni from before the 1960's are male).

Do a random simulation where you sample 50/50 from two groups M/F where you "admit" students randomly but give a bias for individuals labeled legacy and initialize it so that 90+% of legacies are male. I can guarantee you that the bias will favor the male group for more than a handful of generations.

As far I know, Canadian universities do not allow legacy admissions (as you can probably tell, I'm from Canada).
 
  • #46
StatGuy2000
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That argument doesnt hold for URMs.

Also doesnt it seem odd that people are judging the wages of women over their lifetimes on events that at most occur a handful of times if at all in a women's lifetime (pregnancy) in these modern times.

Also shouldnt the scales of evidence be on showing that there is not a discriminatory factor. That you would have to show that these so called "complex factors" are statistically significant and causal instead of assuming they are and discounting the issues which historically (as in less than a century ago) are undeniable because they were institutionalized.

The simplest analogy would be that URMs and women are just starting to play a game of monopoly in which boardwalk,park place, and all the best properties are already purchased. Imagine how fair it would feel to have to play a game of monopoly after most of the properties have been purchased.

I don't dispute that it seems odd that people are judging the wages of women over their lifetimes on events that occur on specific intervals -- my point is that the time interval in which these events occur are precisely those years when workers first establish themselves in the workplace. And in the absence in the US of family-friendly work laws (e.g. no mandated maternity leave), these could have a real, substantial impact on future earnings. Whether they actually do or not is an area that is worth research.

Also, I never stated that there wasn't a discriminatory factor; I'm just stating that there may be other complex factors at work that must be considered when assessing the reasons behind the relative lower earnings of women and URMs. I agree that any assertion of whether discrimination is a factor or not should be based on evidence that is carefully weighed and researched, with appropriate statistics -- I'm certain social scientists have looked at this question and there would be publications available. Once I find something, I'll provide a link to it.
 
  • #47
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I don't dispute that it seems odd that people are judging the wages of women over their lifetimes on events that occur on specific intervals -- my point is that the time interval in which these events occur are precisely those years when workers first establish themselves in the workplace. And in the absence in the US of family-friendly work laws (e.g. no mandated maternity leave), these could have a real, substantial impact on future earnings. Whether they actually do or not is an area that is worth research.
That argument just doesnt add up when you compare wages of women without children with women with children. There is a 23% gap between women and men and only a 7 to 14% gap between women with children and those without.

http://www.npr.org/2012/02/07/146522483/the-wage-gap-between-moms-other-working-women

Unless the wages are supposed to be depressed for women even if they have no children.
 
  • #48
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Unfortunately this often becomes the case, but the principle itself is not misguided in my opinion. In the sciences women face barriers, societal and otherwise, that men usually do not. These societal barriers appear in the form of discouraging young girls from pursuing careers in the sciences and special scholarships for women are a reasonable first step in combating this issue. Aside from the male/female sex imbalance in graduating PhDs, this discrepancy is exacerbated even further in the breakdown of senior faculty (see post #14), which is indicative of discrimination in either the recognition and/or hiring of women. So even without affirmative action policies, discrimination is still rampant, just in the other direction. Which of these is worse depends largely on your perspective I suppose, but the point is that while there are legitimate criticisms of affirmative action, pretending there are no issues to be fixed is ludicrous.



Why should this be the case?

You didn't provide any evidence of such discrimination, the ratio not being close to 1:1 isn't evidence of discrimination.

Why should it be the case that every job should be balanced between men and women? The only thing that justifies it is an ideology, that says men and women should be equal in everything, an ideology that is spread by the feminist movement. Unfortunately that's not how reality is, you can't force reality to fit to your ideology of how things should be, that's just childish.
 
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  • #49
jgens
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You didn't provide any evidence of such discrimination, the ratio not being close to 1:1 isn't evidence of discrimination.

No part of my argument is predicated on this claim. If you actually read the post I directed you towards (so hard right), instead of just pretending you know what it says, then you would already know this. Roughly 25% of math PhDs are women yet looking at schools like Harvard and UChicago reveals that fewer than 7% of senior faculty are women. To me that speaks to discrimination.

Why should it be the case that every job should be balanced between men and women?

I have not made the claim that this should be true. My whole argument is essentially just that prejudices against women still exist in the sciences. Not that (on average) men and women have equal abilities at this stuff. On the other hand, you did claim that men will always be overrepresented in the sciences and I am asking for justification for that opinion. As of yet it has not been delivered. Unless you count some possibly misogynistic grumblings about feminism of course.

The only thing that justifies it is an ideology, that says men and women should be equal in everything, an ideology that is spread by the feminist movement. Unfortunately that's not how reality is, you can't force reality to fit to your ideology of how things should be, that's just childish.

Unfortunately reality is not this mystical fairy tail land where women in the STEM fields face no discrimination either. Pretending that is the case is simply ignorant.
 
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  • #50
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No part of my argument is predicated on this claim. If you actually read the post I directed you towards (so hard right), instead of just pretending you know what it says, then you would already know this. Roughly 25% of math PhDs are women yet looking at schools like Harvard and UChicago reveals that fewer than 7% of senior faculty are women. To me that speaks to discrimination.

Please, have you investigated that further before making that bold claim that it must be discrimination?

I have not made the claim that this should be true. My whole argument is essentially just that prejudices against women still exist in the sciences. Not that (on average) men and women have equal abilities at this stuff. On the other hand, you did claim that men will always be overrepresented in the sciences and I am asking for justification for that opinion. As of yet it has not been delivered. Unless you count some possibly misogynistic grumblings about feminism of course.

Where did I say men will always be overrepresented in sciences?
 
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