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Do females get admitted more

  1. Dec 15, 2011 #1
    Now this is gonna sound sexist, I guess cause it is. Anyone else notice that women get accepted into grad school programs with less impressive credentials? Is it just me? I understand needing to boost statistics and making it an even playing field because this field is more a male field (stereotype) but do women get large breaks for admissions or not really?
     
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  3. Dec 15, 2011 #2
    How did you notice this? Do you have any statistics?
     
  4. Dec 15, 2011 #3

    e.bar.goum

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Dec 16, 2011 #4
    Well if you go on the physics gre forums, where everyone posts where they get in it seems to be people talk about it more there, also if you go through and read the profiles to who people are and where they get accepted, it seems a female with a 3.6 gpa and 780 pgre can get into all the places a male does with a 3.8 and 890. Even some of the people in my physics department talk about this, I don't have straight numbers for you, just personal observations.
     
  6. Dec 16, 2011 #5
    Kinda is different, since I'm female myself and people are preaching it to me, so maybe not sexist, maybe trying to understand why people always say it to me. Hm maybe everyone else has forced sexism upon me.
     
  7. Dec 16, 2011 #6

    e.bar.goum

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    Well, since GRE+marks are hardly the sole decider on whether one gets into university, it's not really a good measure.

    Every time this discussion occurs, it seems to be based on pure sexism.
     
  8. Dec 16, 2011 #7

    e.bar.goum

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    Women are quite often perpetuate their own oppression. The patriarchy is great like that.

    (Maybe you can tell, my other hobby is feminism)
     
  9. Dec 16, 2011 #8
    Being female is a large help in admissions. It especially helps you if your PGRE is low.
     
  10. Dec 16, 2011 #9

    radou

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    If this is really true, then it is terrible.
     
  11. Dec 16, 2011 #10
    Yes.

    Yes, it's positive discrimination, and many women I know don't like it.

    Here in the Netherlands, for example, the technological universities (TU Delft, TU Eindhoven; see here) have special tenure tracks for women, to ensure 'a diverse workforce at all job levels'.

    In practice, it's stupid. The simple truth is that, generally speaking, many more men than women apply to engineering and science programmes. However, some nitwits decided that this must mean women are being discriminated against^, and decided to set up special programmes for women.

    The reason many of those women I know don't like is because it devaluates them and their degrees. I've even heard someone once say to a woman: 'yeah, sure you're in academia, but you're a *woman*, so it's easy for you!' And the worst thing is that, right now, he's at least partially correct.

    ^I don't mean to say that I believe women are never being discriminated against. I know they are. But the above is certainly a foolish assumption, and does more harm than good to women's rights.
     
  12. Dec 16, 2011 #11

    Pengwuino

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    This is not evidence disproving the original posters idea at all! Neither of those articles talk about graduate school applications. What this is equivalent to is say, a poster asking whether or not men are discriminated against in becoming elementary school teachers because the ratio of male elementary school teachers to female teachers is so amazingly skewed in one direction. There are numerous societal factors that make up for the discrepancy. Now, there may in fact be school districts that do not feel comfortable hiring male teachers. However, looking at the result (employment distribution) to try to justify a single cause (gender discrimination) is a garbage argument.

    There are reasons women might not want to pursue graduate degrees that mirror the reason many women don't like the high-powered career tracks in certain fields. If you do want to shoot for say, a tenure track academic position, you really are looking at taking a decade out of your life where you work ridiculous hours. And let's be honest, guys don't have that certain time limit that women do when it comes to something extremely important for humans.
     
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  13. Dec 16, 2011 #12
    You're the first person I've met who agrees with me on that.
     
  14. Dec 16, 2011 #13
    Say you have 10 people that got into a very competitive program, 7 men and 3 women. It would be absurd to suggest that all three women are less qualified than all 7 men. More likely, everyone's qualifications for the program vary, some being slighty stronger candidates than others, but everyone being at approximately the same level.

    Now some programs (I have seen this in some scholarship programs and REUs) say something like: "women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply". This leads me to assume that for such programs, it is easier for women and minorities to get in, which is either affirmative action or a kind of sexism and racism, depending on how you look at it. When I was an undergrad (I am female), I got into an REU program that specifically tried to recruit women and minorities. Maybe I got in because of being female, maybe not. However, at the end of the summer, out of the whole program, only me and 1 other person (a male) had publications. So, it really doesn't matter to me why I got in, what is important to me is that I was clearly one of the better/more successful participants.
     
  15. Dec 16, 2011 #14

    Pengwuino

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    I personally believe this is true in even more general cases (not just with gender or race issues).
     
  16. Dec 16, 2011 #15
    I was going to say that too but I decided to keep my post short. I agree though, it seems to be true for many situations.
     
  17. Dec 16, 2011 #16

    Choppy

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    There's an interesting article in the most recent issue of Physics Today on gender inequalities in physics. The author argues that one of the contributing factors is that undergraduate physics problems tend to presuppose a base of knowledge that favours males. Examples that I remember considerered cars on racetracks, engines, struts, etc. The authors argued that a disproportionate number of female students would get hung up on basic questions like what is a strut and get lost even before they got involved in the physics of the question.

    Whether this translates into a bias towards accepting lower credentialled female candidates or not, I have no idea.

    I would not be surprised if there was data out there suggesting that good-looking, or fit, or outgoing and friendly people tended to be accepted over ugly people, or fat, or introverted people in spite of credentials. I suspect this is true everywhere because people tend to favour other people they enjoy being around.

    There will be biases in any system. Graduate acceptance methods will not be perfect. When sexism is blatant, people generally have recourse options to correct for it. However, when it is subtle, it hurts everyone.
     
  18. Dec 16, 2011 #17

    Pengwuino

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    What the hells a strut? :P To be honest, you say that questions could be gender bias.... but what does that even mean? What questions? The only "questions" that matter for graduate admissions are your physics GRE questions. I don't recall (although it's been a year) any questions that required knowledge outside of the pure physics content. I do remember questions about racetracks, but I don't know a single person who would not know enough about what a racetrack is to answer a question about one on the PGRE. I think some people believe that since a lot of girls don't care about something, it means they don't know what it is.

    Also, in terms of admissions, how does your looks, personality, or ability to be outgoing have anything to do with anything? In my experience, a vast majority of admissions are done without knowing a thing about the persons looks. I have heard a few universities that do have interviews for graduate programs, but a vast majority of people do it just by mail/electronic applications.
     
  19. Dec 16, 2011 #18
    Females probably get admitted more because there is less of them, not any distinct affirmative action ploy. In my co-op program, if you're a female in engineering, for some reason, you get scooped up for jobs first...every time.

    A part of my white-male self thinks that this idea is unfair but another part of me thinks that it's just a type of equilibrium. Physics, engineering, math, and computer science are hugely dominated by males and I think that - fair or not - accepting a higher percentage of females as graduate students is a good thing. I think that it encourages younger girls to cast away a social stigma towards being a "nerd". As for the guy who lost his spot to the less qualified girl...License to rage.
     
  20. Dec 16, 2011 #19

    Choppy

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    One of single most memorable phrases from my undergraduate years came about half way through my fourth year E&M class when one of my classmates suddenly blurted out
    "What the **** is a waveguide?"

    The point they were making in the article was in reference to common first year physics textbooks. In high school the gender ratio was more or less equal, but the further you go in physics the more it favours males. Interestingly the differences weren't quite as drastic in mathematics, so the argument that males were simply better at mathematics was argued to be insufficient to explain the difference.

    Anyway, I think this whole discussion is steering away from the original question in the thread. I'm not going to try to defend the article, because I didn't write it. I do think it's worth reading though.


    They shouldn't have anything to do with admissions. But, I'm sure you wouldn't have to look very hard to find that good-looking people do better at job interviews, for example. In fact something I've often wondered about is whether something as simple as a person's name can influence grading. Obviously it shouldn't. But that doesn't mean that is does not.
     
  21. Dec 16, 2011 #20
    There is also the idea that good looking people are met with more social opportunities throughout their life, and as a result of that they have more developed skills. This could explain their performance in interviews, as they exude confidence in social situations where others may not.

    I of course know this because I am indeed a handsome, handsome individual.
     
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