1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Featured Admissions Drop the Physics Requirement to Encourage More Women Engineers?

  1. Dec 17, 2017 #81

    WWGD

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The research I have seen on harassment and discrimination has been very weak in that, among other things, harassment and discrimination are deemed to have happened if/when women say or believe it has. And even improved research would be too recent to have been replicated often -enough to have been considered established. And I have trouble with claims of bias on many grounds , including that I who have lived a reasonably random/rep life, have never seen it happen. I know many women who have careers as professionals of different sorts without having had any special support given to them. Again, if you decide not to take on a difficult path such as a graduate science degree based largely on the grounds of (supposed) bias or peer pressure, then you likely don't have it in you to undertake the grueling effort required. But, I do agree that one of the factors is that women are more reasonable , healthier emotionally, in the sense they seek to have a balanced life not entirely devoted to work, while men are willing to , unhealthily, devote their lives to their works, paying a high price in many regards. But this is in part the result of societal pressures whereby a man is appreciated as a function of being a good worker/provider. It seem many in the Feminist movement believe the hardships women go through do not have a parallel in what men go through. I have never bought into the white straight privilege they so often bring up. EDIT: Ultimately women are just not entering into IT-related careers in high-enough numbers. Just how do you expect anything close to a 50-50 ratio when only , e.g., around 8% of Physics, EE, etc. degrees are pursued by women? Women have it better in many regards than men, they just never bring these up. I have never heard them complain, e.g., about the fact that women are earning some 60% of college degrees nowadays.
     
  2. Dec 17, 2017 #82

    WWGD

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Not what I found in my search, e.g, for a collection of studies : https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/other/single-sex/single-sex.pdf
     
  3. Dec 17, 2017 #83

    anorlunda

    Staff: Mentor

    I read the article, yet the premise is still unclear. Is the proposal to lower the bar for entrance requirements? or to lower the bar for college graduation requirements? A third alternative would be to lower entrance requirements, hold fast on graduation requirements, and increase the flunk out rate. A fourth would be to lower entrance requirements, but to have students make up the missing pieces before graduation.


    I also note that it is not just physics. The article talks about dropping both math and physics for all students male or female.
     
  4. Dec 17, 2017 #84

    bhobba

    Staff: Mentor

    Exactly.

    Regarding bias etc - yes it exists but measures are being taken to curb it. I have seen it change a lot in my working life from the days when married women were not allowed to take clerical jobs in the government to the person in charge of my department was a woman. There is a bit of a way to go yet - it may still take a bit of time - but it will happen.

    Even now studies about the pay gap between men and women have shown - when things like temporarily leaving the workforce to have children etc (yes of course men can do that too - but predominantly women CHOOSE to do it) are taken into account the pay gap is actually quite small. Not zero - which should be the aim - but so small I don't think its near the top of the issues women now face in the workplace.

    Thanks
    Bill.
     
  5. Dec 17, 2017 #85

    bhobba

    Staff: Mentor

    It's more cultural as seen by the fact in some parts of STEM like engineering and physics there are more men than women - in other parts like Biology and Psychology its the other way around. Sorting out the exact reason for that is the answer. I conjecture its a cultural bias women have against math so they gravitate to fields perceived as being 'math lite'. That is set to change in the future - all areas will be drastically changed by AI which requires good math/computing skills to understand. And yes you need to understand it - not just press buttons - its always an advantage knowing whats going on behind the scenes..

    Women - or anybody actually, will not be able to escape it - but I believe women are equally adept and math/computing as men - its not related to studies that have shown boys tend to gravitate towards male type toys and girls female type toys when young (that's likely genetic) - math really is gender neutral.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  6. Dec 17, 2017 #86

    bhobba

    Staff: Mentor

    That's true - however its another issue.

    You forgot the alternative I have been suggesting.

    Don't worry about it until undergrad where you can take the prerequisites necessary for the career you want and do that study post-grad. By that time you are much more mature and can make better decisions.

    It was noticed in the medical field. What happened is if you got the marks to do medicine then it was more or less expected that's what you do rather that its what you choose to do because it's what appeals to you. To fix that issue medicine in Aus is now basically a post-grad degree - a few still exist where its undergrad but they are rare.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  7. Dec 17, 2017 #87
    Although I am a geologist, I did some engineering courses as "subsidiary subjects" as part of my degrees, in the UK
    (BSc, PhD; later a BMath in Canada)
    . But that was over 50 years ago, and at a time when fewer kids went to university. The engineering departments, then, dropped about 25% of the students every year, even though all had high school preparation in maths, physics, and chemistry that was equivalent to first year in many North American universities. Much of my lengthy professional life has been spent in what may be considered engineering and I have hired and worked with many engineers, many of them female and in no way have found any of the latter to be inferior to males. There is no question that adequate preparation is needed for engineering and it is great if this could be done at high school level but if this is not the case, it does not shut the door. I did Maths, Physics and Chemistry at school (I admit, I was a nerd, although I don't think the word had been invented then. but my interests have broadened since!), but the University of Birmingham in the UK had a year long pre-science/engineering program for those who did not have adequate preparation for those areas; more than one of my contemporaries (background in things such as history, Latin, English Lit., etc.) followed this transition to very successful careers in engineering and science.
    I would enthusiastically encourage girls to become engineers (or scientists - what could be more interesting or rewarding?); otherwise, our society wastes half its potential! So the real question is how do we attract bright girls (boys, too) into the really interesting areas of science and engineering? Then, provide adequate preparation if they have not got this at school.
     
  8. Dec 17, 2017 #88

    bhobba

    Staff: Mentor

    Well said.

    Of course when I say in Australia we are moving to engineering being a 3 year Masters after your initial degree, with you just needing the usual first year math and science preparation eg Calc 1, 2, 3 + Linear Algebra in the US system, and a related science eg the typical first year physics sequence for Mechanical Engineering. While it can be fitted into just about any degree, that does not mean better prepared students are not catered for - by doing some engineering subjects undergrad that will allow a reduction of one year in the masters so all up it takes 5 years instead of 6. This partly is in the choice of undergrad degree - in some it's easy - in others difficult - but not impossible. I mentioned actuarial science and systems engineering would be an excellent combination (strangely systems engineering isn't offered that much here is Aus - don't know why). You have no worry with math requirements for Actuarial Science graduates - but fitting the science requirements in can be an issue - it can be done but requires good preparation on the students part without detailing what that would be.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  9. Dec 18, 2017 #89

    HAYAO

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    At least the new president makes it easier for both men and women.

    In Japan, we have "women only" and "women priority" academic posts, even though female:male student ratio is typically 1:9 in science department and engineering department. It makes it quite hard for men students and postdocs to apply for a position, whereas it is much much easier for women.

    So much for gender equality.
     
  10. Dec 18, 2017 #90

    WWGD

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Ditto here, where in my school they had open spots reserved for women with all sorts of benefits: personalized tutoring/mentoring, funding among others and yet there were barely any takers. And then somehow this is the result of discrimination. Women have been overall much more effective at selling their brand than man have, one barely hears anything on men's issues despite much higher dropout , suicide, incarceration rates, women obtaining some 60% of college degrees, etc..
     
  11. Dec 18, 2017 #91
    Same here. It is so frustrating to see women and minority groups play "victim card" even after getting these special quotas.
     
  12. Dec 18, 2017 #92

    WWGD

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think there may be some groups that really deserve it to redress previous injustices, like maybe Native tribes and Blacks in the U.S. But now with the quotas, I don't see what else to complain about. Inequality did exist but now it does not seem so pronounced, if at all. EDIT: But I grant you that many males who never beneffited are punished now by these quotas.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  13. Dec 18, 2017 #93
    Yes I agree, those who deserve should definitely get quotas, like people from minority groups who are poor and can't afford proper education. I am fine with 100 more quotas if they go to people who deserve it. The problem is when people who can afford proper education get these special benefits.
    Promoting equality for one group by discriminating against another is what these quotas are all about.
     
  14. Dec 19, 2017 #94
  15. Dec 19, 2017 #95

    WWGD

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    "As in previous reviews, the results are equivocal. There is some support for the premise
    that single-sex schooling can be helpful, especially for certain outcomes related to academic
    achievement and more positive academic aspirations. For many outcomes, there is no evidence
    of either benefit or harm. There is limited suppo
    rt for the view that single-sex schooling may be
    harmful or that coeducational schooli
    ng is more beneficial for students."
    I thought your position was that SS schools were beneficial overall.
     
  16. Dec 19, 2017 #96

    PAllen

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Note, this meta review excluded all studies of single sex classes in coed schools, and as a result had confounding issues due to many of the single sex schools being religious in nature, so academics was not necessarily the first priority.
     
  17. Dec 23, 2017 #97
    No, the topic is secondary math and science. I'm not qualified to make other judgments.
     
  18. Dec 30, 2017 #98
    I dont think this would be a good idea. Intro physics 1 and 2 (Newtonian and E&M Without calculus) are fairly stripped down versions of the actual courses. They are there for the development of critical thinking skills and how to approach physical problems. If you can't pass those two and subsequently calculus 1 and 2, you should consider other majors. Male or female. Now, I do approve of the extra help given to those women who decide to major in engineering. It's a field that could use some diversity, and that diversity can breed new ideas which could help solve some of the world's biggest problems.
     
  19. Dec 30, 2017 #99

    radium

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    In regards to the comments about quotas, I think the problem is that the presence (or speculation) of quotas gives the false impression that sexism is not a real problem, when it in fact effects almost every female scientist at some point in her career. They are in many ways a superficial fix to a very complicated problem and may even do more harm than good.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Loading...
Similar Threads for Drop Physics Requirement Date
Other Should I drop physics? Sep 3, 2017
Studying Drop out of Physics? Aug 30, 2017
Schools Should I take a gap year to get into UT Dallas? Apr 17, 2016
Is dropping out 1 or 2 yrs.in graduation gonna make problem Jun 8, 2015
Should I just drop my physics class? Sep 19, 2014