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Poll: The Ratio of Men to Women in Your Math/Science Classes

  1. There were obviously more guys in my math/science classes

    32 vote(s)
  2. I wasn't aware of any obviously greater proportion of guys.

    5 vote(s)
  3. Other (explain)

    2 vote(s)
  1. Apr 2, 2012 #1
    It's my perception from random remarks that have been made here over the years that most people's math/science classes have been populated by a markedly higher proportion of men than women, and that interest in math/science dooms guys to a sort of involuntary monastic existence, as far as classmates go.

    Is this true of your personal experience? Given that none of you probably counted and kept records, was it, never-the-less your perception that there were definitely more men than women in your math/science classes?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2012 #2


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    Zoob, what do you want the poll to ask? I can add the poll.
  4. Apr 2, 2012 #3

    A.) There were obviously more guys in my math/science classes.
    B.) I wasn't aware of any obviously greater proportion of guys.
    C.) Other (explain)
  5. Apr 2, 2012 #4


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    I just finished an engineering class - Dynamics. About 60 students, 5 or 6 were females.

    Interestingly, nearly all of the questions were asked by the women. (The instructor was a woman but somehow I don't think that was a factor.)
  6. Apr 2, 2012 #5
    In most of my math classes, there were about half and half. Only Linear Algebra had more men, and that was only by 1 or 2.

    My science classes were about 1/3 female, but, the people that scored the highest on the tests and projects were routinely women. Not sure if the guy played favorites or what.
  7. Apr 2, 2012 #6
    I think this might be a US-thing. In my experience, there were always more women in the math classes than men.
  8. Apr 2, 2012 #7
    I need to move where you live. There's about 1/4th girls in my calc 3 class. I know a guy who's taking some math class called statics or something like that, and he said there isn't a single girl in that class.
    My physics class has even less girls, about 1/20th of the class is girls.

    I see girls all over campus, some really nice looking ones too, yet they're not in my classes. What classes are they taking? I might change majors.
  9. Apr 2, 2012 #8
    In my class (physics undergrad) the ratio is about 1 woman to 4 men... But in statistics for example, they had calculus III with us, and I think there were more women than men, and hot ones :biggrin:
    In biomedical engineering undergrad, I think the ratio must be close to 1:1.
  10. Apr 2, 2012 #9
    Indeed, I noticed that a lot of girls move towards statistics and a lot of guys move towards pure mathematics. Me? I'm caught inbetween with applied mathematics.

    (I'm in the U.K. The maths degrees at my university separate into pure, applied and stats modules, where we take six modules a year.)

    It might just be the (very) few females I've spoken to, but many seem more concerned about choosing modules that are reportedly easier to pass rather than choose modules they are interested in. That is strange to me, although I can understand the motivation.
  11. Apr 2, 2012 #10


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    Thirty years ago, that was the case. I think of the 20 or so students in my senior class in nuclear engineering there were two women, and a third who participated in health physics. I seem to remember very few women in the mechanical, aerospace and electrical engineering departments. I think that has changed somewhat since then, but when I taught during grad school, there were still fewer women than men in the engineering programs, and also in the physics department.

    Professionally however, I do encounter quite a lot of women, and some in high level positions.
  12. Apr 2, 2012 #11


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    Men don't like asking questions - or for directions. Or maybe, men don't like asking questions in the presence of women. :biggrin:
  13. Apr 2, 2012 #12
    Really depends on which classes you take at my school. If you take morning classes (10:55 a.m.) there are more girls in the class, and the math class in the morning contain more women as well. But overall, at my school more women are in the biology or premedical program than men, however in sciences like physics or mathematics, there are more men than women. Chemistry at my school in terms of women and men is almost the same as well. It is a private, relatively small school compared to the public university but most men at the school tend to major in business, so the science-based students is relatively low as well.
  14. Apr 3, 2012 #13

    Chi Meson

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    Here's an interesting observation about my HS physics classes: The boys outnumber the girls 3 to 2 in my Honors classes (averaged over the past decade) and 4 to 1 in my AP class. But if I had to make a "top ten" or even "top 20" list of my best students ever, it would be evenly split.
  15. Apr 3, 2012 #14
    Depends on which class. In physics, it's almost all guys. In chemistry, it's mostly women. In math, it's about 50/50. I cannot answer this poll.
  16. Apr 3, 2012 #15


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    My college years are too far behind me to let me rationally participate in the poll. However, in my first-year engineering group, there were only 5 women out of over 300 students.
  17. Apr 3, 2012 #16
    I'm going to move to Belgium! :biggrin:

    As for the proportions at my university... Well, it depends on which science we're talking about, of course. I was a little surprised to see that in biology classes the male:female ratio was about 1:5. On the other hand, my experience, too, has been that in math, physics and compsci classes it's the other way 'round.
  18. Apr 3, 2012 #17
    I want to major in a science. I right now I'm majoring in physics. But there's almost no chicks in physics and math classes. Do you know how many girls actually major in biology? Or are they just taking biology classes for other majors? What majors require biology classes other than medical?
    I was going to major in biology, but then changed for no apparent reason.
  19. Apr 3, 2012 #18
    Not exactly, but given that there were ~200 people in those classes, I suspect approximately 170 of them were female.

    No, because I don't live in the USA. If you take biology classes here (the Netherlands), you're most likely a biology major. :wink:
  20. Apr 3, 2012 #19

    Vanadium 50

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  21. Apr 3, 2012 #20
    I said "I wasn't aware of any obviously greater proportion of guys." I'm a math major in a relatively small university and in all my math classes both there an at community college it has looked pretty even.
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