back to article Girls outpace boys in US IT and engineering test

A study from the US government's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has found that girls test higher than boys in engineering and technology. The study, analyzing data from a 2014 round of tests on 21,500 eighth-grade students, found that on average, girls scored three points higher than boys on a series of …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    And over to Herr Gauss

    So there is a small difference in the mean of a broad distribution of two populations.

    At an age where girls have physically/mentally matured ahead of boys and when there is a group pressure for the boys not to be swots.

    It says nothing about what you expect the gender of future 1 in a million Nobel prize winners to be or what you expect the mix of top 1% of 21 year olds graduating in Maths/Physics from top schools or how many should have founded $Bn silicon valley companies

    1. PassiveSmoking

      Re: And over to Herr Gauss

      There's no pressure on girls at that age not to be swots and instead be into "boys" and "fashion"? As far as I can see, anti-intellectualism knows no gender.

  2. David Webb

    Ahh

    I suck at titles, just saying.

    Anyhow. Girls and IT is a good thing, the problem with IT (and especially with gaming) is misogyny (can all the misogynists look up what the word means please?). It's all well and good for females to be better than guys at IT and/or gaming, but a small minority of men strongly dislike it, so much so they will post threats to females in the industry.

    I've never been to an IT industry do, but if there are females there you can probably expect the males to expect the females to put some effort into how they look, whilst for guys it's fine to go in comfortable jeans and a Star Trek/Wars T-Shirt.

    Two of my favourite gaming journalists are female, Jane Douglas and Aoife Wilson and they have to work a lot harder than their male co-workers to even attempt to get anywhere near the recognition of their male co-workers (in relation to their work, more effort for less results maybe?)

    So really, we need a lot more females in the IT industry, get rid of the male domination and the old fashioned crap, though now the small minded idiotic misogynistic twats know that women are better than men.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh

      If you suck at titles you need music to watch girls go by

    2. MondoMan

      Re: Ahh

      "gaming journalists"

      is that like "military intelligence"?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh

      TL;DR version of OP:

      Women are better(TM) than men in every way but apparently totally powerless against the cis males for "reasons". And journalism (a field that women do pretty well in) somehow has something to do with IT.

      Personally I like how these sorts of bleeding hearts like to present women as powerless children unable to break through the barriers placed in their ways by nasty men. You like to scream "oh the misogyny! WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE WOMEN!" while simultaneously painting women as fragile little things that need your support to succeed.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Ahh

        @AC suggested the original poster was "painting women as fragile little things that need your support to succeed."

        Well obviously not, I'm perfectly capable of being the successful but flawed human being that I am all on my own. On the other hand life is just a little bit less of a struggle knowing one has the support of chaps like @David_Webb.

        And "Ahh" isn't the worst title I've ever used, hun.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ahh

        @AC

        "Personally I like how these sorts of bleeding hearts like to present women as powerless children unable to break through the barriers placed in their ways by nasty men."

        There seems to be an identity crisis of feminism at the moment. Apparently they are independent and their self determination needs to be encouraged, but not enough of them do the 'right' jobs so quotas are needed to 'guide' them. And while a guy may choose his career or considerable time off it is deemed necessary for women to have both at the same time or to claim discrimination. They are strong and powerful but must watch for every possible insult, be offended by every interaction, question every gesture.

        Man, woman or anything else I cannot imagine a human being able to cope with all that without finding it really exhausting. Much simpler if we are each our own and live our own lives our way.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahh

        Yes, its classic doublethink. Women are better, so they need extra help.

        Readers digest from a forgotten age, where women actually regarded parenthood as a career: "It is a common understanding that every woman secretly wishes her child to be totally exceptional, whilst at the same time being completely normal, in every way"

        I refer you to the excellent Wiki article on Orwellian Doublethink.

        1. David Webb

          Re: Ahh

          I think a few of these replies actually highlighted the validity of my initial post.

          @Charlie Clark - there was an article on this site a couple of years ago about a female IT person who was expected to keep up appearances, even at IT events, when she would have preferred to dress the same way as men would as she was more comfortable.

          Why don't women want to work in IT? Probably because of the reasons I pointed out already, women working in IT are given a much harder time by their male counterparts, who believe if they have got ahead of them then they have done it because they have tits, not because they have better skills in their chosen field. There are many barriers for women in IT, mostly created by men.

          @MondoMan - yes, yes it is

          @codejunky - when was the last time a guy told you he would come and rape you because you posted your views upon a subject? How about if it was a common occurrence for you, so much so that you had to quit a job that you loved because of the threats? Would you call that a feminist issue or an issue of men?

          @AC - Would he get any rewards for his white knighting or would he be left in the friend zone? thankfully there are idiots like you who prove any point without even trying, you have guys in this thread who make perfectly valid points and counterpoints, express their side with elegance and decorum, then they have you come along.........

          @The Other AC - Women are better, so they need extra help No sir, Women are (statistically speaking) better, so need to be treated as equals because of their skills, not as inferior because of their gender.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: Ahh

            Would he get any rewards?

            Maybe some people behave like decent human beings because they actually are decent human beings, not because they're after something?

            1. David Webb

              Re: Ahh

              Or I could believe in Karma and be aiming to buy a few lottery tickets :D

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Ahh

              "Maybe some people behave like decent human beings because they actually are decent human beings, not because they're after something?"

              Sorry but people don't just do things because they are nice. They do things to seem nice to get rewards etc. Humans are animals and are driven by the same evolved behaviours. It's ridiculous to think otherwise.

          2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. David Webb

              Re: Ahh

              Of course women are interested in STEM, as the article points out, they are actually GOOD at the stuff. But why would they want to when the barriers are set higher for them? They have to perform better than men to get less recognition and less pay. If they start to become successful they have to suffer men with inferiority complexes telling them to get back in the kitchen where they belong.

              Here you go, a few women who experience the vocal minority who make it harder for women

              What Female Gamers Want You To Know About Being Abused Online

              Yes, it is the minority of idiots, I'm sure the majority of people who visit and read El Reg are quite open and actually enjoy working with people of the opposite sex, but we also have people who are racist, homophobic, listen to Justin Beiber, so we need the majority of sensible, normal people, to actually stand up and say "yo, this isn't acceptable behaviour, this isn't a social norm" so that women working in any IT related field can feel valued (as they actually are valued).

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: Ahh

                we also have people who are racist, homophobic, listen to Justin Beiber(sic)

                Justin Bieber is for racist homophobes? You learn something new every day.

                The "safe space" bollocks is the best way to radicalise people against live and let live.

              2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Ahh

                "Of course women are interested in STEM, as the article points out, they are actually GOOD at the stuff. But why would they want to when the barriers are set higher for them? They have to perform better than men to get less recognition and less pay."

                Really? It has nothing to do with sex/gender/gay/species whatever it is you retards think you are.

                I have had to work hard in this field. I did not work hard for recognition or pay or position. I worked hard because 1) a good solution was needed, and 2) I enjoy employing my mental facilities.

                I hesitate to say this: it seems that the average joe/jane does not like to "think".

                "...we need the majority of sensible, normal people, to actually stand up and say "yo, this isn't acceptable behaviour, this isn't a social norm" so that women working in any IT related field can feel valued (as they actually are valued)."

                Really? Such children. If you need to eat, you need to work. Forget about feeling valued. That might come at some time in your life when/if you have grandchildren. I don't need to stand up for what all the SJW and PC holy crowd call "social norms". Without limitations, those great and mighty social norms will degenerate into cannibalism. For without limitation, there can be no creativity.

                It's the same retarded bunch who want all the liberalities and who want to be cuddled and helped along and never to be given any advice which they might not like at that particular time. In short, they are just a bunch of emos. Be happy! Take drugs if you must, but maybe a fast or some yoga/prayers/meditation/sports would be better.

                People who bully, are weak. People who get bullied are weak. They are in an S&M relationship, which could be very difficult to get out of. If they are not happy with it, they should apply "the logic".

          3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Ahh

            there was an article on this site a couple of years ago about a female IT person who was expected to keep up appearances, even at IT events, when she would have preferred to dress the same way as men would as she was more comfortable.

            Be careful when extrapolating from individual instances.

            You'll get that in any industry all the time. Viz. the current bizarre case in the UK about a women being dismissed by a female boss for refusing to wear high heeled shoes for work. I hope she wins the case at the tribunal and gets a good settlement. But it has fuck all to do with IT. There are far more aggressive places for women to work than IT.

            Blokes, in a group, can be real arseholes. Then again, so can women. I've got several female friends who say they much prefer working with in a predominantly male environment.

            I've got nothing against women in tech, engineering or wherever. But I prefer to let them speak for themselves than try to speak for them.

          4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: Ahh @David Webb

            "... women working in IT are given a much harder time by their male counterparts, who believe if they have got ahead of them then they have done it because they have tits ..."

            Actually, there is some evidence to show that this attitude on the part of men is justified, depending on where in the world you live. There is a great deal of pressure to meet quotas for non-white, non-male, disabled employees, and so there is positive discrimination going on. Women are getting jobs/promotions in these environments, but not just because of their skills. This means that any woman* who gets a good job ends up being tarred with the same positive discrimination brush, and this leads to them having to work harder to justify their positions. In short, the problem is the stupid laws and guidelines which mean that there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in that job for reasons other than ability (trust me, I've seen it happen in universities, where being a male was positively bad when it came to getting a professor's post - from virtually no women profs to nearly 30% in two years, with many of the appointees having nowhere near enough experience to justify it).

            On the other hand, look at the professions - law and medicine will soon be approaching parity in women:men entering the work-place. I teach both, and in most years there are more women students than men. There has been no positive discrimination - it happened organically, and (with the exception of nutters who want 50% women judges overnight) there has been little fuss about it.

            * or member of any minority group thus blessed with the equality stick

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh

      "can all the misogynists look up what the word means please?"

      I don't know what the word means, so I don't know if I need to look it up as I don't know if it applies.

      <grin>

      1. RIBrsiq

        Re: Ahh

        >> I don't know what the word means.

        If you don't know what the word means, you should look it up. This is general advice applicable to all words in all languages.

        Specifically in this case, if you don't know what misogyny is then you're almost certainly guilty of it. That's just how the statistics are in human societies at this point in time. So you really should look it up and work on fixing that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ahh

          "So you really should look it up and work on fixing that."

          Look up sarcasm ! FFS

          (Just to labour the point , I know what the word means, and I've tried all my life to not to be one. )

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Ahh

      I've never been to an IT industry do…

      So what gives you the right to generalise about them? Most industry and corporate shindigs are boring. But sex sells which is why sponsored prostitution is not unusual at them (used to be very common for sales conferences and one of the reasons why Las Vegas is such a popular destination). Nothing to do with IT though when the insurance, car or real estate guys are getting their rocks off at a lap dance club.

      As for appearances: the fiercest critics of women I ever encounter are other women who care much more about "making an effort" than men. Most men are generally interested in primary and secondary sexual indicators. It's a bit simple but that's biology for you.

      You can't simply ordain more women in tech and it shouldn't really even be a goal in itself. Equal opportunity does not mean everyone is the same and wants to do the same thing. Most countries have pretty good laws against discrimination and harassment but enforcing them can be a problem. Find out why women don't want to work in tech and start there: a lot of them simply don't like computers very much, but are pretty happy working in biology.

      And have an extra downvote for using an adjective as a noun.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh

      How many poor people work in IT in the States, and how many poor people from ethnic minorities? And I don't mean cleaning the loos or serving in the canteens.

      And all the IT junkets I go to 99% are either full business or casual business.

      Maybe it's a UK thing.

      Also love a good bit of white knighting.

    7. TheJokker

      Re: Ahh

      The problem with feminism is that it is not about equality at all but about disparaging men. If men do better at IT or engineering it "must" be about men who hate women (not). Of course most men are going to hate "women who hate men" so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Perhaps misandristic feminists should try and work on their social skills and be less totally repellent if they want to gain acceptance...

    8. g33k3ss

      Re: Ahh

      As a female-type person who's been relatively successful in the IT industry across the pond for the last 15 years, please stop it with this tripe. If I had heard all the nonsense about rampant societal misogyny, I certainly wouldn't be where I am today. I was told I could do whatever I wanted to do, so I did. I'm terrified that this unfactual nonsense is just discouraging more and more women from doing what they want. After all, why even try if the deck is so stacked against you.

      The only misogyny I've ever experienced in my 15+ year career was from one person, yes, just one, who everyone knew was an arsehole. Personally, I love going to software conventions and training opportunities, and I dress exactly how I want to. Not to mention, it's one of the few places the guys are queuing in line for the restroom while I can just walk on in.

      Please, please quit discouraging young women that really want an IT career. Those of us that are truly interested don't need any help or hand holding to achieve our success either.

  3. Paul 76

    Looks like another fiddle.

    Reminds me of the "Female Computer Programmers are better" which was done based on Github push levels ... I mean *obviously* that's how you test programming skills !

    I wonder what the actual questions are. Things like "communication and collaboration" make me wonder if this isn't more IT waffly cr*p than actual STEM skills, you know, like *techie* stuff, not talking nicely to people.

    It was seriously suggested to me that Art be introduced into STEM as a way of balancing the genders ....

    1. fred 32

      Re: Looks like another fiddle.

      Yep, the Git hub study

      http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/02/12/before-you-get-too-excited-about-that-github-study/

      wasn't even a study....

      It's always amusing to me that people who are this bad at science and logic are the ones who are claiming women are best suited to science....when they are doing everything in their power to prove the opposite.

      At the end of the day, especially in highly competitive industries, the only thing people care about is this, can you do your job, will you make me money, and will you be a liability.

      As for IT jobs, such is the "diverse and accepting of minorities" mindset of tech that countless H-1B's are imported in to take the place of Americans, and whenever possible IT jobs are outsourced abroad to marginalized minorities who clearly need the jobs more than cis white men in america do. For the women complaining, the ship has sailed, you aren't the top of the progressive stack anymore, your IT job will be outsourced to India or Asia the second it is possible to do so because they work for less... and we all know, the less money you make the more you deserve the job, or so the thinking goes....

      If only it were true that women were only paid 79 cents on the dollar, it would have Indian IT firms quaking in the boots having to push down their wages even lower to compete.

      http://www.epi.org/blog/new-data-infosys-tata-abuse-h-1b-program/

      The real gender pay gap

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF-rdO7v0H0

  4. FozzyBear
    Mushroom

    Yawn.

    Yet another gender based study focused on science and engineering. This continual push to get more females into the science and engineering fields. In all honesty I'm over it.

    I've worked in the IT industry now for over 20 years. In all that time I can honestly say the only negativity I have ever seen was based on how crap that person was at their job, not what dangled between their legs.

    If there are individuals in an industry,( whatever industry that may be and lets not focus just on the sciences), that are gender biased, then they should be dealt with appropriately. Preferably using a bat swung at great velocity to the back of their head.

    Here's a thought let the individual decide what they want to study, what they would like to do for a job/career. Rather than categorising kids, or pushing them into certain areas of education, let their natural aptitudes bubble to the surface and nurture it

    </rant>

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Yawn.

      It does appear to be a particularly American problem, based on my unscientific observation of:

      the sheer number of articles written about the subject by Americans,

      a description in El Reg by a woman of her experiences at an American IT (?) conference which differed wildly from El Reg's readership's experiences of IT conferences elsewhere,

      El Reg readers' descriptions of Serbian women programmers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yawn.

        "a description in El Reg by a woman of her experiences at an American IT (?) "

        OMG RIGHT SOMEONE CALLED ME A BITCH ON THE TWITTER FOR SAYING THAT ALL WHITE MALES SHOULD BE KEPT IN CAGES BECAUSE THEY'RE GROSS. THE MISOGYNY LEVELS OF THESE GENDERED INSULTS IN INSANE!! THIS IS WHY THERE AREN'T MORE WOMEN IN STEM YOU HORRIBLE MALE PIGS.

        Every hash tag feminist in the US that thinks more women should be in STEM but took a worthless subject like gender studies at university.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yawn.

          I remember a glorious rant from George Carlin about the religious lot and the liberal arts lot and how they were basically trying to do the same thing just from different directions.

  5. Oengus

    Ability does not correlate to interest

    The results would appear to counter the notion that female students lack the interest or ability to pursue STEM training, at least at the grade-school level.

    I don't think this study says anything about "interest".

  6. Diogenes

    Easy peasy to change the stats

    Have a large portion of your male staff "identify" as female , it is after all just a tick box.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Easy peasy to change the stats

      Is most of your staff year 8?

      An el reg commentard specializing in exploitation of child labor.

      How quaint...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Easy peasy to change the stats

        It's not about child labor... yet. Let me explain:

        Apparently there is this thing called gender-fluid. So us guys, when we go to work for a tech company, can identify as females when we work there. This way sumbags puppet masters can really get what they want - good stats and bunch of confused children that they can then make even more confused as they grow older. Remember, weak people make better slaves. Enjoy your slavery bitches*.

        (*Yes, you are a dog - a female dog. Think what you are told to.)

  7. martinusher Silver badge

    There's a touch of the 'bleedin obvious' here

    I don't know whether the difference is statistically significant but there's also a bit of self-selection going on here. Whether we like it or not attracting girls into STEM subjects is an uphill struggle -- its been that way for decades, possibly for ever -- so the ones that do get into it tend to be the ones that have more aptitude.

    Just saying.

    Incidentally, my wife's a Physics teacher, she's the eldest of a family of three girls, all Physics graduates (two with PhDs, one with just a Master's degree). She's spent her entire career working on getting girls into the trade....it really is an uphill struggle. (Our daughter did OK, she's and engineer/pilot but then she didn't stand much of a chance going into the humantities.)

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: There's a touch of the 'bleedin obvious' here

      "Our daughter did OK, she's and engineer/pilot but then she didn't stand much of a chance going into the humantities."

      Not even it she'd wanted to?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's a touch of the 'bleedin obvious' here

        Surely you meant tumbler not twitter?

  8. itzman

    I attend a technical mentoring group

    At my old college. Engineering. There are lots of girls doing PHds in engineering these days, and what marks out the people I have met is not that the girls are better than the boys, but that the overseas students are infinitely more world wise, and mature than the UK ones.

    To the point where it is embarrassing and saddening.

    I guess if your parents are paying upwards of 100k to get you to a university that the Brits get a loan to attend, a loan they can easily evade by emigrating, or simply not paying back because they never earn enough, you would take it all more seriously.

    Let me assure you that there are some bright - extremely bright - and competent engineers on the way of the female persuasion, from places like S Africa, Venezuela, Chile, Latvia, and Poland, and I have met them.

    Sadly there are not many that good coming from Britain, where they would still rather be clubbing than studying. Not that I can talk on that matter, but I did at least take an interest in the subject.

  9. Please choose a User Name

    /Sigh

    What is it with the anglosphere and their "gender gaps" and "diversity quotas" (especially in the USA)?

    Stop trying to get women into tech, the numbers clearly show they don't care. Let them do what they want, not what you decide they have to want, and stop giving an ear to people who cry over these things.

  10. Jeff 8

    This made a headline because it was girls beating boys. Had it been the other way around, there would be no news.

    I sense a changing of the tide and equality is moving in favour of females. You know that there isn't a problem with equality when articles like this never surface comparing genders.

  11. hellwig

    What's the Distribution Here?

    [quote]Overall, the study concluded that 43 per cent of all the students tested qualified for the "proficient" level or higher, with 45 per cent of girls and 42 per cent of boys reaching the mark.[/quote]

    If 45 percent of girls and 42 percent of boys were proficient, but only 43 percent of students overall, that means there are more boys than girls? I'm not really aware of any situation where this is the case (except at engineering colleges). So... why are more boys than girls taking this test? Is it that girls who are less technically inclined are simply avoiding the test, and thus skewing the sample size?

    I don't mind girls being more proficient than boys, I just wish the numbers added up.

    1. fred 32

      Re: What's the Distribution Here?

      The problem is their assessment of "proficiency" doesn't add up. The actual sorting mechanisms in engineering don't begin until you reach college level courses, and then the weeding becomes severe as anyone who has been through introductory courses of such majors should know.

      To put it simply, science is hard, math is hard, and many people simply don't have the will or the ability to survive it.

      It's akin to testing 4th graders to see who will make a good line backer. Its so far before the point where they reach a level of maturity which exposes their true potential that its just a worthless test.

  12. Anonymous Vulture
    IT Angle

    Only an observation

    That predominately one side of this discussion only posts as AC, while the other is comfortable posting under their actual tag. Meaningless correlation? Perhaps. An off-shoot of the GIFT? I have not yet received a grant to investigate further.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. fred 32

    Feminist studies, always note the range of data they rely on is always suspiciously selective or truncated.

    8th grade? No one cares at 8th grade, what matters in high intelligence fields is the exceptional performers, aka the extreme ends of the bell curve. No one cares if you got an A in geometry or algebra by being a good obedient student like many girls are. What matters in the final assessment at the top of these fields is mastery at the top of the game. It's well known that on such tests male variability is far more extreme, you have many more perfect scores from boys, and many just plain zeros, women get through with an average, which is fine, but it does not support their assertions that this implies women are better suited to the stem fields. It's well known men are far more prone to be on the autism spectrum, the obsessives, and these are the minds which excel in such areas.

    Basically, it's like putting out a study showing men and women are the same strength, based on a study of 3rd graders.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0XVuU-iF5U

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J-MMKLeLXE

    And here's a more recent one showing just how deliberately deceptive such stories are.

    It breaks down the recent articles claiming women led businesses out perform the rest. The study as usual is unusually selective with data, deliberately narrowing the window to both avoid the tech bubble bust and the housing crisis to reach the conclusion they wanted to reach. It's an example of what is the norm now, and something people should keep in mind when encountering such claims.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNIVK3KCXtI

    1. #define INFINITY -1

      @ fred 32

      > It's well known men are far more prone to be on the autism spectrum, the obsessives, and these are the minds which excel in such areas.

      Well I agree with the commentards suggesting that this test is pointless (given their age), saying it's 'well known' implies some other study, the results of which I'd quite happily ignore. Ability (from average to exceptional) does not equate to opportunity.

      1. fred 32

        Re: @ fred 32

        Autism is a diagnosis, so its a bit different from studies which use flawed data to reach unsupported conclusions based on ridiculous projections.

        While correlation isn't causation, the prevalence of aspergers in tech has long been noted.

        Proving women lack "opportunity" is really bending over backwards to explain away discrepancies. Some of the top tech people from Gates to Jobs to Zuckerberg are drop outs. They move into areas before it becomes hip, before people start pushing for quotas and special concern for women.

        If anything, if we are to assume more equality, the concern is holding women back as they are always pushed into the present fad, not into the future.

        The Riddle Of The Pumpkin Spice Latte

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NreA_Sx6m7E

        1. #define INFINITY -1

          Re: @ fred 32

          Okay, I'll accept that comment with regards autism. However, read my comment again: I'm not in favour of quotas.

  14. cyber7
    Headmaster

    No Hands on Assistance = No Interest?

    "The results would appear to counter the notion that female students lack the interest or ability to pursue STEM training, at least at the grade-school level."

    I've looked over the NAEP data with their TEL profile tool, and can see no way to correlate "interest" with "ability". Clearly women are quite capable, but this test says little to nothing about female interest in Tech/Engr. One interesting bit: while most points are but a few point off from sex 2 sex, one question was 14 points in favor of males - "Definitely can use tools/materials to fix something".

    This metric I can easily believe, given that most fathers have generally favored giving sons hands on experience with tools from a very early age. Computers are tools; take my misspent youth modding Commodore 64's with fellow male peers, most lamenting the lack of female presence capable of even turning a screwdriver. The few women in tech I've met in 25 years, have attributed their interest to early and continued exposure to tools and early instruction from their caregivers. Jeri Elsworth begged her father to have the C64 originally purchased for her brother; her father encouraged her to tinker with car parts he brought home. Other times, its pressure from that EE/ME/tech parent like Marissa Meyer.

    I personally was hit with both: a father (electrical engineer) who taught me to use a soldering iron at age 6 (lest I burn down the house), gave me free range to his personal library, and allowed me use to tools in his wood working shed (provided I ask AND put them back when finished). I've now a young daughter myself not quite a teen, and while she prefers her stuffed animals and dolls, I try to give her opportunities with a socket wrench, drill, soldering iron, o-scope (with supervision, of course, even if my wife still worries). It's about familiarity & building confidence; without it there can be little potential interest in the future, even if otherwise fully capable in math/science/engineering.

    1. fred 32

      Re: No Hands on Assistance = No Interest?

      Goes beyond that.

      Not everything is useful. Interest in tinkering is many times self motivated, mindless male pursuits such as SPL competitions where guys amp out ridiculous vehicles to win on a SPL meter, not even music at that point, but a test tone contest, that is a level of autism women just generally don't have.

      On a more useful level, very few are interested in even learning how to change their own oil.

      Not everything is paid or homework or course credit. What people do on their own kind of tells the true story. https://trixter.oldskool.org/2015/04/07/8088-mph-we-break-all-your-emulators/ This level of autism, getting 1024 colors from CGA graphics tends to be a male type activity.

      The age range of the test invalidates it by default May as well had the 8th graders run a mile in under 10 minutes and then declare they were equally likely to all end up in the military. Conclusions simply do not follow when stem is all about the top end of the bell curve, the average is completely irrelevant. No amount of average intellects replaces an einstein.

  15. Matthew Taylor

    So the girls are beating the boys at science and engineering, eh? Good on them! I have a strong lazy streak, so how about we blokes sit back, and let the women drive things forward for a while. Let's see, I'd like strong AI, a human colony on Mars and errm if you could make fusion practical that would be ace! Cheers girls!

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