Reply to post: Why the 'women are innately less interested/good at technology' claim is wrong

The immovable object versus the unstoppable force: How the tech boys club remains exclusive

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Why the 'women are innately less interested/good at technology' claim is wrong

Inevitably someone is going to claim that, well, women may just be innately less predisposed to be good at technology. This claim is not supported by the evidence. A good way to see this is to look at statistics for Computer Science degrees.

In 1984/85 37% of CS degrees in the US were granted to women. In 2010/11 18% were. Both these figures are for the US I think. So, in 26 years – approximately one generation – the proportion of women being awarded CS degrees halved. It's not the case that CS has become vastly more technical or anything like that since 1985.

What this means is that whatever drove this collapse in numbers is not innate predisposition, because changes in innate predisposition occur over evolutionary timescales, which are quite a lot longer than 26 years, to put it mildly. So some other factor or factors has driven women away from CS between the mid 1980s and today.

A second conclusion from this is that, unless you assume that there was very significant positive discrimination towards women in CS in the middle 1980s, which seems very unlikely to me (and I was working in computing academia in the late 1980s), the 'unbiased' proportion of women in CS is probably something greater than 37%: in other words, it's very likely that there's no significant difference in innate predisposition between women and men at all.

[A slightly second-hand source for the numbers I quote above is here.]

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