Men Outnumber Women in the Sciences

A new study that raises interesting questions about why gender disparities in different professions remain prevalent has provoked feminist ire. But academics shouldn’t be cancelled for addressing important issues like these.

Harvard President Larry Summers lost his job back in 2006 for merely speculating about why men are disproportionately overrepresented in physics, mathematics, chemistry, and other such STEM fields. Oh, yes, he mentioned the acceptable explanations: girls are taught that math is hard, little of this sort of thing is expected of them by our sexist society, they have very few role models, their entry to the laboratories is actively discriminated against, etc. So far, so good. No one gets cancelled for offering those bromides. But he also had the audacity to offer biological considerations as an additional account – and then, as they say, it hit the fan.

Now, along comes an article by Steve Stewart-Williams and Lewis G Halsey, published in the prestigious European Journal of Personality, entitled ‘Men, women and STEM: Why the differences and what should be done?’, which makes this very point. Feminists, both male and female, are of course outraged; they offer much heat, but no light, in their rejection of this thesis.

What is going on here?

A new study that raises interesting questions about why gender disparities in different professions remain prevalent has provoked feminist ire. But academics shouldn’t be cancelled for addressing important issues like these.

Harvard President Larry Summers lost his job back in 2006 for merely speculating about why men are disproportionately overrepresented in physics, mathematics, chemistry, and other such STEM fields. Oh, yes, he mentioned the acceptable explanations: girls are taught that math is hard, little of this sort of thing is expected of them by our sexist society, they have very few role models, their entry to the laboratories is actively discriminated against, etc. So far, so good. No one gets cancelled for offering those bromides. But he also had the audacity to offer biological considerations as an additional account – and then, as they say, it hit the fan.

Now, along comes an article by Steve Stewart-Williams and Lewis G Halsey, published in the prestigious European Journal of Personality, entitled ‘Men, women and STEM: Why the differences and what should be done?’, which makes this very point. Feminists, both male and female, are of course outraged; they offer much heat, but no light, in their rejection of this thesis.

What is going on here?

First, consider their females. Many of them could get pregnant alright, but they would be too busy being in the prehistoric version of jails, mental institutions, homeless shelters, committing suicide, to be able to take care of their babies. Our great grandmothers, in sharp contrast, would have no difficulty with caring for the next generation.

Now consider their males. Very, very few of them are to be found three and four standard deviations above the mean. Biological lesson coming up. Males create far more sperm than females generate eggs. If a woman gives birth to a baby every year from the time of puberty to menopause, she would be limited to something like 30 children. In actual practice, it is the very rare woman who has progeny in the double digits. Men are not limited in that way by biology. Very active males can reach three digits with ease, and even four digits if they are very energetic. Smarter men are able to have more children than stupid ones. Under our assumptions, very few cavemen of their species are at the outer reaches of intelligence. Not so for our great grandfathers.

Does biology play a strong role in STEM proportions? No such question can be settled in a short op-ed such as this. Is there plausibility in this hypothesis? Yes. Should people be canceled, such as Lawrence Summers from Harvard, for even contemplating such non-politically correct thoughts? Not if we value our civilization.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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