The More Gender Equality, the Fewer Women in STEM
In February, Olga Khazan wrote about a new study that explored a strange paradox: Women in countries with more gender equality are less likely to choose math and science professions.
I am a student at New York University and I am responding to your article “The More Gender Equality, the Fewer Women in STEM,” by Olga Khazan. While this article brought up many relevant points concerning the Psychological Science study and the low rate of participation of U.S. women in stem, there were multiple key points that it touched on only briefly or completely omitted.
Having grown up with a mother who works in a STEM-related sector of the government, I have learned that the culture surrounding these occupations is infamously a “men’s club.” My mother prided herself on her persuasive negotiating abilities and doggedness. As I got older, I witnessed situations where my mother’s male colleagues—in lower positions than her—were prioritized. I realized that part of her job included being persistent and putting in extra effort just to be recognized among her male colleagues.
Your article touched on the fact that women are statistically not worse at STEM subjects than men, so there must be something else in “liberal societies that’s nudging women away.”
Sadly, you fail to elaborate on what this could be. I would like to suggest one nudging influence given the hostile nature of my mother’s work environment: the male-dominated workforce in stem is unwelcoming and enervating. Working in such an environment requires a draining level of energy just to be heard and respected—it is understandable why STEM positions would be viewed unfavorably by women who have a choice.