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15 July 2018


Scott Obermuller

STEM not creative? Shows you what they know. Nothing.
Exhibit A: Lisa Winter. Project manager at Mattel, among many other hats she wears.
But in STEM stuff works or it don't. You can't just 'feel' that something will work. And there is plenty of room for creativity.

The Estonian Fox

Came across Article #1 on the World Economic Forum. It was a study of a country’s gender equality vs gender STEM representation.

Article #1 For women to worry about in STEM-

As societies become wealthier and more gender equal, women are less likely to obtain degrees in STEM, according to new research. In more affluent countries where any choice of career feels relatively safe, women may feel able to make choices based on non-economic factors. Conversely, in countries with fewer economic opportunities, or where employment might be precarious, a well-paid and relatively secure STEM career can be more attractive to women.

The underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM fields occurs globally. Although women are currently well represented in life sciences, they continue to be underrepresented in inorganic sciences, such as computer science and physics.

Article #2 For women to worry about in STEM-
A separate 2017 article, by Ana Maria Munoz Boudet, a senior social scientist in the World Bank’s Poverty Global Practice - Worryingly, things are not getting better: The proportion of women receiving engineering or computer science degrees in the United States actually fell between 2004 and 2014, and the picture is similar around the world. In 2013, only four countries in Europe could claim to have at least 15 percent of all STEM graduates be female. And even when women manage to get a STEM degree they are less likely to work in that field. According to the latest U.S. census, only 1 in 7 women with a degree in STEM actually works in that area. This holds true for most countries.

Article #3 For western men & women (& the U.S.) to worry about in STEM-
From nextbigfuture.com -
The World Economic Forum reported that China had 4.7 million STEM graduates in 2016. India had 2.6 million, while the U.S. had 568,000.

Engineering, economics and science majors in China all enjoy high starting salaries and the top employment rates. These graduates fill the highest-paid entry positions in the most attractive employment sectors of IT, operations, real estate and finance.
China has been building the equivalent of almost one university per week. It is part of a silent revolution that is causing a huge shift in the composition of the world’s population of university graduates. For decades, the United States had the highest proportion of people going to university. They dominated the graduate market. Reflecting this former supremacy, among 55 to 64-year-olds, almost a third of all graduates in the world’s major economies are US citizens.

But even modest predictions see the number of 25 to 34-year-old graduates in China rising by 300% by 2030, compared with an increase of around 30% in Europe and the United States. By 2030, China and India could account for more than 60% of the STEM graduates in major economies, compared with only 8% in Europe and 4% in the United States.

Time's a-wastin'! 2030 college graduates are already 10 years old.


Ellen and I raised four daughters, and I encouraged them all to consider STEM careers and things were on track until they ran into the math department at Nevada Union, where they learned that girls are not good and math and should not consider engineering as a career choice. The real problem is the NU math teachers could not teach math, and they blamed the students for not learning. #1 studied anthropology and became a lawyer on the CA Leg Council is now studying blockchain technology so she can write effective legislation, let's hope she gets it right. #2 became a food scientist and developed the Starbucks Frappuccino and the cookies recipe on condensed milk cans for starters, girls are not creative you know. #3 became a world-class drug rep and now teaches physical therapy, the physics of the human body is quite complicated, and you know girls are not good at physics. #4 progressed from writer to graphic designer, user interface designer and now a software project leader. #4 was writing web pages before she got out of high school. In her freshman year at CalPoly, she was hired to teach professors how to develop their own class web pages, yet we had to hire a math tutor when she was in high school at NU. It was our experience that the bias against STEM Careers for young women, started long before they got to the college level. It began in grade school and was reinforced in high school by incompetent teachers.


I remember reading this a while ago and was not convinced but share for the discussion.

The Gender Gap in STEM is NOT What You Think

by Alex Tabarrok September 12, 2017 @ Marginal Revolution blog

In a new NBER working paper David Card and Abigail Payne have a stunning new explanation of the gender gap in STEM at universities. The conventional wisdom is that the gender gap is about women and the forces–discrimination, sexism, parenting, aptitudes, choices; take your pick–that make women less likely to study in STEM fields. Card and Payne are saying that the great bulk of the gap is actually about men and their problems. At least that is my interpretation of their results, the authors, to my mind, don’t clearly state just how much their results run against the conventional wisdom. (Have I misunderstood their paper? We shall see.)

The authors are using a large data set on Canadian high school students that includes data on grade 12 (level 4) high school classes and grades and initial university program. Using this data, the authors find that females are STEM ready:

…At the end of high school, females have nearly the same overall rate of STEM readiness as males, and slightly higher average grades in the prerequisite math and science courses. The mix of STEM related courses taken by men and women is different, however, with a higher concentration of women in biology and chemistry and a lower concentration in physics and calculus.

Since females are STEM-ready when leaving high school you are probably thinking that the gender gap must be a result either of different entry choices conditional on STEM-readiness or different attrition rates. No. Card and Payne say that entry rates and attrition rates are similar for males and females. So what explains why males are more likely to take a STEM degree than females?

The main driver of the gender gap is the fact that many more females (44%) than males (32%) enter university. Simply assuming that non‐STEM ready females had the same university entry rate as non‐STEM ready males would narrow the gender gap in the fraction of university entrants who are STEM ready from 14 percentage points to less than 2 percentage points.


On average, females have about the same average grades in UP (“University Preparation”, AT) math and sciences courses as males, but higher grades in English/French and other qualifying courses that count toward the top 6 scores that determine their university rankings. This comparative advantage explains a substantial share of the gender difference in the probability of pursing a STEM major, conditional on being STEM ready at the end of high school.
Put (too) simply the only men who are good enough to get into university are men who are good at STEM. Women are good enough to get into non-STEM and STEM fields. Thus, among university students, women dominate in the non-STEM fields and men survive in the STEM fields. (The former is mathematically certain while the latter is true only given current absolute numbers of male students. If fewer men went to college, women would dominate both fields). I don’t know whether this story will hold up but one attractive feature, as a theory, is that it is consistent with the worrying exit from the labor market of men at the bottom.

If we accept these results, the gender gap industry is focused on the wrong thing. The real gender gap is that men are having trouble competing everywhere except in STEM. [Emphass added]



A little poking around led me to Lisa Winter's LinkedIn page... the STEM champion Scott O. shouted out at 114pm has a BA in Art from UC Santa Cruz and has been playing with high tech small scale robotic tinkertoys.

She does not have a background in Science and Math. A technology tinkerer, not a shining star leading the way for women in math, science and real engineering. Toys.


Forbes: Here's the Real Reason There Are Not More Women in Technology

In the past, technology jobs were viewed by women as populated by men in basements, working alone, as an organ of the computer. Harvey Mudd’s President, Maria Klawe compiled her own research and offered a more substantive explanation, “We’ve done lots of research on why young women don’t choose tech careers and number one is they think it’s not interesting. Number two, they think they wouldn’t be good at it. Number three, they think they will be working with a number of people that they just wouldn’t feel comfortable or happy working alongside.”

The detailed article is here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/markfidelman/2012/06/05/heres-the-real-reason-there-are-not-more-women-in-technology/#1fd859e7b73e

Wrapping it all up
If you believe as I do that the lingua franca of the future is a fluency in technology, then there are many things we need to do to keep the top of the funnel full of people pursuing technical careers.

Because in a world where technology increasingly permeates everything we do, in nearly every profession – there is nothing more important than having both men and women pursue technology careers to ensure our competitiveness.


There is trouble in River City, Russ. Google 'Harvey Mudd College Wabash Report'.

There are limits to bringing more and more people into fast paced (think REAL HARD and LOTS OF WORK) high level science, math and engineering programs.


The push for more women in coding and other tech jobs is a result of social justice warrior analyses... there aren't many women taking the tech path so it must be due to the men not being nice enough. So we now have "Girls who code" clubs and classes (with no boys allowed) in the lower grades and a renewed push for women in math and computer science in college.

Perhaps someone here will defend having any group that excludes kids based on gender, meeting in public school facilities.


"Girls who code"

'round these parts, it appears to be more "Crones who clamor" in terms of sign totin' folks.

I suppose that the next logical push is for men to enter RN programs (91% female), occupational therapists (92% female), or elementary school teachers (80% female). I'll hold my breath on that one.

If I had to guess, a lot of this is based on the idea that programmers of various types make mad stacks of cash, purely from looking at Bay Aryan wages at famous companies. I believe that the average RN makes about the same as the average computer programmer, oddly enough.

Bill Tozer

Nurse with twenty years under her belt: 65 bucks an hour (two years ago). My nephew the nurse, less time, 45 bucks a hour...15 years ago. ICU nurse gets paid more.


RN's do make good money, and if you can master high school algebra (formerly 8th grade algebra) you probably have the requisite smarts. It it can be very hard work at times, physically speaking. Money is shoveled into hospitals by the system and RNs get their share.

It isn't anything that I'd want to do but I did date a couple of intensive care nurses in my younger (single) days. You have to get used to patients that don't get to walk out of there alive.


re: Harvey Mudd 'Wabash Report'

Quickly read through it, looked at summary more carefully, can't see what the fuss is all about.

You could certainly show whether students were less talented or more poorly prepared over time simply by looking at freshman test scores in common classes (I would think).

The more enjoyable reading was things like this:


Nice bucks for the RNs. That's good news for my oldest daughter.
She's tired of being a microbiologist.(for just 14 years) Now just a few credits away from her RN deg.


Try this one...

Part of the problem is a continuing weakening of K-12 preparation, and a telling portion of the Report was that they were getting entering students with perfect ACT math scores but did not pass Mudd's math placement exam, and students with AP Physics with high scores who couldn't apply the knowledge... meaning they were prepared to get a good score on the AP exam.

Students working their asses off and not doing well thought they were being told they were there because of loosened standards. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't.

Scott Obermuller

Robotics is not STEM. Got it.


Pretend robotics isn't serious science, math or engineering. It's tinkertoys. Look what I can make it do, mom!

Scott, how much math, science and engineering does it take to earn a BA in Art from UC Santa Cruz?


In terms of gender-specific schooling, it occurred to me that a person could take some sweet sweet grant money and start 'Men who nurse'. This being California, the result might be other than desired though.

The funny thing to me about Grrl Power programming is that it basically admits the veracity of the infamous, Hitler-like, James Damore Google memo. Go figure.

Scott Obermuller

George was looking at the fact that women were being told STEM couldn't be creative. She is just one example of a creative person working in a STEM field. I would suggest you check out all of her different areas of work.
In the late 1800s you could get some pretty fine degrees in math, science and engineering. 2 bicycle mechanics were the first to master powered flight. So - that wouldn't considered STEM?
I don't care what degree they have - I look at what they are doing with their life.
One of the things she does is to encourage kids to go into STEM fields. Beats the heck outa telling them to get a degree in Cultural Studies or some other useless field. Making things that operate for humans is way more important. Last time I looked, China makes a pretty good balance of trade with toys.

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