Gender and Math: Another Explanation

Prachi Pate writes on the ieee Spectrum blog that culture may be the culprit that results in a gender gap between men’s and women’s math scores. Psychologists Janet Hyde and Janet Mertz, from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, used data from math aptitude tests to show that among top math performers, the gender gap doesn’t exist in some ethnic groups and in some countries. The researchers conclude that culture is the main reason more men excel at the highest math levels in most countries.

”When parents are asked to estimate their child’s math talent, they estimate higher numbers for their sons than their daughters despite similar grades in school,” Hyde says. Teachers and guidance counselors share this bias, which is why math has served as a filter to keep young women out of science, technology, and engineering.

The full story is here.

Dean of Humanities?

Christine Daigle writes:

Brock University is looking for a Dean of Humanities, starting in July 2010. It would not hurt to have a feminist and a philosopher. I am pasting the profile below. Thanks for posting if you find this of interest.

Position Profile

The Opportunity
Brock University and its Faculty of Humanities seek an accomplished and energetic academic leader to build on the current momentum and success of the Faculty and to lead the Faculty to its next level of achievements.

The Position
As the chief academic and administrative officer of the Faculty, the Dean reports to the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and is responsible for the leadership and the management of the Faculty (including its budget, strategic planning, and external linkages), the administration of its academic programs and its academic development. He or she is an important member of Brock’s senior administrative team and is expected to contribute to the development of the University.

The Dean will provide visionary, academic and strategic leadership in all the Faculty’s many areas of activity.

As part of a proactive attempt to increase diversity in leadership roles, we are encouraging applications from all people who believe they would be good candidates. In particular, we are looking for people from the four designated under-represented groups (women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities). If you identify yourself as a member of the designated categories, please consider applying, as we will continue to accept applications until the position is filled….

All inquiries regarding this position will be treated in strict confidence and should be directed to Dr. Murray Knuttila, Provost and Vice-President Academic, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St Catharines, ON, L2S 3A1 or

Did women write anything important lately?

Leiter has a post up asking for the best/most important philosophy books and articles since 2000. What would one predict about responses, based on what we know about implicit bias? One would predict that the first things to pop into most people’s heads (male or female, feminist or not) would be books and articles by men. And of course that’s been overwhelmingly happening. But now’s our chance to make an intervention by adding some women’s work to the list. And by doing that, we may help to break down the implicit association between _important philosophical work_ and _men_. So let’s go do it!! (Thanks, ak!)

Thomas the Tank Sexist Says Study

According to University of Alberta political scientist Shauna Wilton, the children’s television show Thomas the Tank Engine pushes a conservative ideology and relegates female characters to the back of the train — literally. Wiltson started watching the show with her three-year-old daughter and was struck by how hierarchal the relations between characters were and by the role female characters played. “The gender roles were particularly interesting to me because I have a daughter who watches the show, and as the mother of a daughter, I want her to be watching shows with strong female characters in them. And female characters are pretty much confined to supporting roles in this show,” said Wilton. “Thomas has Annie and Clarabel. They chug along behind him and repeat what he says and cheer him on or express concern and worry if they don’t feel he’s doing the right thing.”

The full story on the cbc website is here.train