Friday, March 30, 2012

STEM, Sexism, and Asian Women

Women and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics - a term describing technical fields) has always been a hot topic among feminists. Despite a large amount of effort, including female-only scholarships, female admission preferences, hiring preferences, and endless propaganda campaigns, women are still drastically under-represented in STEM fields. Feminists have spilled a lot of ink over why this is, usually coming up with convoluted "sexism" and "patriarchal culture" explanations.

I'm afraid the real explanation is much simpler, based on what I've seen. Few women have the mindset necessary to excel in a highly technical field. It requires looking at the world a certain way - shall we say, a somewhat detached, analytical, unemotional way - that is just not natural to most women. They hate it, and it's not the way they think. This is the primary reason why they gravitate away from STEM.

I know some women in STEM fields who are very good at what they do. Almost universally, however, their mindset is qualitatively different from that of the typical woman. The women I see in very technical STEM sub-fields like engineering and physics are also heavily Asian. You see few white women there, and I doubt it's because of sexism. Immigrant Asian women are marrying white men in droves, in part because they see white men as less sexist than (culturally) Asian men. If sexism is what's keeping women away from STEM, why are most of the women in STEM Asian? This whole "women and STEM" topic just seems like another thing to club innocent white men over the head with.

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