WomenAndMathematics

# WomenAndMathematics - Women and Mathematics Jean E Taylor...

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Women and Mathematics Jean E. Taylor ΦΒΚ Visiting Scholar Courant Institute of Math Sciences, NYU math.rutgers.edu/~taylor

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Pop quiz (now, 20 & 40 yrs ago) 1. a. What percentage of bachelor’s degrees in math is now awarded to women (in U.S.)? b. Same for Ph.D. degrees? 2. In studies of “math talented youth” (e.g. at age 13, scoring over 700 on math SAT), what is the ratio of boys to girls? 3. What kinds of cognitive differences have been found by scientific studies? In particular, how different are spatial abilities? 4. What percentage of tenured positions at doctoral-degree-granting math departments (in American universities) is held by women?
Some faces of women in math Becca Thomases Cynthia Rudin (at NYU last year) A picture is worth a thousand words … but takes up 300 times the memory. Jean Steiner

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4 years of math in high school? 1998: sex differences in high school math participation (including calculus) had disappeared . (Still differences in “optional” courses like statistics, in 1990.) 1960: 33% of boys, 9% of girls Sells 1973 study of random sample of freshmen entering UC Berkeley: 57% of males, 8% of females. (Lots of publicity!) But 1972 large national study : 39% of males, 22% of females. (Little publicity!)
Percentage of bachelor’s degrees in math now going to women? Answer: About 50%. Earlier data: 1949-50: 24% of all BA degrees to women, 23% of BA degrees in math to women. 1976-77: 46% of BA degrees to women, 42% in math to women. Grades of women in similar math courses are at least as good as men’s. Big difference is in physics and engineering; often lumped with math. More on that later…

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But (NYTimes, 7/9/06),across all fields: “The idea that girls could be ahead is so shocking that they think it must be a crisis for boys,” Ms. Mead said. “I’m troubled by this tone of crisis. Even if you control for the field they’re in, boys right out of college make more money than girls, so at the end of the day, is it grades and honors that matter, or something else the boys may be doing?” Or something the hirers are doing? I’ll come back to that later.
Ph.D.’s in math to women? Now: about 30% 1968 (e.g.,by my count, from published names) : 6%.

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Alice Chang Ingrid Daubechies Tenured women in math at Princeton University (2 of 32)
NYAS symposium on The Nature and Nurture of Women in Science April 4,2005, from summary of talk of Richard Haier, UC Irvine: Bell curves of male and female IQ scores "essentially completely overlap," Haier said. This overlap can be found in bell-curve graphs of measures of many cognitive functions, including visual, spatial, and mathematical reasoning. "But the controversy," he said, "is why there are so many more men out there on the extreme than women.“…Test-score statistics, however, point to a considerable difference in the numbers per gender of extremely able people in math reasoning—people who fill the top ranks of scientists in certain fields. … Some studies have suggested that the ratio of males to females with extreme math-ability is 10 to 1. Though that number may not be completely accurate, Haier said, it suggests the scale of the difference.

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