The Mathematics of Sex: How Biology and Society Conspire to Limit Talented Women and Girls

The Mathematics of Sex: How Biology and Society Conspire to Limit Talented Women and Girls

by Stephen J. Ceci, Wendy Williams
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195389395

ISBN-13: 9780195389395

Pub. Date: 09/01/2009

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Nearly half of all physicians and biologists are females, as are the majority of new psychologists, veterinarians, and dentists, suggesting that women have achieved equality with men in the workforce. But the ranks of professionals in math-intensive careers remain lopsidedly male; up to 93% of tenure-track academic positions in some of the most

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Overview

Nearly half of all physicians and biologists are females, as are the majority of new psychologists, veterinarians, and dentists, suggesting that women have achieved equality with men in the workforce. But the ranks of professionals in math-intensive careers remain lopsidedly male; up to 93% of tenure-track academic positions in some of the most mathematically-oriented fields are held by men. Three main explanations have been advanced to explain the dearth of women in math-intensive careers, and in The Mathematics of Sex , Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams describe and dissect the evidence for each. The first explanation involves innate ability—male brains are physiologically optimized to perform advanced mathematical and spatial operations; the second is that social and cultural biases inhibit females' training and success in mathematical fields; the third alleges that women are less interested in math-intensive careers than are men, preferring people-oriented pursuits. Drawing on research in endocrinology, economics, sociology, education, genetics, and psychology to arrive at their own unique, evidence-based conclusion, the authors argue that the problem is due to certain choices that women (but not men) are compelled to make in our society; that women tend not to favor math-intensive careers for certain reasons, and that sex differences in math and spatial ability cannot adequately explain the scarcity of women in these fields. The Mathematics of Sex represents the first time such a thorough synthesis of data has been carried out to solve the puzzle of women's underrepresentation in math-intensive careers. The result is a readable, engaging account suitable not only for academics in an array of disciplines, but for general readers as well—including educators, science policymakers, parents of daughters, and anyone intellectually curious about a key controversy of our time.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195389395
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Preface: Setting the Stage

Introduction Why care about women in science? 3

Ch. 1 A multidimensional problem 16

Ch. 2 Opening arguments: Environment 28

Ch. 3 Opening arguments: Biology 58

Ch. 4 Challenges to the environmental position 79

Ch. 5 Challenges to the biological position 114

Ch. 6 Background and trend data 146

Ch. 7 Comparisons across societies, cultures, and developmental stages 161

Ch. 8 Conclusions and synthesis 179

Ch. 9 What next? Research and policy recommendations 197

Epilogue 219

Notes 223

About the authors 237

References 241

Index 261

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