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Women Underrepresented in Stem

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Yevgeniya Hountondji

PSY-112/ Spring 2017

Writing Assigment #2

1.

What are some of your thoughts about what the authors of the articles, as well as Sheryl Sandberg, discuss as some of the reasons women are underrepresented in math,science, and leadership roles in business?

In Sheryl Sandberg's TED Talk some of the reasons she discussed for why she thought women were underrepresented in math,science, and leadership roles in business included that women face harder choices between professional success and personal fulfillment, more top positions are being held by men than women, women not seeking to gain employment in top positions or not simply going after those positions, women dropping out of these areas, the battle that women face when choosing a career that interferes with their personal responsibilities such as a wife and mother, women not being confident in their abilities, women not negotiating their salaries, men attributing their success to themselves such as "being awesome" and women attributing their success to other external factors such as someone helping them, got lucky and working hard.  One of the most interesting and memorable thing I took away from her speech was the story she told of her experience when she was pitching a deal in New York and one of the men running the meeting did not even know where the women's bathroom was in the office. Moreover, when she asked him if he knew where the bathroom was he responded that maybe she was the only women to pitch a deal in the office in a year or the only women at the office who needed to use the bathroom.

In Alice Park's The Myth of the Math Gender Gap article some of the reasons she discussed for why she thought that women were underrepresented in math included the long-held belief that girls aren't as good at math as boys, girls not choosing to talk math courses and as a result not having had the opportunities to acquire the skills needed to do well in the subject, and that parents and teachers still believe the stereotype which that may pass down to the children, which in turn is one of the reasons to blame for the persistance of the stereotype. An example of this was in the experiment included in the 1st writing assignment titled Parent-Child Conversations About Science. During the experiment the kinds of messages and stereotypes I thought the parents were sending and passing on to their children illustrated the notion that has existed in society forever that science is not a subject that girls should be good at and/or interested in.

In Belinda Luscombe's Explaning the Complicated Women + Math Formula article some of the reasons she discussed for why she thought that women were underrepresented in math included that some people think it's discrimination, socialization, ability and female preferance and motherhood.

Are there some hypotheses you agree with, or disagree with?

Where do you think the gender gap in math, science and business may come from? What do you think might account for this gender gap?

In my opinion I think given Sheryl Sandberg and these authors hypotheses I would generally agree that they did a pretty good job trying to explain the gender gap in these specific fields. Additionally I agree with the a number of the reasons given in the textbook for this possible gender gap.

I think some of the reasons for why women are underrepresented in STEM and leadership in business include the media, the associated stereotypes that these are "traditionally masculine" fields, the notion that women should put domestic responsibilities such as household chores and motherhood as a higher priority as a posed to career, and the different occupations discriminations they face when it comes to employment. Moreover women are not only often faced with discrimination in hiring but more so discrimination and segregation after they are hired.

Additionally, as I was thinking about what my thoughts and opinions about why I thought women were underrepresented in these areas I thought it was a good idea to ask someone who is interested and pursuing a career in these areas. Moreover, my husband is currently majoring in Computer and Science Engineering at Rowan College at Gloucester County(RCGC). I asked him why he thought this was the case with women and interestingly without even having mentioned the ideas Sheryl, these authors, the textbook and those discussed in classroom discussions he spoke about those very same ideas. Such as that men tend to think of women as more the care taker which would mean they would be more interested and better taking care of household chores and children and seeking more helping and caring careers such as nursing and teaching, also that math and science are "tough subjects that are hard to understand in general let along for women", and the idea that when thinking about these areas typically you do not picture a woman fulfilling those positions. Additionally, I asked him more specifically about whether he had more gender specific professors and students in his courses. He told me that in the almost 2 years he has been a student at the college he has only had one female professor in the courses that are specifically related to engineering and that the majority of students have been largely male with the except of a "few" girls here and there. Also he mentioned that when it come to those girls they were viewed as something to admire because of the ways they looked instead of their abilities, he pointed out that he observed circumstances where there opinions were dismissed by both the professors and fellow male students.

2.

Do you think that the authors of these two different articles and Sheryl Sandberg agree with each other in the explanation for why women are underrepresented in fields of math, science, and business?

Where do you think they may agree or disagree?

Where do you think the authors of the articles and Sheryl Sandberg may fall on this debate?

I do not think that the authors of these two different articles and Sheryl Sandberg agree with each other in the explanation for why women are underrepresented in fields of math, science, and business.

In my opinion I think that Sheryl Sandberg's TED Talk tends to favor the similarities perspective (AKA social constructionism). Additionally I think her speech tends to favor the both the person-centered explanations (AKA individual approach) and situation-centered explanations (AKA structural approach).

In my opinion I think Alice Park's The Myth of the Math Gender Gap article tends to favor the differences perspective (AKA essentialism) and the similarities perspective (AKA social constructionism). Additionally I think this article tends to favor the both the person-centered explanations (AKA individual approach) and situation-centered explanations (AKA structural approach). However, I think this article leans more toward the person-centered explanations.

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