AEI's Sommers on the Why So Few? Women in Science Report

On Monday, March 22, 2010, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will release a report, Why So Few?: Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

  • The report was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)--but appears to be less science than political polemic.
        • The AAUW announced the report's findings before it had even begun the research. "Our report will sound the alarm," said AAUW executive director Linda D. Hallman in announcing the NSF grant two years ago.
        • The AAUW has been publicizing the report's findings in advance of releasing the report itself. We are told that Why So Few? has found "compelling evidence" and "in-depth research" that point to "environmental and social barriers--including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities--that continue to block women's participation and progress in science, technology, engineering, and math."
  • In fact there is a serious, robust scientific literature on why men predominate in some academic fields and women in others. The idea that women are being blocked from advancing in science, engineering, and mathematics by bias and stereotypes is only one of several explanations--and is the weakest explanation. For balanced presentations of the issues, see Christina Hoff Sommers, ed., The Science on Women in Science (AEI Press 2009), and Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams, The Mathematics of Sex (Oxford University Press 2009), or a Congressionally mandated 2010 study "Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering and Math Faculty."

AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers is available for interview on the issue of women in science and the AAUW report and can be contacted at csommers@aei.org (202.862.7180) or through her assistant Kimberly Hudson at kimberly.hudson@aei.org (202.862.5897). For additional media inquiries, please contact Veronique Rodman at vrodman@aei.org (202.862.4871) or Sara Huneke at sara.huneke@aei.org (202.862.4870).

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