RE: Could this be true?

20 Jan 2005 - 12:02am
9 years ago
6 replies
421 reads
Noreen Whysel
2004

>The president of Harvard University has caused a stir among academics by
>suggesting women have less "innate ability" at science and maths than men.

What I find more controversial is not the comments he made, but that he
didn't
expect the outcry against Harvard as an institution. As president, it was
irresponsible
of him to be so openly provocative, even if his intentions were good (to
confirm
the research and find solutions to address any disparity between the sexes).
His
university has suffered.

Other than that, it would be irresponsible to characterize any deficiency as
"Science and Math" rather than "spatial ability" or some other such aptitude
that
contributes to proficiency in science and math. Unfortunately, (or
fortunately)
there was no transcript, so we only have the heated quotes and Sumner's
official
statements about the incident. One would hope that he was getting at
something
more basic that women could be tutored on at a young age.

>Dr Summers said later that the shortage of senior female academics was
>partly because of child-minding duties.

This is a funkier issue that may have a genetic origin, but is at bottom a
social issue, since it is academic society that requires such prolific
output of its members. And, believe me,
child-rearing is time-consuming...you have to make choices. An underlying
fear is having a
scientific basis for hiring a man over a woman, or denying tenure to a woman
because she might have children sometime in the future. I'd have to look at
Harvard's tenure figures compared
to university averages to judge them on that point.

So that leaves the question about whether men have a superior, innate
ability in the
design field. I postulate that design is equally social and visual and the
stereotypical
gender divisions in the design fields (decoration vs engineering) are
socially imparted.

Noreen Whysel
IA/Designer
New York, NY, USA

Comments

20 Jan 2005 - 3:04am
Listera
2004

Noreen Whysel:

> I postulate that design is equally social and visual and the stereotypical
> gender divisions in the design fields (decoration vs engineering) are socially
> imparted.

That was too easy. :-)

If you were the owner of a small design shop and had to hire a new designer
under a 5- year plan expansion plan and you had a choice among three equally
talented and competent designers: a young single male, a newly married woman
of child bearing age and a single woman with a very young child. Who gets
hired?

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

20 Jan 2005 - 7:26am
Dave Malouf
2005

On Jan 20, 2005, at 3:04 AM, Listera wrote:

> Noreen Whysel:
>
>> I postulate that design is equally social and visual and the
>> stereotypical
>> gender divisions in the design fields (decoration vs engineering) are
>> socially
>> imparted.
>
> That was too easy. :-)
>
> If you were the owner of a small design shop and had to hire a new
> designer
> under a 5- year plan expansion plan and you had a choice among three
> equally
> talented and competent designers: a young single male, a newly married
> woman
> of child bearing age and a single woman with a very young child. Who
> gets
> hired?

I don't think that was too easy at all ... but I see where you are
going.
1. there are other issues in hiring in between skill/talent &
longevity, such as cultural mix, ability to present their work, ability
to lead and facilitate, etc.

In general I think it ridiculous to ask people to say how they will or
will not prejudice their decisions. the human mind is an amazing thing
and we rationalize our bad and unethical decisions all the time. This
would be one of those decisions that is just between you and your all
knowing maker of choice.

-- dave

20 Jan 2005 - 9:55am
Donna Fritzsche
2005

At 12:02 AM -0500 1/20/05, Noreen Whysel wrote:
>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>>The president of Harvard University has caused a stir among academics by
>>suggesting women have less "innate ability" at science and maths than men.
>
>What I find more controversial is not the comments he made, but that he didn't
>expect the outcry against Harvard as an institution. As president,
>it was irresponsible
>of him to be so openly provocative, even if his intentions were good
>(to confirm
>the research and find solutions to address any disparity between the
>sexes). His
>university has suffered.

I fully agree that he was very short sighted on a number of matters.
Additionally he mentioned one research study that showed that high
school boys did better in math, and neglected to mention studies that
show that grade school girls do better in math.

> I'd have to look at Harvard's tenure figures compared
>to university averages to judge them on that point.

Harvard's track record on hiring women to tenure positions (I think
in math and science specifically) has been criticized for being below
the average.

Donna

20 Jan 2005 - 1:24pm
Listera
2004

David Heller:

> In general I think it ridiculous to ask people to say how they will or
> will not prejudice their decisions. the human mind is an amazing thing
> and we rationalize our bad and unethical decisions all the time.

Precisely. It *is* a fact that women give birth and take care of children.
We can ignore it, pretend it's not a problem in corporate life, or, deal
with it as a society and (re)organize our lives and workplaces around that
fact. Since we haven't done the latter, this subject lingers on as a taboo.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

20 Jan 2005 - 2:35pm
Wendy Fischer
2004

Unfortunately, I think it says a lot about how social preconceptions of gender identity force stereotypes onto men and women in this day and age.

Women = baby maker & housewife
Men = Hunter & provider

If anything, I think it makes a case for corporate America to provide flexible schedules, telecommuting and provide access to daycare for parents of both sexes. Particularly in the technology sector in general, we spend too much time at work and not enough time with our family.

-Wendy

Listera <listera at rcn.com> wrote:
[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

David Heller:

> In general I think it ridiculous to ask people to say how they will or
> will not prejudice their decisions. the human mind is an amazing thing
> and we rationalize our bad and unethical decisions all the time.

Precisely. It *is* a fact that women give birth and take care of children.
We can ignore it, pretend it's not a problem in corporate life, or, deal
with it as a society and (re)organize our lives and workplaces around that
fact. Since we haven't done the latter, this subject lingers on as a taboo.

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

_______________________________________________
Interaction Design Discussion List
discuss at ixdg.org
--
to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest): http://discuss.ixdg.org/
--
Questions: lists at ixdg.org
--
Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements already)
http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
--
http://ixdg.org/

20 Jan 2005 - 5:19pm
Alain D. M. G. ...
2003

--- Listera <listera at rcn.com> a écrit :

It may be ignored in some place in the United States (I know it is not
ignored at SAS, where they have a corporate day care center and other
accomodations) but it is not ignored in those "remote" cities (Oslo,
Copenhagen, Stockholm) where I went hunting for local language versions
of Asterix et Obelix (and other BDs) and at my "day job" there is
parental leave for traditional couples as well as same sex couples so
that the partner can be at home when the mother is recuperating from
child birth and there is a tiny baby to be taken care of. In other
Canadian workplaces where these conditions do not already exist the
subject is far from taboo: Local and national unions and a multitude
of pressure groups see to it that the matter is constantly put back in
the spotlight.

Alain Vailancourt

> Precisely. It *is* a fact that women give birth and take care of
> children.
> We can ignore it, pretend it's not a problem in corporate life, or,
> deal
> with it as a society and (re)organize our lives and workplaces around
> that
> fact. Since we haven't done the latter, this subject lingers on as a
> taboo.
>
> Ziya
> Nullius in Verba

__________________________________________________________
Lèche-vitrine ou lèche-écran ?
magasinage.yahoo.ca

Syndicate content Get the feed