Gender Distributions in SF

David Dyer-Bennet dd-b at dd-b.net
Thu Jan 30 12:39:13 PST 2003

Randi128 at aol.com writes:

> on wed 1-29-2003 Mia wrote:
> >....the fact girls tend to do more poorly in math and science as they get 
> older.....
>        Do you have a source for this? I've never heard this before and it 
> would be interesting to see clinical evidence of decreasing mathematical 
> abilities in woman as a function of age. 

I've heard the observation of decreasing *scores* (which is what I
think "do more poorly" is referring to).  I've heard it enough that I
think it's a valid description of some population (possibly in the
past, at this point).  

The claim of any biological decrease in abilities in women as they age
is a rather different claim, and much more controversial.  I have
*not* heard this repeatedly from reasonably believable sources.

My personal model, which is tentative and not strongly based in
science, is that the capabilities are the same to within our ability
to measure (which is rather rough), but that the process of
socialization especially during early adolescence causes many women to
move away from an earlier interest in math.  I wouldn't be shocked to
be wrong in many directions from there (but would be a bit surprised
to find definitive work on inherent biological capabilities any time
soon, regardless of which way it pointed).
David Dyer-Bennet, dd-b at dd-b.net  /  http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/
 John Dyer-Bennet 1915-2002 Memorial Site http://john.dyer-bennet.net
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