The Corner

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Women and STEM

Carol Greider, professor in the department of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and winner of a share of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Medicine, speaks during a news conference in Baltimore, Md., October 5, 2009. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

There’s an interesting new paper discussed here by Mark Perry at AEI about an international phenomenon called the “educational-gender-equality paradox — the greater the degree of gender equality among 67 countries studied . . . the lower the female share of STEM college graduates.”  As The Atlantic puts it, “In countries that empower women, they are less likely to choose math and science professions.” It’s about choice, then, not discrimination.

I don’t expect this to diminish the incessant politically correct demands for no gender imbalances in the STEM professions (or anywhere else, for that matter), and that if we have to have quotas to achieve this brave new world, then bring them on. This is nothing new, alas: I criticized that mindset in this very context years ago on NRO here. If we need more STEM graduates, it’s unlikely that this is a problem caused by discrimination or that it makes sense to focus on sex in trying to solve it.

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