Phi Beta Cons

Is ‘Gender Imbalance’ in Science a Problem?

Probably the most common misuse of statistics is to argue that because only X percent of the people in field Y have characteristic Z, that shows that we have a problem calling for central planners to make the percentage “fair” or “right.”

In today’s Pope Center piece, Jay Schalin tackles one of the more common examples of that phenomenon — the argument that we need more gender balance in the sciences. Wouldn’t we get better results in science if society had more women earning STEM degrees and going into science? Jay strongly attacks that idea.

Those who would replace the spontaneous order of the free society with their own notions of what is optimal never run out of reasons for claiming that if only they had their way, things would get better. They invariably overlook the fact that their meddling will have unintended consequences.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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