girls and computers, was: Gendered Communication

Subject: girls and computers, was: Gendered Communication
From: Steve Owens <uso01 -at- EAGLE -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 1994 17:20:42 +0700

>> I'll make up some numbers off the top of my head to illustrate.
>> Let's say the likelihood to use computers among college students is
>> distributed thus:
>> PolySci Weenies 10%
>> Math Weenies 20%
>> Humanities Weenies 10%
>> Business Weenies 10%

> This is exactly the part at which I have problems. I dispute these
> numbers, made up though they be.

You can't dispute them. I made them up. Do you want to dispute
that I made them up?

> I want to know how the Math Weenies got to be 20%, and that's what
> you've never explained to me.

I didn't explain it because it's not relevant to the topic.
How is it? I will agree that it's QUITE possible that the disproportionate
number of male math types and male computer types are related to a common
fundamental cause. However, that's a discussion for another time and place.

>> Now, would you say that humanities weenies are *less* likely,
>> or that math weenies are *more* likely?

> I thought the original discussion was about math weenies vs. humanities
> weenies. That's what I was talking about. Without bringing in the rest

No, the original discussion was as I indicated below.
Somebody pointed out that math classes tend to be more male dominated
and postulated the possiblity that there are common factors leading to
the situation in the math and computer fields. You posted taking
disagreeing to this and this whole subtopic got started...

>> More to the point, the factors that result in this spread are
>> factors which affect the math weenies, (that computer science has its
>> roots in math), more than factors which affect the rest.

> But who cares where the roots are? All I care about is the here and
> now.

Egads, what a short-sighted point of view. Understanding the
roots helps us to understand the true cause, which helps us to address
the problem. Examining the common factors of correlations helps us to
find the true cause.

>> I quite agree, I'm simply explaining why math majors tend to
>> find out first :-)

> Math majors find out first because they are boys, and keep the
> girls from the computers. (That's as convincing to me as anything
> else you've said.)

Math majors *found* out first because in the generation we are
examining (which started through the educational process some 15-20
years ago, before they started putting computers in kindergarten
classes) math was a major influence on the infant computer-science
field. Equally, in that generation there were major incentives to
boys to be interested in math, and major disincentives to girls (and
mostly still are, alas). Don't assume causal relationship when you
see a correlation.

Steven J. Owens
uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com

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