In your junior high science classes, how many female scientific pioneers were in your textbook? I doubt more that there were more than a handful. In freshmen geometry class, did you learn about any famous female mathematicians? Probably not. I did not know about Sally Ride until I graduated from high school and even today, I could not tell you about any legendary female mathematicians. Pioneering women have been historically absent from all school subjects, not just science and mathematics, since the dawn of the schoolhouse.STEM

Even these days, when more women are going to college than men in this country, there is still a lack of women entering science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career fields. The reasons for the interest gap are complicated, according to Christi Corbett, senior researcher for for the American Association of University of Women.

“The direction of scientific inquiry is influenced by the people doing the work,” Corbett told me over the phone. Women comprise of about only 20% of the bachelor’s degrees in STEM-related fields. One can concur that women must then only make about 20% of the decisions in, say, scientific research.

Corbett helped compile Why So Few?—a comprehensive report that tries to solve why so few women are entering STEM fields.

Read More

Friends – Here’s a very timely program starring some of my great friends and colleagues who’ll set the record straight about women, work, and family–who’s opting out or not, who’s staying in and why, and what the media has got right and wrong.

    WORKING MOTHERS: WHO’S OPTING OUT?
    Tuesday, October 16, 7 p.m., $8 admission
    The New School, New York City
    Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor (enter at 66 West 12th Street)

You’ve read the articles–and gotten angry at the debate. Are vast numbers of working mothers bolting the career track–or dreaming of doing so? Are elite women betraying feminism by staying home with their children? Or do the Opt-Out stories rely too heavily on anecdotal evidence–while shoving aside actual labor statistics and working families’ needs?

Read More