18 January 2008

Limits to Matriarchy

Women are making gains in science, engineering, and virtually every area of higher education and the professions.
So what we are talking about, in all likelihood, is an America where women are better educated than men and where education matters more than ever. Put those facts together, and you get some implications worth pondering....Look for that gap to widen. A generation from now, the female lawyer with her male assistant will be the cliché. Look for women to outnumber men in many elite professions, and potentially in the political system that the professions feed.

Women's superior education will increase their earning power relative to men's, and on average they will be marrying down, educationally speaking....Many tradition-minded cultures in the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia already regard the Western economic and social model as emasculating. Radical Islam, in particular, abhors feminism. As the United States and Europe continue to feminize, will the anti-modern backlash, already deeply problematic in the Muslim world, intensify? As sex roles and expectations diverge, might hostility and misunderstanding mount between the West and the rest?

Women will...lead. Think about this: Not only do girls study harder and get better grades than boys; high school girls now take more math and science than do high school boys. If there is a "weaker sex," it isn't female. Reason
In a high technology society--dependent upon cutting edge scientific discovery and technological invention and innovation--females who wish to achieve the very highest levels in certain fields are at a distinct disadvantage. Not because of sexism, not because of marriage and child-rearing. Because of the female brain.
Female babies react more to facial expressions, males to moving objects. By adolescence these behaviors have morphed into girls' interest in social relationships, and boys' interest in machines and devices. Obviously, such divergence of interests influences career choices. Girls lean more toward fields like psychology, while similarly talented men incline toward engineering or physical science. A study6 by Lubinski and Benbow followed the careers of mathematically precocious youth from age 13 to 23. All were in the top 1% of mathematical ability. At age 23 less than 1% of the girls were pursuing doctorates in mathematics, engineering, or physical science, while almost 8% of the boys were. Equal aptitude not withstanding, girls pursued doctorates in biology at more than twice the rate of boys, and in the humanities at almost three times the rate of boys. For all these reasons, we should regard 29% as an upper bound to the percentage of women in the technological work force. La Griffe du Lion
IQ tests are specifically designed to achieve male-female equivalence in overall IQ scores. The sex differences are largely in specific areas of problem solving.
On average, men perform better than women at certain spatial tasks. In particular, men seem to have an advantage in tests that require the subject to imagine rotating an object or manipulating it in some other way. They also outperform women in mathematical reasoning tests and in navigating their way through a route. Further, men exhibit more accuracy in tests of target-directed motor skills--that is, in guiding or intercepting projectiles.

Women, on average, excel on tests that measure recall of words and on tests that challenge the person to find words that begin with a specific letter or fulfill some other constraint. They also tend to be better than men at rapidly identifying matching items and performing certain precision manual tasks, such as placing pegs in designated holes on a board. Kimura SciAm
The IQ curves above illustrate an even more important phenomenon--men are overrepresented at the extreme right extreme of the curve. Above 130, the ratio of males to females is 2:1. Male superiority increases as you move farther along the tail to the right. At the highest levels of math intelligence, the male advantage is 10:1 over females. That is why to this point, no women have won the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics.
The talent required to do mathematics at the level of a Fields Medalist is extraordinary. The pool of competitors spans the adult population of the world not yet turned 40 on January 1 of the year Medals are awarded -- approximately 2 billion. (Again, the precise number is not important.) On average, there are three Fields winners per award year, so that the ratio of competitors to slots, N /NS is approximately 7 x 108. From this we estimate the minimum mathematical ability of Fields Medalists to be an incredible 5.8 SD greater than the male population mean. Approximately 1.3 percent of the Medalists will be women. Since the prize is conferred quadrennially, we expect a female Fields Medalist to emerge approximately once every 103 years, that is, every 4/[3(0.013)] years. None has yet surfaced.
La Griffe

We have reached the place where women can impregnate other women, without the use of male sperm. Theoretically, a society of women, without men, is possible. Certainly women can perform in virtually any profession or occupation. But without men--without the male brain and brawn--could a female society compete against outside societies of males and females?

Male superiority at top levels of math-intensive fields of science, engineering, computer science, and other fields important to a competitive high tech society, suggests that although women are soon to out-graduate men by 3:2 in higher education, within small but important enclaves--at elite levels--men will continue to dominate. The discoveries, inventions, and innovations that a society without males would have to forego, would hamper their competition against outside societies.

Even in areas of near-equivalent intelligence and ability, the males' greater aggressiveness from higher testosterone levels, can lead him to persist longer and against higher odds. Male competitive drive can often be the deciding factor in a contest against other males, or against females.

Even in the age of robotic weaponry and long range energy weapons, a society needs large strong men to defend it against the outsider males who would like to kill all its men and possess all its women. A society made up of only women, would lack that aggression, competitiveness--that killer instinct--that more gender-balanced societies possess.

Males are being systematically disadvantaged in North American education from the earliest age. Males learn differently than females, but a female-dominated educational system is unable and unwilling to accomodate the males' different needs. Christina Hoff Sommers made that point in War Against Boys, but her message fell on the deaf ears of an increasingly feminist establishment that lacks even basic sympathies for the males in decline.

This is an ongoing saga, which is apt to grow a bit intense. Stay tuned.

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Blogger Bruce Hall said...

One commonly overlooked reason for the ascendancy of women is the change in the way children are educated.


Saturday, 19 January, 2008  
Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

There is more to a bell curve than the mean. Should we dissuade women who have ultra high math ability, for example, because women on average have lower stat scores? I agree that quotas and such are misguided - if larger numbers of women pursue biology than physics this is not necessarily something that requires redress. But people respond strongly to stereotypes and continuously telling girls that they can't hack it in math makes them less likely to do well in math. There are lots of women and minorities in math and science careers and given the need for people educated in those subjects we should avoid subtly steering women into directions that are more suitably representative of the female average.

Saturday, 19 January, 2008  
Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

That should have been "lower SAT scores" but it sort of makes sence either way.

Saturday, 19 January, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks for the link, Bruce. I tend to agree with you and your commenter.

I would not be too concerned about females being "steered", baron. Billions of dollars are being spent in both the public and private sector, to make sure that females are aware of every possible option.

Too bad similar levels of concern are not devoted to the futures of young males.

Young men learn differently than young women. Our schools are geared to the learning styles of young women. Young men lose out. Not a difficult concept to understand, but a feminised educational system is geared to other concerns.

Sunday, 20 January, 2008  
Blogger BLOG FAVES said...

Maybe "billions" are being spent in the United States and in Western Europe, but having worked recently as a substitute teacher, I see the same stereotypes at work as when I was an elementary and middle school student. I'm with Baron again on this one. Even the subtlest pursuasion directed at girls by counselors and teachers can have a "dumbing down" effect in the "hard" sciences.

But I agree with you in that boys are also steered toward various fields not just by gender stereotypes but also by economic and ethnic ones.

I think the biggest danger in all these studies and statistics about different facets of intelligence is giving more value (deeming as "smarter") those that are traditionally viewed as "male" attributes. I wonder what Marie Curie would have to say about this debate :)

Saturday, 16 February, 2008  

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