Reddit points to what promises to be a controversial article about women’s preferences for work:
Now two new studies by economists and social scientists have reached a perhaps startling conclusion: An important part of the explanation for the gender gap, they are finding, are the preferences of women themselves. When it comes to certain math- and science-related jobs, substantial numbers of women – highly qualified for the work – stay out of those careers because they would simply rather do something else.
I’ve always felt that a goal of 50-50 splits in all workplaces seemed a little artificial. Men and women are different, and so each profession probably has a natural ratio of men to women. Some are going to be 75-25 in favour of women, and others are going to be 60-40 in favour of men.
Of course, we need to design a working world where women don’t face discrimination or inequity, regardless of what job they want. That’s tricky, and it’ll only get trickier if we start making assumptions about what women want.
There was another interesting point in the article, discussing how men and women tend to differ in achievement:
Women who are mathematically gifted are more likely than men to have strong verbal abilities as well; men who excel in math, by contrast, don’t do nearly as well in verbal skills. As a result, the career choices for math-precocious women are wider than for their male counterparts.
This is pretty anecdotal, but that was definitely true for my high school class. The smart boys were good at Math and the sciences, but usually not top of the class in English or Literature. The top-performing girls, conversely, seemed to be good at everything.