Why aren’t more women pursuing careers in science, engineering, and math? Is the lack of women in these fields a consequence of societal discouragements, innate differences in ability between the sexes, or differences in aspirations? These questions always spark a host of other questions—and a multiplicity of answers—all of which have important implications for gender equality and for retaining the nation’s competitiveness in the technological marketplace.
The most reliable and current knowledge about women’s participation in science is presented in this collection of fifteen essays written by top researchers on gender differences in ability. The essayists were chosen to reflect the diversity and complexity of views on the topic, about which knowledge has been accumulating and evolving for decades. The editors provide an introduction that defines the key issues and embeds them in historical context and a conclusion that synthesizes and integrates the disparate views. Written accessibly to appeal to students and non-specialists as well as psychologists and other social scientists, the contributors reframe this key controversy and challenge readers’ emotional and political biases through solid empirical science.
Taken together, the introduction, essays, and conclusion make a convincing case that sex differences are neither as unambiguous as earlier researchers suggested nor as insubstantial as some current critics claim. Sex differences in career choices are definitely not inevitable, as the past thirty years have documented both a sea change in the gender makeup of various fields and fluctuations in ability-score differences between the sexes. However, as the essays make clear, such changes leave open the possibility of cultural and biological bases for today’s sex differences in science, engineering, and math participation.
Section I: Setting the Stage
Wendy M. Williams & Stephen J. Ceci
Striving for Perspective in the Debate on Women in Science
Section II: Essays
Chapter 1 Women in Science--and Elsewhere
Chapter 2 “Under-representation” or Misrepresentation?
Chapter 3 Is Math a Gift? Beliefs That Put Females at Risk
Carol S. Dweck
Chapter 4 Sex, Math, and Science
Elizabeth S. Spelke & Ariel D. Grace
Chapter 5 Taking Science Seriously: Straight Thinking About Spatial Sex Differences
Nora S. Newcombe
Chapter 6 Sex Differences in Personal Attributes for the Development of Scientific Expertise
David S. Lubinski & Camilla Benbow
Chapter 7 Can Science Include Women: To What Extent Can Sex Differences In Cognition Account For The Dearth Of Women In Science?
Chapter 8 Brains, Bias, and Biology: Follow the Data
Richard J. Haier
Chapter 9 Science, Sex, and Good Sense: Why Women are Underrepresented in Some Areas of Science and Math
Diane F. Halpern
Chapter 10 Women in Science: Gender Similarities in Abilities and Sociocultural Forces
Janet Shibley Hyde
Chapter 11 The Seeds of Career Choices: Prenatal Sex Hormone Effects on Psychological Sex Differences
Sheri Berenbaum and Susan Resnick
Chapter 12 Sex Differences In Mind: Keeping Science Distinct From Social Policy Simon Baron-Cohen
Chapter 13 An Evolutionary Perspective on Sex Differences in Mathematics and the Sciences David C. Geary
Chapter 14 Neural Substrates for Sex Differences in Cognition
Ruben C. Gur and Raquel E. Gur
Chapter 15 Where Are All the Women?
Section III: Are We Moving Closer And Closer Apart? Resolving Conflicting Views On Women In Science
Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams
Questions for Discussion and Reflection