What women want

The National Science Foundation spent $19 million a year to end gender discrimination that it was convinced was responsible for a disparity in the number of women and men in science and technology fields.

It might’ve been a premature conclusion according to Joshua Rosenbloom at the University of Kansas who studied, in particular, the information technology field and found that the primary reason there aren’t more women in the field is that women don’t want to be in it.

According to the Boston Globe story

Rosenbloom and his colleagues used a standard personality-inventory test to measure people’s preferences for different kinds of work. In general, Rosenbloom’s study found, men and women who enjoyed the explicit manipulation of tools or machines were more likely to choose IT careers – and it was mostly men who scored high in this area. Meanwhile, people who enjoyed working with others were less likely to choose IT careers. Women, on average, were more likely to score high in this arena.

Personal preference, Rosenbloom and his group concluded, was the single largest determinative factor in whether women went into IT. They calculated that preference accounted for about two-thirds of the gender imbalance in the field.

Susan Pinker, author of Men, Women, and the Real Gender Gap, says the assumption that women in sciences was a case of gender inequity, was a misdirected drive for equality, according to an interview she did recently with the Vancouver Sun.

“I think it was necessary at the beginning, equating equality to sameness,” she said. “Essentially all feminist writers say we want what they want, so we’ve got to be like them. The science tells us, no, we’re not like them … unless biology changes.”

Let’s think about this just a bit. Explain this: The future of social media is going to be all about women.

It’s the lead of an article in Business Week today:

Traditionally, men are the early adopters of new technologies. But when it comes to social media, women are at the forefront. At Rapleaf we conducted a study of 13.2 million people and how they’re using social media. While the trends indicate both sexes are using social media in huge numbers, our findings show that women far outpace the men.