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07 September 2011

Play Matters: STEM Motivations

I read this today on Inside Higher Ed, and I think it glosses over an important point. Here is the kicker:
The survey, which asked college students pursing STEM degrees...found that male and female students enter the fields for different reasons: females are more likely to want to make a difference, while males are more likely to say they’ve always enjoyed games, toys or clubs focused on the hard sciences. [my emphasis]
First of all, they call them "hard" sciences as if the "soft" social sciences are flaccid disciplines in need of academic Viagra--but I digress. This is evidence that early socialization really matters for outcomes, and since STEM careers tend to be more highly compensated, we should care about it being so gendered. Girls (not "females") end up choosing to go into science because they care about others, a classically feminine--and learned--trait, while boys (not "males") end up choosing to go into science because they grew up playing with games and toys, and the boys go into the sciences in far larger numbers than girls.

via SMBC via SocImages

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