Friday, March 31, 2006

The World Against Us

Was reading rather disturbing post at Alternet about girls bonding together to cope with the ultimate paradox: huge achievement coupled with very low self-confidence.

The article talks about girls in high school and college, and refers to a recent article in the NY Times by someone whose job it is to reject girls for college. Yes, that's right: there are too many qualified girls and not enough qualified boys applying. And they can only take so many students each year.

And here's where I want to vomit: having a female majority apparently makes a school undesirable, as colleges go.
So they're all struggling valiantly to make sure they don't have that!

I get it, teenagers (college-age) are hormone-driven, and everyone is shopping for Mr/Mrs. Future Spouse in college. And yes, diversity is good.

But. Something is seriously screwed up here. Isn't it our turn to be the majority???

I don't have a solution for the current problem, but my solution for the future is simple: USE BIRTH CONTROL. Clearly, these problems all stem from overpopulation, do they not?

In other news about overpopulation and where do we put all these talented people, someone brought this week's immigration uproar to my attention.

So here's the hypothesis:

The Bush administration wants a large nonvoting population. They always win elections when only 20% of the eligible voters actually go to the polls.

Having more illegal-but-guest immigrant workers is perfect for this, because they generate income, but aren't allowed to vote.

This has interesting implications, since most of middle America seems to believe that the majority of immigrant workers are uneducated avocado pickers in California. Au contraire, mes amis, what about all the immigrants who come here for the science? The last numbers I saw still showed the majority of postdocs in this country as non-American citizens.

Could it be working against the scientific community to have so many people here doing science but not caring or having the time to learn about our political system? Are we missing opportunities to educate and lobby Congress to fix all the problems with NIH and NASA because the majority of highly trained scientists are either

a) not from here, so don't know
b) not planning to stay, so don't care beyond what affects them immediately?

I've witnessed both the cluelessness and the unwillingness to plan ahead from postdocs in general, not just foreign postdocs. But if we're supposed to be the future of science in America, and the majority of us aren't Americans, why are we all doing it here?

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9 Comments:

At 4:37 PM, Blogger dlamming said...

Eep, what a terrible story on alternet.

But in terms of being the majority: in a society where most "good" jobs require a college education, you would assume that women in college would be a permanent majority, but more along the lines of 51 to 49%. Actually though, in a society where the prison population is overwhemlingly male, and the well-paying non-college jobs (plumbing, construction, etc) are predominatly male, one would expect the female majority in college to be even larger.

Enough rambling by me, though. How does birth control solve a problem with the college gender ratio?

 
At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you saying that the MAJORITY of immigrants (legal and illegal) are highly educated (education of BS+)? That seems ridiculous. Show me the statistics.

"This has interesting implications, since most of middle America seems to believe that the majority of immigrant workers are uneducated avocado pickers in California. Au contraire, mes amis, what about all the immigrants who come here for the science? The last numbers I saw still showed the majority of postdocs in this country as non-American citizens."

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger TW Andrews said...

Based on this post, it's hard to imagine you being a scientist...

 
At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

being a scientist and being an idiot aren't always mutually exclusive you know..

besides.. Ms. PhD has said stupid things before... let's just say karma is gonna take care of everything.

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger NeuroChick said...

"The Bush administration wants a large nonvoting population. They always win elections when only 20% of the eligible voters actually go to the polls.

Having more illegal-but-guest immigrant workers is perfect for this, because they generate income, but aren't allowed to vote. "

That's a complete non-sequitur. If, as you claim, the Bush adminstration wants only 20% voter turnout, that has nothing to do with how many illegal immigrants (who aren't eligible to vote in the first place) are in the country. The Bushies may like it because they're in the pocket of companies who need the labor, but it has nothing to do with voter turnout.

In terms of foreign postdocs being a problem, I don't think it has anything to do with the politics of science since the vast majority of lab heads are American, either by birth or by gaining citizenship later. Congress, NIH, NASA etc. are much more likely to listen to the opinion of a PI than a postdoc. The percentage of postdocs who are from other countries definitely affects postdoc benefits or life on the job, but not so much from the political funding angle.

In terms of the issue on girls in colleges, the answer is not birth control or overpopulation, but to properly prepare boys for college, which is not being done, especially in lower middle class or poor school districts.

I can understand co-ed colleges wanting to maintain a gender balance. If a college goes a few years with, say, 60-70% women and 30-40% men, eventually fewer women, and probably also fewer men, will be interested in that college. I say this as a graduate of a women's college, by the way. I loved going to a women's college and it was the best choice for me. But it's definitely not the best choice for all girls looking at colleges, the vast majority of whom would prefer to go to a college that has reasonable gender parity. It's not about women's "turn" to be the majority. Everyone who has the ability should be given the chance to go to college, whether they're male or female.

 
At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm...well obviously middle America is concerned with ILLEGAL immigrants here, don't ya think? My gosh, do you think middle America actually lumps immigrant scientists into that same category? Immigrant scientists who are perfectly LEGAL and here on visas, by the way? I don't understand your concern here. One has nothing to do with the other. Illegal immigrants ARE the damn avocado pickers in CA, and they ARE the tomato pickers in CA and FL, AND the strawberry pickers in FL, etc. Illegal and working damn hard by the way. We take alot for granted in this country. And your post proves that it is more than just middle America that needs to get a clue here....

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger GrrlScientist said...

what i find most amazing is that, despite there being MORE educated women than men out there now, those who are at the top of the heap, economically and politically, are overwhelmingly MEN. so simply being smart, hard-working, dedicated AND WELL-EDUCATED is not enough to get to the top, nor are these qualities enough to even to earn the SAME WAGE for the same experience in comparable/same jobs; you also must have a penis.

GrrlScientist

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hedwig the Owl said, "you also must have a penis."

You don't need a penis so much as you need BALLS.

 
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