A link from a comment I received today
A commenter wrote to ask why I don't discuss this old post, instead of all these ridiculous sexism theories.
So, I (re-)read the post in question. I think the author is an asshole, though a deceptively thoughtful one. I think in many ways his commentary on science in general is exactly right (nobody ever said all assholes are idiots).
However, regarding why there are fewer women, and why sexism is still a major problem, he is missing the point.
Is sexism just another facet of the abuse heaped on junior scientists? Is it just another way of abusing idealists, and if we are minorities they insult our race, and if we are women they call us bitches, and if we speak up for ourselves we are pessimists? Are they just pushing our buttons?
Or is it a larger cultural problem we unfairly have to shoulder ON TOP OF all the existing problems in the academic science hierarchical mess?
Didn't we choose science in part because it was supposed to be different from all the other career trajectories where you're taught to expect sexual harassment, where you're expected to sleep your way to the top?
Don't we have as much right as stupid little boys do, to pursue research if that's what we want?
Or are we supposed to know better, the way little girls are not allowed to play in the dirt but boys are? Because we're supposed to be in training to wear frilly dresses and soon enough we'll have to be somebody's responsible mommy? Women are supposed to care only about money and security, is that it?
Would we be stupid masochists for saying but we wanted to do science anyway, despite all the bullshit?
But do we have any less right to it than men? Really? Since when does being a woman take away my right to choose?
Oh, well, yeah, there's that whole crazy thing about it being my body. But I really did think my choice of career would be my own.
Have at it, Dr. (and soon-to-be-Dr.) Chickadees!