Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 11 2010

The Genius Gap

You should probably read this article. It basically says, with a straight face and all the legitimacy of the New York Times, that men are better at math and science than women.

The reason he has the nerve to say this is that he admits first that average math and science scores are similar between genders, which is what we normally look at when we compare gender performance. Yet men, he claims, have a much wider range, making them more likely to score both lowest and highest. If you look at our very very best and brightest math and science students, there will be more men than women in that group. If you need a math or science genius, look for a man.

But before we decide that this justifies having exclusively male tenured physicists at Harvard, I want an explanation on one thing. The author discusses how the male-female genius gap decreased dramatically in the 1980s (from 13:1 to 4:1) as new programs were introduced to encourage girls in math and science. Yet for some reason, this doesn’t make him stop and consider that maybe the gap is socially created. The ratio has stayed the same for the last twenty years, so he assumes that it will always be like that. I hate to break it to him, but the gap was much larger for centuries, and then we shrank it. Why does twenty years mean permanence? (He says the programs are still in place. I say maybe we need better ones.) We also have gaps between rich and poor people, or between white and black people, and this doesn’t make anyone write NYT articles about how rich white people are simply better at learning. We know those gaps are socially created, so why does the male-female one have to simply be a fact of life?

3 Responses

  1. What an idiot.

    What about the reasons as to why men got into those advanced classes — because they are told from a young age that they’ll be good at math and science, because they are encouraged to speak up more in class, etc.

  2. it was very interesting to read
    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  3. I would like to exchange links with your site
    Is this possible?

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