>The president of Harvard University has caused a stir among academics by >suggesting women have less "innate ability" at science and maths than men.
What I find more controversial is not the comments he made, but that he
expect the outcry against Harvard as an institution. As president, it was
of him to be so openly provocative, even if his intentions were good (to
the research and find solutions to address any disparity between the sexes).
university has suffered.
Other than that, it would be irresponsible to characterize any deficiency as
"Science and Math" rather than "spatial ability" or some other such aptitude
contributes to proficiency in science and math. Unfortunately, (or
there was no transcript, so we only have the heated quotes and Sumner's
statements about the incident. One would hope that he was getting at
more basic that women could be tutored on at a young age.
>Dr Summers said later that the shortage of senior female academics was >partly because of child-minding duties.
This is a funkier issue that may have a genetic origin, but is at bottom a
social issue, since it is academic society that requires such prolific
output of its members. And, believe me,
child-rearing is time-consuming...you have to make choices. An underlying
fear is having a
scientific basis for hiring a man over a woman, or denying tenure to a woman
because she might have children sometime in the future. I'd have to look at
Harvard's tenure figures compared
to university averages to judge them on that point.
So that leaves the question about whether men have a superior, innate
ability in the
design field. I postulate that design is equally social and visual and the
gender divisions in the design fields (decoration vs engineering) are