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MIT Names First Female President 540

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the whoa-oh-oh-she's-a-lady dept.
wintermute1000 writes "According to CNN, MIT has just named its first female president. Along with other recent programs' efforts to get more women involved in the MIT community, is this a step in the right direction for the historically gender-biased institution?"
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MIT Names First Female President

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  • Big deal... (Score:5, Funny)

    by avalys (221114) * on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:46AM (#10086769)
    When MIT announces the first robot president, I'll be listening.
    • When MIT announces the first robot president, I'll be listening.

      Yeah, but you put your brain in a robot body? You'd have the strength of FIVE GORILLAS!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:48AM (#10086778)
    Who cares? It's those who shout for equality who seem to be the first to highlight irrelevant differences; and such people are the first defence used by the prejudiced to block those with true potential.
    • by zaxios (776027) <zaxios@gmail.com> on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:09AM (#10086864) Journal
      "The present is a product of the past." Male/female/black/white have not traditionally been treated equally, and the current employment landscape still reflects its history. That can't just be ignored in the idealistic minority's hurry to move on. We can dream of true equality without regulation, but for the moment this [bbc.co.uk] and and this [bbc.co.uk] need practical solutions.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:12AM (#10086887)
        So the solution to discrimination is more discrimination?

        No, the solution to discrimination is the elimination of discrimination in every realm. The silly notion that we can somehow right the wrongs by giving those groups discriminated in the past preference over those who were not is just as wrong.
        • wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

          by HBI (604924) <kparadine&gmail,com> on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:24AM (#10086950) Homepage Journal
          Discrimination has no solution. Look at the two alternatives:
          1. Ignore the discrimination and trust to human nature: well, human nature doesn't have an exemplary history of ensuring nondiscrimination. Gender based roles (and racial/appearance based roles) are tightly integrated with just about every society whether animal or human, and a certain portion of the population (the 'followers') will feel constrained by these roles despite their fitness to take on others, absent gender/racial or appearance based stigma.
          2. Have a whole host of rules and regulations to make sure society and employment are nondiscriminatory. This causes stigma for the beneficiaries of said regulation, with the perception (if not reality) that they are unqualified for the positions granted them by the regulation. Moreover, it also encourages corruption, whereby those of means are able to avoid the regulations. The net effect is that no one is happy - not the wronged groups, and not the traditional advantaged groups. Ultimately this will cause more discrimination as a result, solving nothing.

          The belief of the 1960s progenitors of US affirmative action programs (most notably the late Sen. Moynihan) was that a period of #2 would permit #1 to succeed. I believe the last 40 years have proven him rather misguided. I don't know what the solution is - and I doubt there is one - but enforced discrimination isn't it.
          • Education (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:42AM (#10087058)
            You left out

            3: Provide a sound education that encourages wisdom, ethics, and responsibility.

            Naturally, if you continue thinking in the same old box, you'll have the same old problems.
            • hasn't been tried (Score:3, Insightful)

              by HBI (604924)
              I wish it had, but all the multicultural horseshit in schoolbooks nowadays doesn't attack the issues. Wisdom, ethics, responsibility - these things have no place in education because they smack of morality, which is forbidden to be taught as an adjunct of religion.

              I'm almost entirely atheist (a lapsed Catholic) but these values have a place, religion or no. How many decades will it be before someone sits down and tries this?
              • Wisdom, ethics, responsibility

                Trouble is that one person's wisdom is another person's stupidity, one person's ethics is another's "inhibitions preventing success", one person's responsibility is another person's "dangerous altruism" (Ann Ryand) etc. In a homogenic, single-religion, single-culture society, these are easy to fix by teaching kids the prevailing values of that society. In a big (and increasing) mess of cultures and viewpoints, its next to impossible without a wrath of some offended zealot cli

                • Re:hasn't been tried (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by radarsat1 (786772)
                  And that's why School, as it is structured today, is no longer applicable to the way the real world is structured. The idea of sticking thousands of kids with different backgrounds and different opinions and viewpoints and ethics into one building and teaching them the exact same way is becoming more and more obsolete. Education begins at home.
                  • Education begins at home

                    If it were only so easy. Unfortunately that leads to deepening of clique divisions and fracturing of the society along ever increasing gaps between various religious/ethnic sects. Parents pass on all their superstitions, ignorance, paranoia and hatreds of other groups onto their kids in full force, not tempered by attempts at unification of the society by (however incompetent) public school system. Home schooling or private schools along religious/racial/ethnic/economic divisions ar

          • Left out option 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by theLOUDroom (556455) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:54AM (#10087153)
            Discrimination has no solution. Look at the two alternatives:

            You left out option 3:
            Don't trust human nature by itself, make some laws to make discrimination illegal, WITHOUT actually enforcing another type of discrimination.

            Look at the college application process. It should be illegal to ask about your gender or race on an application.

            Fixing discrimination with discrimination is retarded, but making discrimination ilegal is not.
            • enforcement (Score:3, Insightful)

              by HBI (604924)
              How do you enforce this? With EEOCs? Jail time? Bullet to the head?

              If you ignore it, it's the functional equivalent of #1 in the grandparent.

              If you enforce it, it's the functional equivalent of #2 in the grandparent.

              In other words, no solution at all.
              • huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by TamMan2000 (578899) on Friday August 27, 2004 @09:35AM (#10088205) Journal
                If you enforce it, it's the functional equivalent of #2 in the grandparent.

                How is "Make it illegal to have a 'race' field on college applicaitons" equivilant to "require X% of admissions to be Y", or "being Z earns you W more points towards admissions"?

                The point is you can't discriminate based on race if you are unaware of someones race. It is not practical for any process containing an interview, but for a paper process (like most college addmisions) it is bullet proof.
              • Re:enforcement (Score:4, Insightful)

                by theLOUDroom (556455) on Friday August 27, 2004 @10:40AM (#10088855)
                How do you enforce this? With EEOCs? Jail time? Bullet to the head?

                The same we enforce all the other laws that relate to how a company operates. Duh.

                If you ignore it, it's the functional equivalent of #1 in the grandparent.

                Obviously you won't ignore it.

                If you enforce it, it's the functional equivalent of #2 in the grandparent.

                No more that using the police to catch murders is still "relying on human nature".

                In other words, no solution at all.

                Actually, it's a quite reasonable solution, you're just coming up with issues that are non-issues, and only by making ridiculous assumptions like:
                "Okay, so we pass this law, but what if we don't enforce it?"

            • define "race" (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Colonel Cholling (715787) on Friday August 27, 2004 @09:24AM (#10088091)
              Look at the college application process. It should be illegal to ask about your gender or race on an application.

              There's another option here, and I'm waiting to see someone use it. The very concept of "race" is unscientific: not only are there no medical tests which can determine to which race someone belongs (since what we call different races are not hard-and-fast genetic differences, but rather vague clusters of certain traits to which we give names like "black" or "Asian"), but, at least in America, there are no strict legal definitions for race. The only proof an institution has that a given individual is a member of a certain race is that person's word. So the answer is to list your race as whatever you think the institution's acceptance policy is biased toward. If they accuse you of falsifying your race in order to thwart affirmative action, simply ask them to prove that you are not, in fact, of the race you claim to be. This is, of course, impossible. Maybe if there were enough court cases about this it would finally pave the way to ending the legal fiction of race.

              Biological sex, of course, is another issue, since there are scientific and legal definitions thereof. However, with intersexed and transgendered individuals making it more interesting, one's gender identity and biological sex may not always coincide neatly.
          • Re:wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

            by s.fontinalis (580601) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:56AM (#10087184)
            "rather misguided"? So it's still socially acceptable to mock blacks, women and other minorities, and denigrate them in public? The income levels for these minorities haven't risen? Things aren't perfect now, but much progress has been made in the last 40 years.
            • Re:wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

              by HBI (604924) <kparadine&gmail,com> on Friday August 27, 2004 @08:11AM (#10087319) Homepage Journal
              You haven't walked the streets much apparently if you think progress has been made. While a black middle class has arisen, there are still just as many trapped in slums as before, and the racial stigma has not lifted. The problems have changed: it's no longer alcohol but rather other kinds of drugs that serve as the symptom. These are the followers: they are left behind.

              In the business world, glass ceilings still exist for women. It isn't as apparent, but it's there. Moreover, I can count (but I consider it shocking) how many times i've been directed to 'find a woman' for a job because our ratios are horrible. Invariably, this is a low level job, and invariably, management doesn't give the women quite the same chance that the men have to bond with them.

              In terms of mocking minorities, I am not going to repost something, but read my JE [slashdot.org] of a few months ago, happening right in suburban NJ. Then tell me things are better.

              • Re:wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Betelgeuse (35904) on Friday August 27, 2004 @08:28AM (#10087481) Homepage
                You haven't walked the streets much apparently if you think progress has been made.

                Are you kidding me?!? You honestly think that progress has not been made in the past 40 years of race/sex relations? The grandparent didn't say that all of the problems had been solved (and I would be the first to disagree there), but that progress had been made. I would say that the 24th Amendment (abolishing the poll tax) was progress. I'd say that allowing interracial marriage is progress. I'm ceratainly not saying that all of the problems have been solved, but there certainly has been progress.
        • A counterpoint (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Geoff-with-a-G (762688) on Friday August 27, 2004 @10:25AM (#10088718)
          I'm putting forth this argument, because I don't see it anywhere else in these comments. There seem to be about 15 "5 - Insightful" comments all saying the same thing, and while I mostly agree with them, I don't like one sided arguments that paint things as simpler than they really are.

          The prevailing mindset here seems to be: "Encouraging diversity by lending extra weight to minority candidates is actually discrimination against non-minority candidates, and therefore is bad"

          That's not an unreasonable way to look at it, but there's an inteligent other side which isn't saying "discrimination against white males is okay", as the strawman posts here state. The intelligent other side of this argument goes like this:

          1. There are prejudiced people out there, people who discriminate against various minorities. If you honestly don't believe this, then you don't get out enough.

          2. This prejudice almost always comes from ignorance. By very definition, prejudice means you don't have detailed knowledge of the subject. Most people who interact on a daily basis with multiple people who are [pick a minority] tend to lose their prejudices.

          Imagine you have a small firm of some kind, made up entirely of white men who are genuinely prejudiced. They truly believe that black people and women are poor workers. As a result, they are unlikely to ever hire anyone black or female, and are likely to go on believing in their current prejudices. On the other hand, if they were forced to hire black people and women, there's a decent chance (not 100%, but probably more than 20%) that over time the exposure would cause their prejudices to erode, and that they'd begin hiring genuinely qualified members of various minorities of their own volition.

          That's basically the thinking behind the affirmative action, quotas, and reverse-discrimination. It's not that "white men are bad and should be punished", or that "we owe minorities for past wrongs, and should make it up to them now". It's that the best way to get rid of existing prejudice is to expose to diverse groups of people, which is something they won't do if left to their own devices.

          Personally, I'm not convinced that the good accomplished by this approach is worth the cost, but I at least acknowledge that the other side of the argument means well and has a reasonable point.

    • by PatrickThomson (712694) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:20AM (#10086920)
      Precisely! My place of work is in the throes of equal opportunities policies that are simply insane. I appreciate the need to remove any lingering subconcious biases in the minds of those who conduct interviews, but not giving a job to someone because they're not in an under-filled denomination is pure discrimination

      "sorry, we have too many white people, try again next week"

      Honestly, these things are no more relevant than being left-handed.

      Disclaimer: We don't work with members of the public who might have prejudices that affect the ability of, say, black disabled gay women to do the job effectively.
      • We were hiring for a full time engineer, and our HR purson explained it to us like this: "All candidates are scored. If a male and a female score equally well and are both considered acceptable, then the female will be offered the position."

        Not that complicated, not discriminatory. If the guy scores better, he gets the offer. Also note that the scoring was largely subjective -- there were plenty of opportunities to get the person you wanted.
        • by general_re (8883) on Friday August 27, 2004 @10:33AM (#10088786) Homepage
          Not that complicated, not discriminatory.

          Of course it's discriminatory - the fact that it's a legal, politically-correct sort of discrimination doesn't change the fact that you're discriminating against one gender or the other. If their scores are equal, you're basically saying that there is no difference as far as merit is concerned, and so you select your candidate based on their gender. It doesn't matter which one you choose based on gender, it's the fact that gender becomes the deciding criterion that makes it discriminatory - it would be equally discriminatory to choose only men when faced with candidates of equal qualifications. If you want an equal, non-discriminatory way of choosing among similarly qualified applicants, try flipping a coin next time.

          Then again, what do I know? I think the whole equal-opportunity thing is bullshit anyway...


        • Not that complicated, not discriminatory.... Also note that the scoring was largely subjective

          While I admire efforts to recruit and hire underrepresented groups to the extent possible, there is no escaping that subjective scoring is both complicated and discriminatory.

          And it continues to this day, to cut both ways, both for and against underrepresented groups.

        • by Bob Uhl (30977) <.eadmund42. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday August 27, 2004 @11:36AM (#10089505) Homepage
          Not that complicated, not discriminatory.

          Let's change that rule, then: all candidates are scored; if a man and a woman score the same and are both acceptable, then the man will be offered the position. Would you find that non-discriminatory?

          That rule is prejudiced against men, and for women. The fair thing to do in a case where two candidates score equally is to decide randomly.

          • The fair thing to do in a case where two candidates score equally is to decide randomly.

            personally, i think the best thing to do here is ask the people who will have to deal with this manager who they feel they can work with better. when the objective scoring system gives you a tie, the only thing you have left is a random decision or a subjective decision (ignoring the aforementioned discriminatory decision). the random decision is "fair", but isn't necessarily pragmatic. the subjective decision may

      • by 9mind (702505) on Friday August 27, 2004 @08:53AM (#10087752)
        Being a black male who also doesn't believe in affirmative action, the plain and simple point is that there isn't a better alternative to it.

        A lot of people say it's a bad idea this, and a bad idea that... however, history has shown, that companies supporting the "good ole boy" type of infrastructures have keep the minorities out through very shady practices.

        My alternative to affirmative action would be that all interviews are recorded and stored off-site as they happen along with candidates resumes. Disputes in this case would have more merit without the need for affirative action. However, not all the hiring process goes on during the interview, so even this is not a 100% fool-proof. It would just give more merit to someone who thought they were discrimanted against.

        Because in my experience, give someone the opportunity to pick what they are comfortable with over what may be better... they'll pick what they are more comfortable with.

        • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Friday August 27, 2004 @09:56AM (#10088387)
          I'm not saying that you are wrong, since there is some truth to what you say, but it is a truth about human nature, not a proof of discrimination. People in general do feel comfortable working with people who are "like them" in some abstract sense. Of course, working up in Massachusetts and doing a lot of hiring, I always found that I preferred the younger candidates for a job since I was myself young, and I identified with them (their work ethic, out-of-work interests, educational background, etc.) much more than the older candidates. Being able to relate to and communicate well with the people you work with IS critical.


          But I also hired a black person (yeah, I know, sounds like a token, but if you know Massachusetts, you know there aren't exactly thousands of blacks applying for high tech jobs either, one of about 15-20 people I hired, along with 2 or 3 asians, and 2 Indians - to some extent, it just reflects the demographics of moderately qualified candidates who applied for jobs).


          As a guy who grew up in New York City, a thoroughly urbanized young guy, in many ways I would identify more with a lot of black people more than I did with many of the middle aged, blue collar-ish white males I worked with. In any case, my point is that there are a lot of other factors that come into who people feel comfortable with and who they relate to beyond just the hue of their skin. These are complex cultural and background issues, whether people like to play golf, watch baseball or hack on open source code in their spare time, whether people are religious zealots or avowed atheists, whether people have 7 children or are sworn bachelors. All these things can have just as much effect on the hiring process as race does. That's why I don't believe in practicing affirmative action in the way it is now (I do support legislating non-discrimination, I just think it's generally pretty tough to enforce, since like I said, there are so many other arbitrary but often coupled factors involved in workplace fit that it's hard to say why certain people get promoted, why others get fired, and so on).

      • by WillowAnneLyra (689594) on Friday August 27, 2004 @09:50AM (#10088329)
        The kind of policy you are describing was declared unconstitutional about 25 years ago. Companies are NOT supposed to use any kind of quota system. They also are not allowed to use a literal point system for race. The idea of affermitive action is that all other things being equal (ie if given qualifications, people skills, etc, you'd probibly have to resort to coin tossing), you give the job to the person who is in the minority group. The is to offset the fact that often the white male would be given the job in a "they're both equally qualified".
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly. This is why I have no problem hitting a woman. I'm a feminist and believe in equality.
    • It's those who shout for equality who seem to be the first to highlight irrelevant differences

      Funnily enough, the vast majority of people who say things like this (in the US, anyway) are white males from middle- or upper-class families who speak English with one of the standard American accents. What a remarkable coincidence.
    • > Who cares? It's those who shout for equality who seem to be the first to highlight irrelevant differences; and
      > such people are the first defence used by the prejudiced to block those with true potential.

      Over half the population is female. Do you honestly believe that in the history of that institution, Dr. Hockfield is really
      the first and only qualified woman to emerge? If not, then please conjecture as to why her 15 predecessors were all male.
  • by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:49AM (#10086779) Journal
    fry: can't we just be together?
    leela: listen - you are a man, I'm a woman. We're just too different.
  • by Keruo (771880) on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:50AM (#10086782)
    Generally technology field has been boys club and most women around are usually surnamed .jpg.
    Women at workplace usually balance the atmosphere towards more positive.
    In paper industry, some studies have shown that departments lead by female chiefs, run more efficiently and have less disputes among workers.
    • by mirio (225059) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:11AM (#10086881)

      Generally technology field has been boys club and most women around are usually surnamed .jpg.
      Women at workplace usually balance the atmosphere towards more positive.
      In paper industry, some studies have shown that departments lead by female chiefs, run more efficiently and have less disputes among workers.


      I don't understand how we can look at gender in the workplace as being a positive thing (as in your example) but not also use it with the negative. For example, you would never hear someone say, "In X industry, some studies have shown that departments lead by female chiefs, run less efficiently and have more disputes among workers".

      I guess it simply follows the tried and true rules of political correctness in the US: As long as you're basing your opinions of prejudice against white males, you're not really discriminating.

      And yes, that's exactly what the above opinion does. It basically says that women chiefs/department heads/whatever create a better work environment than men -- prejudice.
      • "gender in the workplace as being a positive thing"

        Catbert: how can I eliminate gender from the workplace?

        Dogbert Consultancy: Well we have these Elbonian eunuchs...
      • by dasunt (249686) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:39AM (#10087032)

        I guess it simply follows the tried and true rules of political correctness in the US: As long as you're basing your opinions of prejudice against white males, you're not really discriminating.

        Case in point -- the article itself. Few people see anything wrong with MIT promoting one gender over another as long as the gender they are promoting is female.

        [PS: I've been called sexist for discussing this viewpoint before. ]

        • by abda (323139) on Friday August 27, 2004 @09:07AM (#10087897) Homepage
          Case in point -- the article itself. Few people see anything wrong with MIT promoting one gender over another as long as the gender they are promoting is female. [PS: I've been called sexist for discussing this viewpoint before. ]
          Yeah, well as much fun as it is to be "politically incorrect" or whatever, men don't need promoting because they are doing just fine. Women still get the short end of the stick in this country. They earn less money than men for the same job positions, and get treated like sex objects. People expect them to be pretty and dumb.

          The status quo is unacceptable, and idealistic views (such as claiming that promoting women is sexist) aren't doing anything to help.
          • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:16PM (#10090388)
            An increasing proportion of women, especially at some schools with strong affirmative action programs, are either incompetent, or willfully game the system. Several of my friends count in the "gaming the system" group. They're intelligent, but they don't learn anything or do any work: they know that as long as they do a bare minimum, the professor will give them an A or B, because giving a lower grade would cause the professor problems as people ask why this white male professor was giving the only woman in his class a bad grade. In fact, it is pretty much impossible for them not to graduate, because the school cannot afford to have its already poor "percentage of women in the EE department" numbers look even worse. So they graduate people who purposely do no work.

            Doesn't end after college either. These same women, who graduated with a decent GPA despite knowing nothing, get hired to do nothing at companies, which don't fire them because they serve a useful purpose for the company's diversity statistics. I know people who admit doing this, and have absolutely no trouble doing so.

            This isn't anything particularly unique about women. If you tell a group of people that they can do a half-assed job and still succeed, many people will. Hell, I would.
        • MIT is actually pretty careful to arrange their gender-equality-seeking efforts in terms of marketting toward women, rather than actually giving women an advantage. MIT admissions specifically tries to get women to apply, and tries to get women who are accepted to enroll. The idea is that there probably aren't fewer smart women than smart men, but more of the smart women don't apply. MIT has had sufficient qualified applicants to make a 50% female class for years, if they wanted to arrange things that way.
    • In paper industry, some studies have shown that departments lead by female chiefs, run more efficiently and have less disputes among workers.

      Well, duhh!

      In a "boys club" work environment, you can talk about whatever you want - Rude, crude, offensive, and no one cares. This occasionally may lead to a few riled tempers.

      Throw some women into the mix, and everything changes. Since we have sexual harassment laws based on the "feelings" of the "victim", rather than the intent of the accused, the friendly b
  • by beh (4759) * on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:51AM (#10086791)
    While I do support equal opportunities/emancipation issues, has MIT selected this woman because she is female and very good in her area of expertise, or has MIT selected her because she was the best irrespective of gender?

    Don't get me wrong here - if she is the BEST for the post, she should get it, but looking at things like the gender quotas like we have had in Germany - these are the wrong way (as they block progressing potentially better male candidates, if the female member quota hasn't been reached yet. This also led to a court case brought on by (IIRC) a civil cervant skipped in a promotion because there was another woman who could take the post - that case went all the way to the highest EU court which ruled that these kinds of quota regulations also are a form of gender discrimination and hence are deemed illegal.

    And there are similar things happening - in a Swiss University I saw a notice for a competition about women in academic study courses, with a prize of EUR 10.000 for the best diploma thesis to be handed in by a female student that year. That particular competition notice actually had been put up by the "equal opportunities" advisor of the school... Where's the equal opportunity here?

    In the UK, there is a female-only car insurance (Diamond), which will only accept female clientele because their insurance claims would in average be lower (hence allowing female drivers to save money, while indirectly increasing the insurance cost of males, by removing drivers with "lower claims" from male/female car insurance companies)...

    Where's the equal opportunity here?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:58AM (#10086821)
      MIT isn't promoting the fact that she is the first woman, the press is.

      http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2004/president-ann ou ncement.html

      From the announcement article it sounds like she was selected because she was best for the job overall. Not surprised at how the press it promoting it though.
      • >>MIT isn't promoting the fact that she is the >>first woman, the press is VERY good observation. as an MIT alum, i have received NUMEROUS messages about the appointment and NONE of them mentioned that she was the first woman. my friends and i kept wondering and wondering, but it never came up anywhere until i saw this /. story this morning. they arent making a big deal out of it, and neither should we.
      • by dave_mcmillen (250780) * on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:30AM (#10086976)
        MIT isn't promoting the fact that she is the first woman, the press is.

        Right - the article somehow makes it sound like this is a result of quota hiring, but there's nothing to suggest that.

        Further note, grandparent post, that the "other recent programs' efforts" mentioned in the article involve getting girls in high school to participate in activities (and classes) related to computer science, electrical engineering, and math. This is far from some sort of quota program, and it seems to me to be a very sensible approach: if the problem is that too many girls are either shooed away from these fields or have never thought that they were an option, then give them a chance to see what it's all about, then decide for themselves.
    • With regard to the prize for best female whatever, the equal opportunity angle is that those prizes are attracting female students into the field, through the university. The prize's purpose isn't to reward current female students over current male students, it's there to encourage potential female students to pursue that course of study. They can't do the second thing without the first, in the current system.

      As far as the insurance thing goes, insurance companies dont owe you shit. If you want better rate
      • As far as the insurance thing goes, insurance companies dont owe you shit.

        Of course they don't. They have the benefit of twisting the government (a government that I subsidize with my tax dollars) around its little finger, and forcing me to cough up more of my hard-earned pay to support their little extortion scheme vis-a-vis mandatory liability auto insurance.

        Man, I wish I could force people by law to financially support my line of work.
    • Just for reference, Diamond insurance do accept male clients, they just advertise specifically at women.
    • well, you'd have to define "best" for the position. she may be qualified (and it would appear that she is), but for such a multi-faceted position, what would make her the "best." personally, while i would be very surprised if her gender were not an issue, and while i do think that in an ideal world it shouldn't be, i think this might be a really good move for MIT. firstly and most obviously, PR wise, it gives them a little more of a leg to stand on. MIT has not had a good track record of graduating fema
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:52AM (#10086797)
    People will not stop complaining about 'unfairness' until the whole world is perfectly split between the sexes, and that's never going to happen. We have women complaining that they never get the best positions at companies like upper management jobs.

    Well, take a look in the coal mines. They too are very gender biased. You don't see many chicks underground with a jack-hammer. Funny, you don't see them complaining about this, either.

    The reason women do not have as many of the 'top jobs' in this world is economics. If you hire a woman and she has a kid, then she will be gone for several months and you will have to pay her maternity leave even though she isn't there. Economically speaking, it's better to hire the man. I don't mean that a woman does not deserve the job or isn't capable of doing it, but managers look at the demographics and see that it is more profitable to hire a man. You could even argue that they are obligated to hire the man for the sake of the shareholders.
    • by Artifex (18308) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:05AM (#10086855) Journal
      The reason women do not have as many of the 'top jobs' in this world is economics. If you hire a woman and she has a kid, then she will be gone for several months and you will have to pay her maternity leave even though she isn't there. Economically speaking, it's better to hire the man. I don't mean that a woman does not deserve the job or isn't capable of doing it, but managers look at the demographics and see that it is more profitable to hire a man. You could even argue that they are obligated to hire the man for the sake of the shareholders.


      Interestingly, most European nations take care of this disparity by granting new fathers potential leave as well.

    • take a look in the coal mines. They too are very gender biased

      Funny example, not many deep mines left in the UK, but this is the one civillian job barred by law to women. If there were more jobs, someone would probably bring a claim.

      If you hire a woman and she has a kid, then she will be gone
      for several months and you will have to pay her maternity
      leave even though she isn't there.

      I've heard this anti-equal opportunities argument before, in various guises, and i
      • Funny example, not many deep mines left in the UK, but this is the one civillian job barred by law to women. If there were more jobs, someone would probably bring a claim.

        But here in the good old USA we have no such laws and, as my father is an ex-miner, there are very few woman in the profession.

        Funny example, not many deep mines left in the UK, but this is the one civillian job barred by law to women. If there were more jobs, someone would probably bring a claim.

        Give me one good reason the man shoul
        • Give me one good reason the man should have leave? Perhaps some time directly around the time of birth in order to accommodate the wife but aside from that why does he need more?

          OK, let's turn that around... by that logic, why should the woman have leave (of course, as you said, except for right around the time of birth so she can recover)? The point is to remove the gender bias surrounding leave ("women have the babies, so they should be the ones who get leave to take care of them").

    • Well, I think there's clearly something else at work here. Even if I wanted to hire 50/50, I'd be hard pressed to find 4 good female computer security professionals who can compete on a technical level with the other people on my team (doing software audits and writing exploits). There just arn't that many women coming out of computer science classes. Maybe 10% of the total, generously, and of those, almost none choose to go into hard core technical computer security. I think it's telling (aka depressing) t
  • Question for women (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andy1307 (656570) on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:53AM (#10086798)
    Are you more likely to apply to MIT because it has a women president?

    An article related to this topic.

    Is Evolution Leaving Men Behind? [spectator.org]

    Here's something Charles Darwin in all his philosophies never imagined. As the third millennium of the common era kicks off more American women than men are graduating with baccalaureate and post- baccalaureate degrees. More women are enrolled in law schools, journalism schools, and soon, they will exceed men in all professional schools, with the exception the dreary schools of engineering and business. At this rate, women will soon overtake men as the top wage earners. Evolution is leaving men behind.

    McElroy, who writes a column for FoxNews.com, reports being dismayed at finding educated women who are "genuinely horrified at the prospect of dealing with 'lesser' and 'lower' men as equals in their personal lives." But one of the findings of evolutionary psychology is that females of whatever species are hot-wired to find the best possible mate.

    The second para is kinda OT, but interesting nevertheless.

    • by doodlelogic (773522) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:22AM (#10086931)
      The original McElroy article [ifeminists.net] (which itself has some interesting onward links) makes it clear that she does not view herself as one of these elitist women; it concludes:

      "I still squirm at the thought of how many successful women now seem to view a large percentage of decent single men. Namely, as lesser and lower."

      The Spectator may think that "females of whatever species are hot-wired to find the best possible mate" but McElroy clearly disagrees, at least if you reduce the best to a simplistic, status based analysis. It is a clever trick in the article, which makes it look as if that is what she was saying, when the journalist knows it was the opposite.
    • More women are enrolled in law schools, journalism schools, and soon, they will exceed men in all professional schools, with the exception the dreary schools of engineering and business.

      There are always more students than qualified practitioners. The usual way this stat. is abused is to say "there are more law students in the US, than lawyers ... so soon we'll be overrune with them".

      In pretty much every high earning business I see men outnumber women, esp. as the pay scale goes higher (very few CxOs

  • gender-biased... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tobi-wan-kenobi (797654) on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:53AM (#10086803) Journal
    i really risk getting flamed with this post, but here we go:

    i _do_ gratulate her, because i believe she has really earned that position, but:

    "...efforts to get more women involved in the MIT community..."
    i really hope that this is not the reason she got elected president. you see, i think such positions should be awarded according to ability, _regardless_ of the gender. so "because of" is as wrong as "in spite of".

    " a step in the right direction for the historically gender-biased institution?"
    not as long as every time a woman is elected this or that, the fact that she is a woman is more stressed in the reports than the fact that she is doing a good job (or what she has achieved).
    • i _do_ gratulate her, because i believe she has really earned that position

      I'd like to "gratulate" her for several other positions she could earn :D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:54AM (#10086806)
    She is also the first president with a life sciences background which is probably more relevant to the future of MIT than the make up of her chromosomes. I would prefer that the headlines note that MIT found the best president that it could and leave gender out of it.
  • by callipygian-showsyst (631222) on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:58AM (#10086819) Homepage
    ...or is it WOMEN who don't like math, science, and engineering?
    • ...or is it WOMEN who don't like math, science, and engineering?

      This should prove to our readers (in response to some of the above posts) that there indeed is some serious gender bias out there. How depressing.

      -Aaron
      • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:18AM (#10086907) Homepage
        How is that gender bias? Maybe it is simply true? Man and women are not equal and never will, remember the little birth thing and the children, man on the other side went hunt some animal a few thousand years ago. Just because we know have a society that makes them equal from the 'rights' point of view doesn't necesarry mean that they ever will behave equally, you can't wipe out a few million years of evolution with some hundred years of equal rights.

        I am not saying that we shouldn't remove gender bias where it is truely there, just that we shouldn't automatically assume that there is a gender bias just because the distribution between man and women is not exactly 50/50.
    • by tuxette (731067) * <tuxette.gmail@com> on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:12AM (#10086884) Homepage Journal
      Why is it they don't like math, science, and engineering?

      Remember the "I hate math" Barbie doll? [msu.edu] A raging debate ensued, and educators and others were forced to face (and deal with?) the issue of the assumption that not only do girls hate math and science, they are biologically programmed to do so. So the rule was girls are not supposed to like math and science, if they do there's something inherently wrong with them and thus we must ridicule and pressure them into becoming a proper female. And as most of us know how peer pressure can be, girls end up being conditioned to stay away from math and science if they ever want to be cool and have a life.

      What was worse for me while growing up, was that I loved science and math. "Well, OK, but that's because you're Chinese" was what I always got back. The implication that I couldn't help myself for that or something. So not only did I get the derogatory labels regarding female geeks rubbed in my face, I got the racism as well.

    • Sexist policies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nuggz (69912) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:19AM (#10086918) Homepage
      Most people don't like math science and engineering.
      I know lots of women who could be capable engineers, but chose other paths.

      I don't think it really matters how many female engineers we have, as long as the end result is designed right neither should you.

      I am getting sick of working with second rate 'quota' people. Particularly with the government they will put someone without the ability or experience to do a job but got the "Minority XXXX" points to land the job.

      You end up with
      #1 The job not being done right.
      #2 Convincing anyone with the stereotype they are right because look, that kind of person can't do the job.
      #3 A person who can't do the job getting frustrated. They either hate their job, and discourage others, or they quit. Then you end up having even more trouble recruiting group XXX into this position.

      Removing barriers is one thing, silly quota/promotion games are wrong.

      More ranting, in public school (I was 13 years old) The girls got to go to 'science day' at the local university to encourage them to go into science. Apparently it was very interesting, with lots of cool stuff.
      Of course as a boy, I couldn't go. Welcome to the wonderful sexist world we live in where girls who don't care about science get encouragement, and guys who do care get slapped down.
    • by zoeblade (600058) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:46AM (#10087094) Homepage

      ...or is it WOMEN who don't like math, science, and engineering?

      I think it's more a case that girls aren't encouraged to take an interest in such subjects as much as boys are. I'm lucky in that my parents got me a Commodore computer when I was very young, and I got really into it, but how many perents would do that for a girl? Would they instead be more likely to encourage something that it's more widely believed girls like doing?

      Maybe it's a vicious circle. Girls are told they don't like maths or science so don't get a chance to try it properly, so they grow up to not be into it, so people think that women don't like it, so don't try teaching it to girls.

      Just try your best to work out what kids are into and encourage it regardless of whether it's something considered appropriate for their gender.

      Of course, articles making a big deal out of a woman being into computers (remember the one about that female hacker?) tend to reinforce the notion that this is unique and unusual, reinforcing the stereotype. It doens't help anybody get over such stereotypes, but it helps sell issues of newspapers apparently.

      Sorry, I'm rambling now.

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:56AM (#10087178) Journal
      Let me tell you a true story from here. I call it "Jack and Jill up corporate hill".

      Jack is the stereotypical incompetent monkey. He's a marketer who noticed that he could get more money if he switched to being a "programmer". Unfortunately his only IT skill is marketting himself to clueless PHBs. (I've worked with him before. He's the guy I mentioned that spent hours trying all combinations of *, & and nothing on every variable in C++, because he never could understand pointers.)

      But the bosses _love_ Jack. Jack speaks their language. Jack may not be able to code shit, or anything else, but he knows how to say exactly what the bosses want to hear.

      Jack also loves making compliments like "Hey, it's rare to see a chick with brains." (Said verbatim to a competent female employee who's programmed in assembly before. _Way_ more competent than him in any case.) He actually thinks it's a compliment, and not the sexist idiocy that it really is.

      Jill, for better or worse, did finish a CS college. No, she's not a genius, but I'd say at least more competent than half the monkeys hired in that department just because they were cheap.

      Jack has been on a sort of a personal Jihad against Jill for more than a year. He'd hunt every single mistake in her code and run show it to everyone else, or humiliate her in front of other employees.

      He came to me a few times with such "proofs" that Jill writes bad code. Invariably Jill's code was right, and it just showed that Jack didn't understand even the _basics_ of Java. The language he's paid to program in these days. E.g., he didn't know that String constants are internalized.

      I called him an idiot to his face on those occasions, and explained to him why Jill's code works and is OK. (Hey, I never said I was a diplomat.) He stopped coming to me, and I thought he got over it. I was wrong.

      Recently Jack got promoted to team leader. (As I've said, the bosses _love_ him.)

      Their team also had grown with two people fresh out of college. Again a male and a female. Let's call them Dick and Jane. Jane was undoubtedly inexperienced. On the other hand, Dick, by everyone else's assessment, bosses _and_ coworkers alike, was a fscking catastrophe.

      What does Jack do? Jack recommends that they fire Jane, but keep Dick. The boss's question? "Huh? Why Jane? I thought Dick was the catastrophe."

      Jack insists however that they keep Dick, reasoning that it would be bad for the project to fire both, and Dick will probably learn along the way. Takes all his marketting skills, but he gets the boss to aggree.

      So Jane packs her bags, and Dick, for all I know, is still blundering to even understand Java, but still in that team.

      Now let's get back to Jill. As I've said, at one point I thought Jack had gotten past his unexplicable feud against her. As I should have guessed, he was actually just avoiding me, after I had called him an idiot.

      What's Jack doing now, in his team leader position? Finally getting Jill fired.

      So it seems to me like you don't even have to try hard to see discrimination in action. You just need an open mind, which is really what's lacking.

      CS _is_ a boy's club. Hiring interviews are conducted by prejudiced people. You have prejudiced people as team leaders and co-workers, spewing sexist idiocies without even realizing it. Or being condescending and treating you a priori like a poor retard just because of gender preconceptions. And you have to interact with prejudiced clients and internal PHBs, who need to assert their testosterone supremacy anyway, but doubly so when it comes to women in tech fields.

      Seems to me that anyone who's not outright fired, needs a pretty thick skin to stay in CS. A lot prefer to just leave. I've seen people bail out of CS and into other jobs because of this. (E.g., from programming to usability or whatever else, which isn't as supposed to be an exclusive boys' club.)

      And the results of this aren't even perceived as the results of blatant discrimination, but used as further "proof" that women aren't fit to use a computer.

      It's not even the only discrimination in this field. Age discrimination against males is at least as widespread.
  • by syntap (242090)
    Hopefully now we'll finally churn out some more geek and gamr grlz.
  • by Guano_Jim (157555) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:11AM (#10086876)
    A list of her recent publications can be read here. [yale.edu]

    From the page:

    The main focus of our work is to bring biochemical and molecular biological techniques to the classical anatomical analysis of mammalian CNS development.

    CNS being Central Nervous System, IIRC.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:12AM (#10086885)
    If any of you actually went to MIT, you would realize that this whole thing is actually a ploy to get Aimee Smith to fucking shut up! Now when she talks about the overruling partiarchy, we'll finally be able to say, "*ahem* A woman is currently in charge."
  • Woman at MIT??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jmcmunn (307798)

    Geez, before you know it they will have the right to vote!

    As stated already, I hope they hired her for her qualifications, and not the quota. I have somewhat of a personal view on things...

    Don't get me wrong, I am married to a structural engineer (yes, a woman) so I fully believe in equality between all genders/races in all fields, but I have seen many instances where a woman or other minority had an unfair advantage at getting a job or getting accepted into a school.

    I'm not trying to start an affirmati
  • Hormones... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Skiron (735617)
    Will she have to grow a beard now?
  • MIT's view (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    See MIT's actual announcement for Dr. Hockfield's scientific achievements and administrative experience. It's not suprising that the news outlets all highlight the fact that she's a her, but it is not why she was choosen.
    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2004/president-annou ncement.html [mit.edu]
  • Most High, Most Mighty and Most Excellent Princess of MIT, Queen Dowager and Queen Mother, Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Geek, Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Science, Lady of the Imperial Order of the Crown of Tech Empire...

    Eh.. Enough I guess...
  • Good lord, I knew MIT [micropowerit.com] was a tech school but I didn't think it was well known enough to make SlashDot! Right in my own backyard! Maybe I can be president someday!
  • Non-news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kirbyman001 (448856)
    It's been said, but this is just crap.

    If you want to read a real article about why she was chosen, head over to web.mit.edu.

    Oh, and "historically gender-biased institution"? It's a fucking tech school, what do people expect? I should also point out that the entering freshman class (the one I'm in) is about 55% male and 45% female. Please, let's at least be reasonable when coming up with non-news, mmkay?

    Mmkay.
  • Feminist (Score:2, Funny)

    by KrunZ (247479)
    I hope she is a feminist because they ar sooo cute!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:55AM (#10087167)
    She was Dean of the Graduate school here at Yale for years and had recently become Provost so this was a bit of a surprise here.

    From an email broadcast by Yale's president to faculty and staff about Susan Hockfield's departure and contributions:

    "Over the past six years, Susan has excelled as Dean of the Graduate School and as Provost, possessing in rare combination intelligence, integrity, pragmatism, and grace. As Dean she utterly transformed the environment in which graduate education takes place - strengthening support for teacher preparation and career services, and building a vibrant sense of community through public lectures and other events [...] In her three semesters as Provost she has moved aggressively to accelerate investment in science and medicine, and she has encouraged interdisciplinary collaboration across the humanities and the arts. She has made superb new appointments to our administrative ranks, and she has worked closely with the other officers to fashion plans for strengthening the culture and practice of management within the University."

    MIT is getting a good person IMO.

  • gender bias? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by (trb001) (224998) on Friday August 27, 2004 @08:01AM (#10087234) Homepage
    While I fully support editors editorializing in their descriptions of news stories...

    is this a step in the right direction for the historically gender-biased institution? ...the fact that they didn't have a woman as president before does not a gender biased institution make. I've never seen a female garbageman(person) before either, that doesn't mean the entire field is biased against women, it probably means women don't look for that position or that they weren't qualified (hard to imagine, but I'm sure there are qualifications for being a garbageman).

    --trb
    • Re:gender bias? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ScottyB (13347)
      "...the fact that they didn't have a woman as president before does not a gender biased institution make."

      That would be a very powerful argument, if MIT were not actually historically gender-biased. It's not a fun fact to face up to, but both in student life and in treatment of professors, MIT has shown signs of gender-bias.

      It's arguable that in student life, MIT has been less gender-biased and more a symptom of females being discouraged from following science and engineering. MIT was all-male until the
  • Really? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bluesman (104513) on Friday August 27, 2004 @08:10AM (#10087303) Homepage
    What did they name her?

  • by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Friday August 27, 2004 @08:17AM (#10087373) Homepage
    You know when things will really have changed for women? When this isn't news. Look at the summary of this story: It trumpets the fact that a woman has taken a role of great prominence and responsiblity...but doesn't mention her name. As long as women are identified as generic "woman" instead of personalized as the actual women they are as individuals with their own skills and talents, things have not changed as much as they should have.
  • isn't it sad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by b-baggins (610215) on Friday August 27, 2004 @09:00AM (#10087816) Journal
    That the only thing people seem to care about is that she's a woman; her qualifications seem to be secondary to her sex.
  • by drwho (4190) on Friday August 27, 2004 @09:32AM (#10088169) Homepage Journal
    Was she hired because she is a woman? was she hired because she fit the qualifications for the job, but given a leg up over the competition because of her gender? It sounds like the latter. Which is in direct opposition to MIT's stated non-discrimination in employment based upon race, gender, sexual orientation, race, and national origin. Iin other words, the whole policy of EEOC stuff is a lie, and that it is just a way to stomp down the white men that people like Michael Moore hate.

    This is just another example of MIT's long slow decline. Soon, it will be as much of a social disaster area as UC Berkeley.
  • Chicken & egg (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bondgrrl (255302) on Friday August 27, 2004 @09:56AM (#10088389) Homepage
    Why are there not more women in geek fields? If the 99% male /. crowd experienced life from the other side youd understand why.

    It's chicken and egg. You don't get many women taking geek roles in society because those roles are male dominated. Let's take a simplified hypothetical scenario:

    Think of the teenage girl on a campus open-day. She likes coding but has never been encouraged at it. She looks in at university computer lab and sees 50 sweating/overweight/horrendously thin pale boys, all with mildly-pornographic desktops and wearing Tux t-shirts (a stereotype that I've seen borne out often enough to not be a stereotype). She tries talking to one of the students. Gets told that the EnglishLit building is next door. She tries talking to another group of students. Wow, she gets sniggered at by emotionally immature male geeks.

    So, due to this experience the girl doesn't want to join this particular highly exclusive and, believe me, misogynistic male dominated profession. The profession takes this as proof that women are unsuited for their work, reinforcing the misogyny that prevents women joining in the first place.

    Yeah, so I'm simplifying. But women get told their entire lives - by their mothers, their teachers, their fathers, society - that geek roles are not for women. If you take such a role then you obviously do so because you are a failure as a woman. Do you really expect women to want to join something that theyve been told to loathe?

    Now, let's twist the scenario around. Now, how many men can honestly say that they are able to cry at a movie? Who can cuddle up to their best male friend on the sofa? Who actually talk about their emotions? Come on, raise your hands. Oh dear, I don't see many. Now are you telling me that men are biologically incapable of performing those acts? Like fuck you are. You wouldn't be so stupid. Men don't do those things BECAUSE SOCIETY TELLS THEM NOT TO. You're soft, you're a sissy, you're gay, youre not a man if you do any of these things. D'ya see what Im getting at here guys?

    Sorry for ranting or if I sound like I'm trying to preach. It just really frustrates me that I see so many geek women turn away from geek roles (or who keep them as a dirty little secret) just because society says no. I don't know if discrimination against men in job applications is the answer, but you cant just leave it to "let managers pick the best person for the job". There IS inherent sexism in the geek world. If you can't see the forest then its because of all the trees.

  • by Theovon (109752) on Friday August 27, 2004 @10:55AM (#10089041)
    Sorry about the inflamatory title. It's good for karma whoring. :)

    Anyhow, I suppose it's true that people and society are still biased against women. Personally, I find gender-based discrimination very difficult to understand. What's ironic about that is that, until it was pointed out to me by a friend, I never realized that the family I grew up with had this kind of slant. It never occurred to me to discriminate based on sex. I mean, I'd heard of it, but I never saw any reason to do it.

    There are things that men and women are inherently better at than each other ON AVERAGE. That is, the average man is better at visual/spatial reasoning, and the average woman is better is linguistic/auditory reasoning. But on the other hand, an above-average woman will likely beat the average man at both. Individuals often lie outside of the statistical averages.

    This whole concept of pre-judging makes no sense to me. Built-in talent helps, but I've seen time and time again a hard-working average person beat a lazy above-average person. So why can't a woman with determination compete well with men who assume that things should be just handed to them? In fact, she can and often would wipe the floor with them were it not for stupid social-political barriers that say that women, universally, aren't up to the task.

    One friend of mine once pointed out that "equal opportunity" does not mean "equal achievement". As I see it, if you're not smart or hard-working enough to achieve something, then tough shit. You shouldn't get special consideration or leniency for being rich, poor, male, female, black, white, gay, or straight.

    Here's the "my ass" part: Maybe MIT has been biased. Maybe not. But just maybe there hasn't until now been a woman who was up to the job. Now there is. The fact that she's a woman has nothing to do with her qualifications for the job. Yes, I agree that the obstacles are there. Yes, I agree that she probably had to work much harder than others who would have vied for the position. Should I be sad that I had to work my way through college, rather than get minority scholarships (which, BTW, are fine by me as long as they are from private institutions)?

    There is one benefit to me, as a guy, to having this stupid gender bias while it lasts. See, I like intelligent people. If a guy gets into a position of power, it tells me nothing. If a woman gets into a position of power, I can pretty much assume that she's got her shit together and that I can easily have an intelligent conversation with her. This isn't 100% perfect, but it's a strong statistical trend.

    Also, I think these women, being intuitive, quickly recognize that I naively lack this gender bias and warm up to me almost instantly. The reason I mention this is because, far too often, I see guys threatened by strong women and find themselves compelled to refer to them as "bitches". Well, I've met a few bitches, but they were just stupid people (both men and women). These strong women, on the other hand, are typically a joy for me to work with.
  • Biased? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LuYu (519260) on Friday August 27, 2004 @11:13AM (#10089256) Homepage Journal

    Maybe this will piss some people off, but I just cannot see how an engineering school can be categorized as a "historically gender-biased institution". Now, before the "liberal" Witch Hunt for me starts, I would like to explain myself...

    I would like nothing better than to spend the rest of my life in a relationship with a female engineer. However, I doubt that will ever happen. Why will this not happen? It probably will not happen because most women do not want to be engineers. They are not interested. They are usually interested in other subjects (very unfortunately).

    If 0.01% of all the girls I met in college were engineers, well, that would be a liberal overestimate at best. Women were quite interested in many subjects. One primatology class I took had 18 girls and 3 guys. So, it is not science. It is only engineering. When I was in high school, I cannot think of a single girl that was interested in engineering. My high school was one of the largest in the city.

    My question is: When women choose not to be engineers, through lack of interest or whatever (which from what I have seen appears to be the case), how can a school be blamed for having more guys than girls? How can the school be labelled "gender-biased"? Is this fair?

    I have seen lots of places in society where I would freely use the term gender-bias. It just seems absurd applied to an engineering school. No engineering school can attract women who are not interested in engineering.

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