hessian notes a Cornell survey, published in the Psychological Bulletin, of 35 years of sociological studies that concludes that women tend to choose non-math-intensive fields for their careers not because they lack mathematical ability, but because they want flexibility to raise children or prefer less math-intensive fields of science. "'A major reason explaining why women are underrepresented not only in math-intensive fields but also in senior leadership positions in most fields is that many women choose to have children, and the timing of child rearing coincides with the most demanding periods of their career, such as trying to get tenure or working exorbitant hours to get promoted,' said lead author Stephen J. Ceci... The authors concluded that hormonal, brain, and other biological sex differences were not primary factors in explaining why women were underrepresented in science careers, and that studies on social and cultural effects were inconsistent and inconclusive. They also reported that although 'institutional barriers and discrimination exist, these influences still cannot explain why women are not entering or staying in STEM careers,' said Ceci."
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