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Men And Women Think Women Are Bad At Basic Math 384

sciencehabit writes "Think women can't do math? You're wrong — but new research (paywalled) shows you might not change your mind, even if you get evidence to the contrary. A study of how both men and women perceive each other's mathematical ability finds that an unconscious bias against women — by both men and women — could be skewing hiring decisions, widening the gender gap in mathematical professions like engineering."
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Men And Women Think Women Are Bad At Basic Math

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  • In my experience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CmdrEdem ( 2229572 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:07AM (#46453513) Homepage

    Women and men are equally bad at math. Specially at teaching math. It's not an easy subject and it's not a natural way to think about anything.

    • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:16AM (#46453549) Journal

      Yes, of all the people in the world, it was my mom who taught me basic math.

      Without her, I wouldn't know how to count. I wouldn't know how to add, to subtract, to multiply and to divide.

      Of course I did learn more advanced math in the school, but the foundation of my math was laid by my mom.

      Thanks, mom !

      • by Dareth ( 47614 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:25AM (#46453943)

        All my mom knows how to do is multiply...but that is why I have seven siblings.

      • I had a similar experience.

        I was educated at home by my mother who is a civil engineering major while my father, who is also a civil engineer, worked to provide for myself and four siblings who were also home educated.

        What I find interesting about this article is that I find the same bias within me, despite being given the most obvious evidence to the contrary - my mother is clearly an intelligent, well-educated woman who is also quite adept at teaching. I think the reason I have this bias is because, despi

    • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:19AM (#46453555)
      My experience is that math gets easier the more you do it. In other words, practice makes perfect. I've also noticed that people who are inclined to accept "I am just not good at math" are less likely to put in the work and train their brains to think in math, and thus never learn it. I would not be surprised to find that the stuff the article talks about leads to more females taking that excuse and opting out of math rather than putting in the work.
      • My experience is that math gets easier the more you do it. In other words, practice makes perfect.

        My experience is that most people just don't have the aptitude for it, mainly because most people are unintelligent. Rote memorization is the best they can do, but at that point, you're not really doing math at all.

        • by Sique ( 173459 )
          Actually, you do learn math by rote memorization. Those of us who were interested in math from the beginning were training it all the time by playing around with numbers or geometrical objects, which is just rote memorization with spices on top. And you get really good at math by doing math chores all the time.
          • Actually, you do learn math by rote memorization.

            Using existing knowledge and forming conclusions about why it works is not the same as rote memorization, though you'll need to retain some information in order to do that. It seems you don't know what I'm talking about. []

            It's a shame. Most people can't even identify the problem with math education, let alone think of a solution to fix it.

          • I'm not trying to make the argument that there are huge biological or innate differences in people. This is intended to communicate a problem(that the education system has since gotten wise to).

            When we were taught to multiply in elementary school, the teacher handed out peices of paper with a big grid of all the multiples from 1x1 to 12x12, and we were told to memorize them(and spend all class several days repeatedly, by rote regurgitating rows in the table with quizzes built to emphasize this). I didn't

          • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @10:28AM (#46454407) Journal

            No, you learn *some* by rote memorization (and even then you're pushing the definition of rote memorization) but rote memorization is hardly the whole picture.

            For instance, I'm just about halfway through Calculus 1. Now I don't want to have to derive from first principles how to differentiate something, so I do have to memorize some rules. But I've not just rote memorized (for example) the chain rule as a procedure, I've also studied the proof of this so understand why the chain rule actually works. This makes the chain rule easier to remember and apply correctly than just memorizing the chain rule by rote without understanding how it actually works.

            Similarly, you can rote memorize what the sin and cosine functions do, but if you understand how the values sin and cos return come about, they aren't just mysterious functions that generate magic numbers and have a whole bunch of identities you have to remember. You can actually do something useful with these things.

            At the end of the day to take some real world problem and model it with mathematics, you can't just merely rote memorize a bunch of stuff, you have to understand it too so you can actually construct something useful with what you've learned.

      • Re:In my experience (Score:4, Interesting)

        by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:02AM (#46453773)

        What always made math so hard for me weren't the concepts themselves, it was my speed at processing math problems in my head. If I could have had unlimited time, I could have scored an "A" on every test. Unfortunately, most math tests are time-limited and my speed at processing problems always seemed to lag behind everyone else, which left me a wreck on tests (but with an "A+" on every homework assignment). I could answer 20 questions perfectly in the time allotted, and not answer the next 20 questions at all; or I could rush through the test a nervous wreck and barely pass (obviously I chose the latter). When I finally was able to take some online math classes at my university, I went from struggling to get C's in my math courses to getting an A in every one (the tests for the online courses weren't timed).

        So my suggestion is that, if you really want to see a jump in math skills, start placing more emphasis on learning the concepts and less emphasis on how fast students can process problems. Allow students unlimited time on tests if they want it (maybe give them the option of taking tests after school instead of in class). It will give a lot of students like me a lot more confidence in themselves once they realize that they're not fucking stupid or "just bad at math"--that they're just slower, more deliberate, and more thoughtful.

        • Re:In my experience (Score:4, Interesting)

          by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @02:00PM (#46456167)

          So my suggestion is that, if you really want to see a jump in math skills, start placing more emphasis on learning the concepts and less emphasis on how fast students can process problems. Allow students unlimited time on tests if they want it (maybe give them the option of taking tests after school instead of in class). It will give a lot of students like me a lot more confidence in themselves

          As someone who has taught math at the high school level, I definitely agree with you up to a point. I usually tried to design tests so that an average student could complete it with plenty of time to spare -- those who needed a little more time could then take it.

          However, there is a problem that gradually starts to accumulate with students who can't do math at a reasonable speed. My first year teaching (at a not-so-great school in a not-so-great location), I had seniors in high school who were enrolled in algebra II, but some of them couldn't do basic arithmetic. Sure -- if you gave them enough time, they could use their fingers or calculators to determine what 12 minus 7 is. (Don't ask how these students managed to get to algebra II -- it was years of terrible teachers and vacancies with substitute teachers passing students who shouldn't have been.)

          These students were completely incapable of understanding most of the stuff going on in class on a regular basis. Even the students who could do some semblance of basic arithmetic hadn't internalized many of the basic rules of algebra, etc. So, while -- again -- they could work through these things at a very slow pace, they had no idea of what they were doing or why when it came to higher-level questions. Eventually, I realized the only way I could teach unprepared students algebra II according to the state-mandated curriculum was to teach basic algorithms for solving the minimum set of basic problems required. (Sending them back to algebra I was not an option, since officially they had "passed" it.) The students had no perspective for why they were doing anything, but they could do meaningless symbolic manipulation enough to satisfy requirements.

          And that's what happens when most students aren't drilled enough to internalize basic skills at various levels. The point of taking speed tests at elementary levels is because if you can't immediately do arithmetic in your head, you'll have no clue what's going on when solving some 10-step equation in algebra. And, if you don't internalize the equation solving steps in basic algebra to the point that you can do them reasonably quickly, you'll have no idea what to make of your calculus teacher zooming through such a problem to get to the actual derivatives or integrals or whatever.

          (Also, note that smarter students who are given unlimited time also can make use of unlimited methods to check their work -- even taking to guessing answers with trial-and-error, or doing the same problem 5 times until they come up with something that "checks." While there is a value in persevering until you can get an answer you're sure is "right," it doesn't necessarily tell a teacher whether you actually know what you're doing. The time to do trial-and-error is on homework assignments before a test until you can figure out the right way to do something -- by a test, you should have accumulated enough fluency to start on the right track.)

          So, I agree that there needs to be a balance. Testing new skills should probably be done with plenty of time, so students have time to reason things out. But eventually they need to internalize the steps enough to do them reasonably quickly -- and subsequent tests using that material needs to evaluate that.

          If not, you'll end up with students who can't do anything and can't understand any higher-level steps in math, because they're still stuck taking 30 seconds to figure out what 12 minus 7 is while trying to do a triple integral.

      • Re:In my experience (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <> on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:22AM (#46453927) Homepage Journal

        It's a western thing. Westerners think they are just not good at some things, and never will be. In the far east it is accepted that anyone can learn pretty much anything if they put in enough effort. Therefore saying "I'm not good at maths" in Japan or South Korea is actually saying "I'm too lazy to master this".

        Of course they also have a lot of kids killing themselves due to the pressure, and some people do have genuine learning difficulties that they can't do anything about.

    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:58AM (#46453759) Homepage
      Most people who are good at math also have very little ability to teach it, because it comes so naturally to them. Think about it this way. If you ask singers how to sing better, most of them would probably have no idea how to help you sing better, or what they were doing to make themselves sing so well. They just can, and they've been doing it since they were 3. Same goes for most people who are good at math. There are some people who are good at math who can also teach it, but I don't believe that the two skills are related in any way. Being extremely good at math might even be a hindrance. I know I tried to help a few friends in highschool with math, and I was very unsuccessful. I couldn't wrap my head around what people found so hard about basic algebra.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:08AM (#46453519)

    Because we all know that women are better than men at some things, but men are never better than women at anything.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:50AM (#46453719)

      Because we all know that women are better than men at some things, but men are never better than women at anything.

      Umm, ever seen a woman load a dishwasher?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How sexist of you! You must be a White Male Capitalist! You're automatically wrong about... WELL, ABOUT EVERYTHING!!!

      > cryingbaby.jpg

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:12AM (#46453535)
    What a shame that "ability at maths" is seen by TFA as the ability to "add up sets of two-digit numbers in a 4-minute math sprint".
    • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:23AM (#46453573) Journal

      I worked as a part time waiter while I was in college. One night I was waiting on a party of over 40 people (5 tables in all) and when I added up the final bill (it was in the '70s and there was no PC-based POS back then) manually (over 80 items in total, including drinks and desserts ) and handed it to the folks, an old guy looked at the bill and scolded me for "not doing it right".

      I was right and he was wrong, but, as he was the customer, I couldn't tell him that his math sux, so I did the next best thing - I call the manager and let him add up the total bill.

      It came up the same. (I did say I was right).

      The moral of this story is ... don't be harsh.

      Joe sixpacks don't do much math, and you don't get them to do extra-ordinary level of math without them feeling very sorry for themselves.

    • The reason for this is given right in the article: it's a task already known to be performed equally well by both men and women, so the test runners don't have to try and compensate for a difference in actual performance, which would make things way more complex.

      If you follow the logic of the test, the significant issue is not whether it's really math, but whether it's *perceived* as math by those acting as hiring managers in the test. I think it's reasonable to conclude that it is. Or do you think the conc

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:19AM (#46453557) Journal
    We frequently fall prey to these assumptions made under no particular scientific method. We begin raising our young with lessons disguised as fables.

    Handing knowledge down through the years based on personal experience was once, and for many generations, the best way to save information. It is better than no system at all (we're talking pre-widespread literacy), but the risk of passing along stereotypes and prejudices certainly existed.

  • uhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:24AM (#46453577)

    Think women can't do math?

    Hardly anyone thinks this because there is ample evidence to the contrary. Moreover, the average woman is probably about as good at math as the average man. But when you're hiring in a "mathematical profession" you're not looking at the entire population; you're looking at the set of men and women with relatively high mathematical ability. Within that set, at least in the United States, men outnumber women. This could very well be the result of socialization; I'm not necessarily arguing from physiology. But it's hard to argue with numbers []. The ratio of men to women among the set of SAT takers with a perfect math score, after adjusting for the fact that more women than men take the SAT, is 2.5 to 1. So, all else being equal we should expect about 28% of engineers and mathematicians to be women. Interestingly, if you look at the percentage [] of Math Ph.D.s granted to U.S. citizens (in 2010) women earned exactly 28%. With respect to engineering and computer science, approximately 20% of bachelors degrees (in 2008) were granted to women, so there may be work to be done there. My guess is that this is due to the stereotypical reputations of CS/Engineering (bearded hackers with poor hygiene and huge egos) being less appealing to women than to men.

    • by u38cg ( 607297 )
      But that's not the question. The question is, is that disparity natural or a result of social forces? More interesting would be a comparison of entry and exit points.
      • What's interesting is that if you talk about running or weight lifting, we've pretty much come to the conclusion that men are better simply because they are men, and it has nothing to do with socialization. We also pretty much know that certain races are better at sprinting (in general, not in every individual case) and it's simply by nature, and nothing to do with socialization or upbringing. However, if you start to talk about anything intellectual, it's quite taboo to say that it might be nature that i
    • by Andrio ( 2580551 )

      I often here people mention how they're bad at math, didn't do well at math in school, etc. It almost seems like a badge of honor. I hear it said with som pride. And you know what? Most of the time, when I hear it, it's a woman saying it. Men are often embarrassed to acknowledge that they're bad at math.

      I don't think women are worse at it than men, at least by innate ability, but they don't seem to value it quite as much.

    • Compare with women and chess [].

      The model revealed that the greater proportion of male chess players accounts for a whopping 96% of the difference in ability between the two genders at the highest level of play. If more women took up chess, you’d see that difference close substantially. ... So why are there so few female chess grandmasters? Because fewer women play chess. It’s that simple. This overlooked fact accounts for so much of the observable differences that other possible explanations, be t

      • Yes, but more women take the SAT than men, and yet the ratio of perfect math scores is 2:1 in favor of the men or 2.5:1 after adjusting for the fact that more women taken the test. Something's going on there. Maybe it's entirely socialization; I'm not discounting that possibility. But it's not that women are opting out of taking the SAT. It's also worth noting that the math on the SAT is not particularly advanced. So it's not that women's scores are suffering because they opt out of taking more advance
        • Yes, but more women take the SAT than men, and yet the ratio of perfect math scores is 2:1 in favor of the men or 2.5:1 after adjusting for the fact that more women taken the test.

          Performance in the SAT is not uncorrelated with effort put forth in the math classes prior to the test. That's a variable that's strongly influenced by socialization [].

          Given the example of things like chess, it would seem that socialization should probably be the default explanation until and unless evidence of other explanations

    • Re:uhh (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:15AM (#46453853)

      My guess is that this is due to the stereotypical reputations of CS/Engineering (bearded hackers with poor hygiene and huge egos) being less appealing to women than to men.

      You also have to take into account the much lower portion of the female population which is capable of growing a good beard. They may be self-selecting out of this profession due to a lack of capability in this area.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:27AM (#46453595)

    My ex-girlfriend was once helped through a math problem by her teacher, and they figured out that the solution was the half of x, so the teacher told her to write that down.

    She wrote down '/'.

  • Men just don't trust that women can do something important right. This includes math problems, but also meeting an important deadline, hiring important people, or taking decisions.

    I know this sounds like a troll post, but I am serious. The gender gap is not just a problem with maths, or because women get pregnant and care for a baby for several months. It is much broader, and women are indeed held back by men, because men prefer to stay in control in certain cases.

    However, I think we should approach it from

  • In the USA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ateocinico ( 32734 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:34AM (#46453625)

    In Venezuela women are perceived as better in math and sciences. And usually they are.

  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:36AM (#46453641) Homepage Journal
    In my experience, being a doofus does not significantly decrease mens self confidence. Employers tend to hire confidence, women tend to marry confidence. Any measure of "perceived ability" is measuring confidence. Male birds tend to puff their feathers out, and also to self report their superiority to mates, and if we can translate bird, no doubt the male peacocks report they are better at math.
    • by martas ( 1439879 )
      I was just thinking that. Perhaps part of the reason for the perceived difference in mathematical ability is that women are more willing to be honest about not understanding something? And being a PhD student in a highly mathematical field, let me assure you, most of the time none of us know what the fuck is going on, so pretending would make a big difference...
    • RTFA: this specific factor is mentioned, and was compensated for by giving different 'hiring managers' different levels of information about the applicant. Some got just a picture of the applicant. Some got a self-assessment by the applicant of how they thought they'd do on the test (and the authors note that, indeed, men tended to give over-optimistic self-assessments, and women over-pessimistic ones). Some got the applicants' actual results.

      The bias persisted in every case, it appears.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:39AM (#46453661)

    In the rush to kumbaya and make it out to be "the sisterhood versus the patriarchy," a lot of women and male feminists don't notice that there is a sizeable contingent of technically qualified women who by and large have little respect for most women. I saw this in college with the women who took CS seriously feeling like they had to work twice as hard because half of the girls were getting by, in their minds by "flipping their skirts and smiling the guys" to get them to do their work for them. A good friend of mine who was a mechanical engineering major observed the same thing in his department at a different university. In fact, our oldest female professor was notorious for being ruthless on the girls because she literally wanted to drive out any girl who had in her mind that women in CS should be allowed to get by in any fashion that even resembled "advancing on their backs."

    So if anything, I would say be careful about letting female engineers interview other potential candidates unless they are known to be genuinely fair-minded. You very well may find that it's actually the women, not the men, who are discriminating.

    • The thing about those kind of stereotypes is, just as TFA mentioned, women absorb them too. "Women are bad at math." "Women are catty with each other." And so on. When a woman buys into them, yet don't she doesn't see herself this way, she may consciously or unconsciously seeks to set herself apart and say "I'm not like other women!"

      Then they become the person that a sexist guy cites as his "female friend" that backs up his sexist theories that get perpetuated to the next generation.
      • I think what he's getting at is that women can be worse than men at judging other women. Effectively being MORE sexist in some effort to make sure only women who will make her proud can pass muster.

        Personally, I'm [sub-consciously] nicer to pretty girls above a certain intelligence and meaner to pretty girls below a certain intelligence and have to consciously correct for it in the work place.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:43AM (#46453681) Journal

    I could be that PERHAPS there IS a difference in some math skill between males and females?

    I know it's heinously non-politically-correct to suggest that the sorts of hormonal variations that developmentally result in gross anatomical changes might actually have an impact on the subtle chemistry of brain development as well...we're perfectly willing to recognize that (speaking broadly) women are in fact better at multitasking or that men are better at 3d shape understanding. Is it impossible that there isn't actually some real difference in, say, instinctual math that vanishes in a focused, testing setting?

    I'm 46; I've found over my life that often these sorts of 'common perceptions' commonly HAVE a kernel of truth in them. Often misapplied, misunderstood, or blown out of proportion, but nevertheless a root in fact.

    I will say that I've far more often seen women spend 15 minutes trying to precisely divide a dinner tab more precisely than men, who'll tend instead to just throw down roughly their share plus some, even if that results in the wait staff getting a huge tip. I know that's not specifically a math skill, but it's one of those real-world anecdotes that feed this perception.

    • by u38cg ( 607297 )
      Yeah, no-one is really arguing that these kind of differences cannot exist. The argument is, bring data. If you think there's a difference, go out and prove it.
    • Is it possible? Yes, anything is. But it's also not set in stone. While everyone assumes that men are better at spacial reasoning than women, I yawned my way through every spacial reasoning test they could throw at me when I was a kid and was declared gifted in spacial analysis, despite being female. (Probably why I enjoy hanging out in a relational database as an adult.) When we say "men are better at X" and "women are better at Y" it's all about averages.
  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:43AM (#46453683)

    If their clothes had pockets, they could carry money on their persons and get more counting practice in.

    Pockets. Think about it.

    • I know this is a joke, but there is a huge amount of truth in this as well. The worst are the FAKE pockets. Why, why do they bother with going through this elaborate pocket charade?
  • If their not, they're naturally bad at most everything. Science: It's a Girl Thing ! []
    Put out by "Women in research and innovation"; saying if you ain't hot, how you gonna be good?

  • Obviously. (Score:5, Funny)

    by meglon ( 1001833 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:14AM (#46453851)
    That's because men keep telling women that 4 inches is actually 8 inches.
  • by grep -v '.*' * ( 780312 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:19AM (#46453893)
    True story. I was at the doctors office yesterday. The female nurse assistant was getting blood pressure, weight, and height. 6" 7'.

    "Hey Julie, can you do math?" she called to the receptionist.

    I looked up at her. She repeated her question. I interjected "Huh?"

    "Oh, well I need your height in inches." "Well it's 12 times 6 and add 7." "I know, but I don't do math."

    "OK then, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, that's 5 feet, and one more makes 72, and then add 7."

    She looked at me like I had two heads. Well I do, but you know what I mean.

    "So that'd be seventy-nine, right?" She looked at me, I THINK she then looked at her friend for confirmation, and then wrote it down and said, "I never liked math in school. I even managed somehow to skip some of the mandatory classes." "I can tell", I thought.

    I just shook my head, wondering if she was a nurse or an assistant. Or maybe an assistant's assistant.

    Maybe she was new, maybe she was a temp, maybe it was just really a bad day. But I've never had someone who was so seemingly ?dumb? as she was. But she wasn't dumb, she just "didn't do math".

    I'm not a PhD at all or theoretical physicist or anything, but I just can't imagine. "I don't do math" is just like "I don't do words" to me. I couldn't imagine life without either of them.
  • Growing up I always remember girls being better at math.

  • Mattel released a talking Barbie doll that would say "Math class is tough!" That sounds like a pretty deliberate bias.

  • by fiziko ( 97143 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:32AM (#46454003) Homepage

    As a math and science teacher, I've seen multiple studies on performance of different genders in math and science. There is a gap in North America, although it's closing rapidly. (In the past 40 years, men have gone from having 20% higher averages than women to having 2% higher averages than women. Evolution doesn't act that quickly; it's a purely social bias.) Men still perform slightly higher than women in this region because there are still teachers out there who expect more from male students and push them harder. In other words, if the teacher *expects* female students to get 60s and down and *expects* male students to get 70s and higher, then that teacher who sees a male and a female student with 68% averages, then the teacher will work with the male to improve his performance, but not put in the same effort with the female student. It's a horrible thought, but it's still happening out there. The same is true for race factors, for "learning disabilities" (which I would rather call "learning anomalies" but that's another story) and more.

    Bottom line: there is a slight and closing gap between men and women in math and science in North America, not because there is any biological difference in this particular area, but because social biases that exist in the system are failing the female students more often than they are failing the male students.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:34AM (#46454017)
    From the article:

    The job was simple: As accurately and quickly as possible, add up sets of two-digit numbers in a 4-minute math sprint.

    So really the article is bogus as they are two different things (and if you think otherwise, it's probably because you've only every done arthimetic and don't really know what mathematics is).

    As it is, anyone in the UK who's ever watched Countdown will have been disabused very rapidly of any anti-woman bias in arthimetic skills.

  • Hardly anybody... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:46AM (#46454091)
    Hardly anybody hires based on gender bias. You do not hire a gender, you hire a person. It doesn't matter if women in general are or are not as good as men in general at a given task, as long as the particular woman you are interviewing is.

    All this whining about "gender bias" and the following excuses to try to take responsibility from people for their own failures sickens me.

    Now, more on the topic, regarding gender differences, the average is not very different from men and women, so for basic math there is not much of a real difference. On the top, though, which is considerably more relevant to math and logic related profession there is a real biological gap, and no it is not social: []

    Men and women are quite different in many things, it is a politically correct idiocy to try and force the concept that these differences are only aesthetic.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Hardly anybody hires based on gender bias. You do not hire a gender, you hire a person. It doesn't matter if women in general are or are not as good as men in general at a given task, as long as the particular woman you are interviewing is.

      Gender bias does not mean what you think it means. It is more subtle than simply deciding not to hire any women. For example when selecting candidates for interview, especially when there are many, some people are biased towards people they subconsciously identify with or think will fit in. This has been demonstrated many times by sending in nearly identical CVs for advertised jobs and finding that the one with the female name or the one with the foreign name doesn't get an interview while the male/native s

      • by Morpeth ( 577066 )

        As I said, this guys is actually making the case for the article -- he's making assumptions based on gender without facts, and facts won't change his mind.

      • That is just speculation based on your wishful thinking. People do have many bias when choosing things, the very act of choosing anything is a bias. Some of these bias are justified, some are not.

        Your idea that gender plays a greater role, or even a very significant one in the market is ridiculous, though. Companies exist to make money. In any activity women are as good as men and undervalued or underhired they automatically become a cheap asset and smart companies will hire them. These smart companies w
        • by Morpeth ( 577066 )

          "That is just speculation based on your wishful thinking."

          WRONG again. AmiMoJo is correct, there have been many, many studies -- if you bothered to look, showing bias in hiring based on things like gender or names (preference towards European for example)

          The wishful thinking (that gender bias doesn't exist to any meaningful extent) is on your part, not AmiMoJo's.

        • You're assuming that most companies constantly strive to be the best, and that is far from the case. Even grossly inefficient companies can go a long time if there isn't much competition, and companies normally go for "good enough" in fields that aren't their core competencies.

          I doubt that hiring the best regardless of mass unjustified bias is more of a competitive advantage than running software projects reasonably well, and we all know how that turns out.

  • Math ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @09:55AM (#46454157)

    The trouble with americans is that they think there is only one. (Math)

    But it is plural - Mathematics

    In the rest of the world its called Maths

Trap full -- please empty.