I went to an all-male engineering college. In fact, to this day, I cannot understand how serious learning can go on with women of the opposite sex actually in the same room as testosterone-afflicted young men. Maybe it isn't.
Anyhoo, that was back in the Dark Ages of Engineering, and women of all genders are now welcome - nay, urged, begged, dragooned - to enlist in our pocket-protector profession.
But they aren't.
Now two new studies by economists and social scientists have reached a perhaps startling conclusion: An important part of the explanation for the gender gap, they are finding, are the preferences of women themselves. When it comes to certain math- and science-related jobs, substantial numbers of women - highly qualified for the work - stay out of those careers because they would simply rather do something else. [More]Well, I never! After all we've done for them!
There is a flip side to this discovery. Those women who are drawn to science and technology remain a departure from the norm. While this can be a challenge, it can also be an advantage.
These things will work themselves out over generations, not months. The start we have made to open all careers to all people will doubtless prove wonderfully wise long after we have struggled to understand.