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WHO WILL DO THE SCIENCE OF THE FUTURE?: A SYMPOSIUM ON CAREERS OF WOMEN IN SCIENCE
me. The trivial example, back to your presentation, is that in our law schools I believe the majority of law students, in the United States, are now women. I think it is even a significant majority, and yet assertiveness is surely a criterion for selection of law students. At least it wouldn't be totally inappropriate, but the other example I wanted to give is one where there is no pipeline explanation. There is no social postpuberty explanation, and it comes from the National Geographic Society's Geographic Bee. There is a competition every year; some 8,000 to 10,000 middle schools participate. The children are between the ages of 8 and 11. At the school level, when they compete in the geography bee, and there is a lot of science, let me say in geography the way it is defined, the girls and the boys do equally well.
They then go on to compete at a regional and state level. At the state level, the girls win about one-third of the time and the boys about two-thirds of the time. The winners in the states go to Washington, about 50 or 60 of them, and they have a competition to determine which 12 will appear on television for the final end.
Out of that group, typically it is 11 boys and one girl, and there was one year when that one girl won the whole thing. That was pretty impressive, but the Geographic Society cannot understand what this is all about, and they tried. If any of you want a research grant from the Education Foundation at the Geographic Society, and you have a way to figure out what is causing this issue for 8- to 11-year-old kids then they would like to know. I think it is profoundly curious.
Response: Dr. Fox: Judges.
Participant: No, it isn't. You would have to say there is gender bias in the questions—these questions are quite explicit questions that have right and wrong answers. It isn't judges.
Participant: I would like to ask a slightly narrower question that I realize puts Mildred on the spot, but I think the fascinating issue with the MIT report is the question of why this happened.
You stressed, for example, the supportive nature of the president. Why did this happen? There must have been a lot of discussion on this or at least if you would be willing to give us your personal view, I would be very interested in that.
Response: Dr. Dresselhaus: Could you clarify your questions why what happened, why there was a —
Participant: The degree of inequality in treatment of apparently very distinguished faculty in issues such as space, for example, I mean is it because, I don't know, I could hazard many guesses, but I would be interested in hearing what you think.
Response: Dr. Dresselhaus: I remember when we got together the first time, we went around the room. The first cycle was for more than half of the people present —self-denial that there was any difference, that our treatment had been different. By the time we went around the room the second time, and we heard what the others said, we said: “Oh, that happened to me, too,” and so, I think a large part of the difference is that women do not ask for, they are not as aggressive in asking for equality in salaries, and equality in amenities. I speak for myself. I