TABLE 2-8 Female-to-Male Odds Ratio of Post-Baccalaureate Career Paths by Family Status

Family Status

Grad School or Work

Grad School

Grad School in S/E

Work in S/E






Married without children





Married with children





*p<.05 **p<.01 ***p<.001 (two-tailed test), for the hypothesis that there is no mean difference between males and females.

Table 2-8 presents the female-to-male odds ratio of post-baccalaureate career paths by family status. There are five destinations for graduates with a bachelor’s degree in science and engineering: (1) out of work and school altogether, (2) graduate school in science/engineering, (3) graduate school in nonscience/ engineering, (4) work in science/engineering, and (5) work in nonscience/engineering. For the five outcomes, we made four contrasts and found that in all four, married women with children are disadvantaged in terms of science/engineering careers. Column 1 shows that married women with children are less likely than men to either work or attend graduate school. In column 2, we see that they are less likely than men to be in graduate school rather than working. Furthermore, married women with children are less likely than men to be in science/engineering, either in work (column 3) or in graduate school (column 4). Similarly, we also find married women with children disadvantaged in terms of other labor force outcomes.7


While the conventional wisdom often draws on casual analyses of non-representative data, our tentative conclusions are based on very good data and careful analyses. Table 2-9 shows the contrast between conventional wisdom and our findings.

There appear to be two types of simplistic explanations. At one extreme, some observers claim that gender differences in science are all due to innate biological differences between men and women. At the other extreme, some scholars are tempted to make a sweeping claim that all gender differences are due to discrimination against women in school and at work. Our research shows that both positions are wrong. Otherwise, it would not be possible to explain either the rapid improvement of women’s position in science, which cannot be attributed to


Xie and Shauman (2003). Ibid, Chapter 7.

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