TABLE 2-9 Comparison Between Conventional Thinking and Our Findings
change in biological differences between the sexes, or the interaction between gender and parental status, which suggests that factors outside educational and work settings play an important role.
Women’s underrepresentation in science/engineering has deep social, cultural, and economic roots that will not be transformed by a few isolated policy interventions or programs. Increasing women’s representation in science/engineering requires many social, cultural, and economic changes that are large-scale and interdependent. After spending ten years searching for explanations, our research indicates we should stop looking for simple explanations and easy fixes, as attractive as they may be to us as human beings. Instead, we should look at the actual social processes that generate gender differences in science, and base policy interventions on empirical knowledge about these processes. Finally, while there may be policy changes that could address some of the complex reasons for women’s underrepresentation, we should not expect any individual policy change to bring about gender equity in science overnight.
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