Dr. Larry Summers, Harvard's president, remains under siege for remarks made in his Jan. 14 address to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Dr. Summers suggested that there might be three major reasons why women are underrepresented in the higher reaches of science and ranked them in order of importance.
First is what Dr. Summers calls the "high-powered job hypothesis," where success demands putting in 80-hour weeks, and men are more willing or capable to do so. In support of how marriage and family impact women's careers, he added that when one does see women in the higher reaches of science, they tend to be unmarried or have no children.
Dr. Summers' second hypothesis is that there are sex differences in IQ and aptitude at the high end, and his third is that socialization and discrimination might explain some of the underrepresentation.
It's Dr. Summers' second hypothesis that caused MIT biologist Dr. Nancy Hopkins to leave the lecture, explaining to a Boston Globe (Jan. 17, 2005) reporter that, "I would've either blacked out or thrown up." Previous temper tantrums served Dr. Hopkins well as reported in the Women's Freedom Network Newsletter (Jan./Feb. 2000), "MIT Tarnishes Its Reputation with Junk Gender Science," by Judith Kleinfeld. After claiming sex discrimination, "Professor Hopkins received an endowed chair, a 20 percent salary increase, $2.5 million of research funds from internal MIT sources, a 5,000 square foot laboratory, an invitation to join the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and an invitation to the White House where president and Mrs. Clinton praised her courage and expressed the hope that other institutions would follow the MIT example."
Virtually all academic literature on sex, IQ and aptitude reach the conclusion that there are differences between men and women. While the mean intelligence between men and women is similar, the variance differs significantly. Women cluster more about the mean while men are more spread out. That means fewer women, relative to men, are at both the low end and the high end of the intelligence and aptitude spectrum. That might partially explain why so many men are in jail compared to women, and why more geniuses like Mozart and Einstein are men. On last year's SAT math test, more than twice as many boys as girls scored in the top range (750-800).
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