Concern for Women-in-STEM

You can hardly be unaware of the constant efforts to encourage more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). So great is the number of initiatives and support groups working to this end that it defies attempts to list them all, though a few have been given here. Yet if medicine is added, the number of women studying STEMM subjects exceeds the number of men by 8% (2015 data). Moreover, even if attention is confined to the pure sciences the number of male students is hardly greater than the number of female students (university entrant numbers in 2015 were 21,585 and 20,670 respectively).

Women are massively dominant as university under-graduates in teaching, nursing, law, psychology, veterinary medicine, languages and medicine. 76% of undergraduates are studying subjects dominated by women. But there are no initiatives to encourage more men into these areas. The concern is all one way.

Women dominate in people-related subjects, whilst men dominate in thing-related subjects. Gender balance is more important in the former, because “things” do not care about gender. It follows that the disparity which is the more important to tackle is the lack of men in people-related subjects, particularly teaching, psychology, law, social work and nursing. But instead the emphasis is entirely on getting more women into thing-related subjects. The reason, of course, is that this is not driven by either fairness or impact on society as a whole, but purely by an entrenched and intransigent gender political bias.

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