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The Outlook for Girls In Engineering and Mathematics

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The Outlook for Girls In Engineering and Mathematics

What is the outlook of girls in engineering and math? An article in CNN Money has decided to tackle this question from many perspectives. Sahadi (2017) explains that, even though it would be quite easy for a woman to find a job in both engineering and computer sciences, most of them are discouraged to follow those career paths regardless of the amount of stimulus given by different organizations. One of the hypothesis that try to explain such situation relies on the theory that women may feel easily overwhelmed by the amount of males in such field, which would cause them to make a bigger effort in order to be heard. This hypothesis, however, is a little circular, since in that case the cause is too little amount of women in STEM fields while the solution would rely entirely on the will of women to engage in such fields.

Another known hypothesis mentioned by Sahadi is one of the pay gap. Women in general get paid less than men for doing the same job, however Sahadi (2017) also mentions that, once they ask for a raise, they usually get it. So, in this case, this may suggest that men have a more bold attitude towards the workforce environment. Since boldness is considered a traditionally male aptitude, social studies may have something to say about that.

The entire issue of women positioning in the engineering and mathematics workforce can also be explained with the little amount of women that decide to engage in such majors. It is also to note that these majors tend to be considered harder and therefore have a higher number of dropouts according to Hubbley (2013), a writer from Payscale. Sites like The Best College (2017) and The Tab (2017) tend to follow this line of thought.

This could lead to the hypothesis that, overall, hard dedication to majors may not be a female priority. But why would these be? It definitely doesn't have to do with less IQ or mental capacity, but it could be enrooted in the fact that maybe women are already expected to perform less than men in things related to career. Even though there has been a women's liberation movement stimulating women to engage in traditionally male fields, the fact still remains that from an entirely cultural perspective, men are always expected to perform harder in everything. This would be a sociological explanation more in line with the social sciences.

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From a more “organic” explanation which doesn't entirely take into account social issues, evolutionary psychology may have a thing or two to say. From an evolutionary point of view, women have been dedicated to more home-related tasks and this may have made their DNA develop in a certain manner. This would back up the idea that it's not that women work less hard than men, it's just that they work harder in a totally different set of skills. Now the question arises: could this apparently pre-programmed DNA be transmuted? How much can sociological changes and the rationalization of our own evolutionary path affect evolution itself? The answer to this can only be found in the future, for now all one can do is speculate about it. But one thing is for sure: there is currently a clash between the organic and the sociological structure. And this clash could explain some of the current tension between different groups that range from the most traditional and conservative to the most liberal and progressive.

The core that explains this entire issue lies very deep in human nature which always tries to surpass itself, a phenomenon known as transhumanism (Bostrom, 2003). By this logic, we can be sure that human beings will never remain satisfied being what they currently are, what nature has expected them to be. Quite the contrary, humans are defying creatures capable of going against the very mandates of their own biology. In those regards, women can very well end up winning the war both against evolutionary psychology and human history and take control over their destinies. From a progressive perspective, this is the only way to go. Since under such perspective equality is the ultimate goal, this cannot be achieved if either nature or history get in the way. So there is this impending desire to defy the fabric of reality itself and go beyond what is expected. A recurrence to the Babel Tower biblical myth once again. A conservative outlook would warn about the dangers of this defiance, and would advise a return to the old ways, this is to the traditional gender roles. What we are seeing here is the encounter of two entirely different perspectives: one of change, and one of permanence; one of risk, and one of security; one of defiance, and one of submission. It would be no wonder if this debate could never be solved.

However, above any pre-conceived ideological background, most would agree that human dignity should reign above everything. In those regards, whether traditionally male fields remain that way or see a radical 180 degrees turn should remain in the hands of women to decide. This means no outside force should try to politicize this or use it for any ends that could damage the individual freedom. Different forms of populism from different sides of the political spectrum are a danger which should be taken into consideration. On the other hand, there should be skepticism towards any intent of trying to switch the course of history in order to fill one agenda or another. This has proven many times to end badly.

The entry of women into the engineering and math workforce is an organic, unpredictable issue, and should be treated as such. Only the spontaneity of human decision can have a final say on whether things will change or remain the same. For now, all we can do is wait and see; and above everything, be tolerant if the case were that the end result does not comply with our previous expectations. Expectations, after all, are socially engineered and can change during the lifetime of an individual, much more during history itself. Is there going to be an impressive, revolutionizing outlook in the entry of girls into engineering and math? Only time will tell.

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