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Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape

Psychological Science in the Public Interest 2014, Vol. 15(3) 75–141. Stephen J. Ceci1, Donna K. Ginther, Shulamit Kahn, and Wendy M. Williams

“Much has been written in the past two decades about women in academic science careers, but this literature is contradictory. Many analyses have revealed a level playing field, with men and women faring equally, whereas  other analyses have suggested numerous areas in which the playing field is not level. The only widely-agreed-upon conclusion is that women are underrepresented in college majors, graduate school programs, and the professoriate in those fields that are the most mathematically intensive, such as geoscience, engineering, economics, mathematics/computer science, and the physical sciences. In other scientific fields (psychology, life science, social science), women are found in much higher percentages. In this monograph, we undertake extensive life-course analyses comparing the trajectories of women and men in  math-intensive fields with those of their counterparts in non-math-intensive fields in which women are close to parity with or even exceed the number of men. We begin by examining early-childhood differences in spatial processing and follow this through quantitative performance in middle childhood and adolescence, including high school coursework. We then focus on the transition of the sexes from high school to college major, then to graduate school, and, finally, to careers in academic science. The results of our myriad analyses reveal that early sex differences in spatial and mathematical reasoning need not  stem from biological bases, that the gap between average female and male math ability is narrowing (suggesting strong environmental influences), and that sex differences in math ability at the right tail show variation over time and across  nationalities, ethnicities, and other factors, indicating that the ratio of males to females at the right tail can and does  change. We find that gender differences in attitudes toward and expectations about math careers and ability (controlling for actual ability) are evident by kindergarten and increase thereafter, leading to lower female propensities to major in math-intensive subjects in college but higher female propensities to major in non-math-intensive sciences, with overall science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors at 50% female for more than a decade. Post-college, although men with majors in math-intensive subjects have historically chosen and completed PhDs in these fields more often than women, the gap has recently narrowed by two thirds; among non-math-intensive STEM majors, women are more likely than men to go into health and other people-related occupations instead of pursuing PhDs. Importantly, of those who obtain doctorates in math-intensive fields, men and women entering the professoriate have equivalent access to tenure-track academic jobs in science, and they persist and are remunerated at comparable rates—with some caveats that we discuss. The transition from graduate programs to assistant professorships shows more pipeline leakage in the fields in which women are already very prevalent (psychology, life science, social science) than in the math-intensive fields in which they are underrepresented but in which the number of females holding assistant professorships is at least commensurate with (if not greater than) that of males. That is, invitations to interview for tenure-track positions in math-intensive fields—as well as actual employment offers—reveal that female PhD applicants fare at least as well as their male counterparts in math-intensive fields.”

 

Executive Order – Improving the Security of Consumer Financial Transactions

“Given that identity crimes, including credit, debit, and other payment card fraud, continue to be a risk to U.S. economic activity, and given the economic consequences of data breaches, the United States must take further action to enhance the security of data in the financial marketplace. While the U.S. Government’s credit, debit, and other paymentContinue Reading

FACT SHEET: Immigration Accountability Executive Action

“The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.  Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system. These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border,Continue Reading

IMF announces all online data free of charge effective January 1, 2015

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF “…Finally, let me turn to another very important aspect of the IMF’s statistical work—data publication. We very much recognize the importance of data as a public good. In this context, we are upgrading our data platforms and improving the way we distribute data and statistics to our membership throughout the world. ThinkContinue Reading

The Transmission of Liquidity Shocks

IMF – The Transmission of Liquidity Shocks: The Role of Internal Capital Markets and Bank Funding Strategies, Philippe D Karam; Ouarda Merrouche; Moez Souissi; Rima Turk. November 19, 2014. “We analyze the transmission of bank-specific liquidity shocks triggered by a credit rating downgrade through the lending channel. Using bank-level data for US Bank Holding Companies, we find thatContinue Reading

Subcommittee Finds Wall Street Commodities Actions Add Risk To Economy, Businesses, Consumers

News release: “Wall Street banks have become heavily involved with physical commodities markets, increasing risks to financial stability, industry, consumers and markets, a two-year investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found. The investigation’s findings, contained in a 396-page bipartisan report, add important new details to the public debate about the breakdown of theContinue Reading

The Tightening Web of Russian Internet Regulation

Tselikov, Andrey, The Tightening Web of Russian Internet Regulation (November 20, 2014). Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2014-15. Available for download at SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2527603 “Over the past two years, systematic Internet regulation has increased more in Russia than anywhere else in the world. A series of progressively more restrictive legislative developments between the summer of 2012Continue Reading

‘Text neck’ is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine

Lindsey Bever, Washington Post: “The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’sContinue Reading

WSJ – How Paperbacks Helped the U.S. Win World War II

Jennifer Maloney – “A decade after the Nazis’ 1933 book burnings, the U.S. War Department and the publishing industry did the opposite, printing 120 million miniature, lightweight paperbacks for U.S. troops to carry in their pockets across Europe, North Africa and the Pacific. The books were Armed Services Editions, printed by a coalition of publishers withContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Bank Capital Reforms, Climate Change, FSOC, Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier, Small Business Innovation Research

Bank Capital Reforms: Initial Effects of Basel III on Capital, Credit, and International Competitiveness, GAO-15-67: Published: Nov 20, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 20, 2014. Building Partner Capacity: State and DOD Need to Define Time Frames to Guide and Track Global Security Contingency Fund Projects, GAO-15-75: Published: Nov 20, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 20, 2014. Climate Change: BetterContinue Reading

Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2015 to 2024

“The Congress faces an array of policy choices as it confronts the prospect of large annual budget deficits and further increases in the already-large government debt that are projected to occur in coming decades under current law. To help inform lawmakers about the budgetary implications of changing federal policies, CBO periodically issues volumes of policyContinue Reading

Urban Water Blueprint

Mapping conservation solutions to the global water challenge – The Nature Conservancy “This report addresses a critical issue facing mayors in cities around the world: access to clean and adequate water supplies. The growth of urban populations, coupled with incidences of sudden climate stress and long-term land degradation of drinking watersheds, pose increasing risks toContinue Reading