Women in Science
The National Academy of Sciences produced a report on women in science a few months back. The basic conclusion of the report is that there is no cognitive, hormonal, or evolutionary explanation for why women are underrepresented in science. Instead, the report suggests that women face discrimination every step along the way towards becoming scientists and engineers.
I have no particular insight into or knowledge about the underlying research. But, I was struck by the irony in a point raised by Richard Posner on the always excellent Becker-Posner blog. The conclusion of the National Academies report is that there is nothing intrinsic to being a woman that helps or hinders her ability to do science. One might also infer that there is nothing intrinsic to being a woman that helps or hinders you in studying the question of why women are underrepresented in science. And, yet, as Posner points out 17 of the 18 members of the panel were women. The only male member of the panel also happens to be the Chancellor of the University of California, a highly politicized position.
Especially given that women are underrepresented in science, what scientist in her right mind would assemble a nearly all-women panel to review the scientific evidence on women in science?