Recently there has been a stormy controversy about women and their abilities in math and the sciences, including astronomy and physics coming out of Harvard. Harvard’s President Summers, in an unguarded (or simply unthinking) moment, decided that the reason there are fewer women in science than men must have a “biological” component – in other words, women must be inferior to men in science. QED. Quite an intellectual tour-de-force, but since he’s a big guy I guess he could get away with it (I doubt any woman in academia could).
But a recent discussion on the astronomy lists caused me to actually put down in writing why a lot of girls abandon science and engineering – it’s simple clear nasty misogyny – that’s hatred of women, for those who don’t know. Yes, like other awful human vices like bigotry and racism and religious hatred, it cuts through all levels of society and cuts through it’s victim’s souls like a knife. But ordinarily in balanced civilized environments (that’s called “diversity”), people who try to indulge their private vices get pushback – from their coworkers, friends, and bosses – fast and hard. So going over the line has a price.