PFI | Gender, science, and myths of merit


On July 9th 2015, Prof. Marlene Zuk from the University of Minnesota visited GA Tech to speak to the students of the CCE and CCHF about “Gender, Science and myths of merit”. Prof. Zuk, an evolutionary biologist and behavioral ecologist that studies insect behavior, has explored how humans use animal behavior to think about how we behave ourselves.

Here is the abstract for the presentation: “Despite some recent progress, women still lag behind men in the sciences, especially at more senior levels of achievement. What’s responsible for this disparity? People like former Harvard president Larry Summers suggest that women and men have different intrinsic abilities that lead to women being less capable at math and science. Others believe that women choose not to advance, perhaps because of the difficulties in achieving a “work-life balance”. What does the evidence say? I suggest that instead of either of these explanations, much of the problem lies in our biases in evaluating men and women. Even when we believe ourselves to be egalitarian, we may act to favor our unconscious beliefs about the sexes. The challenge now is to recognize those biases and correct them. I will present some of the current data on gender in science and suggest some measures we can adopt for greater equity.”

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