Psychological Science 31 (3):338-341 (2020)

Marion Boulicault
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Is the feminist project to bring about parity for women and men in traditionally male fields doomed? Recent headlines trumpet that "The more gender equality, the fewer women in STEM." The American Enterprise Institute proposes that it is futile to fund efforts to increase women in STEM fields, given that, “as paradoxical and counter-intuitive as it seems, female underrepresentation in STEM may actually be the result of the great advances in female empowerment, progress, and advancement that have taken place in recent decades, and not the result of systemic gender discrimination.” Meanwhile, men's rights activists exalt new findings as evidence that women just naturally don’t prefer science. These bold claims stem from the “Gender Equality Paradox” hypothesis, which is simply this: Some of the countries with the highest gender equity scores on internationally-comparable indices also show the largest average sex differences in prefrences for STEM careers. In other words, in countries with more gender equality, like Norway and Sweden, fewer women choose to enter STEM fields than in countries like Algeria or Turkey. Over the past year, the GenderSci Lab has been engaged in a critical analysis of the “Gender Equality Paradox” hypothesis and its accompanying assumptions and implications. In this paper, we share our reanalysis of some of the data used by Stoet and Geary (2018) and argue that their findings are likely spurious.
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