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I just took the Gender-Science IAT. The background questions about oneself have a strong US-centric bias, and 1) they ask you whether you think that a factor is important or now, rathen than whether you think the factor is true or not; 2) they ask you to predict what fraciton of males/females at a typical US educational institution will do this or that thing - again, is it a question about facts, or about attitudes.

The particular topic of women in science irks me, because when I was a student at university in Madrid there were some scientific degrees dominated by women (Chemistry, Biology) and no noticeable discrimination in Geology, Math or Physics, while the number of women studying engineering was higher than you would expect from the conventional wisdom (or direct experience) in English-Speaking countries. To me, as long as I was in Spain, this was a non-issue.

I have to say I am not particularly impressed and don't feel like taking the other tests. For instance, I expect to be asked questions about the interactions between race and socioeconomic characteristics in the US, without distinction of whether I am being asked about facts or opinion, or about correlation or causation.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 10:05:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't especially care for the questions either, but the interesting part arises from the way you associate the words with the categories and the speed at which you do that when it becomes more complex.  I'm not sure of the purpose behind the questions unless they are trying to correlate people's biases as shown by their reactions to the implicit association test itself and their background and concious knowledge of their prejudices.

My chemistry degree also had a high proportion of female undergraduates, but go up and up to PhD, Post Doc level, teaching posts, professorships... what do the proportions look like there?  In my experience, it is extremely male dominated at the higher levels.  It is also hugely inaccessible and these two reasons combined are why I decided to abandon my ambition to be an academic researcher.

Perhaps the UK is the worst culprit, but I doubt it is a great deal better elsewhere - I've attended events/conferences/symposiums in a number of European countries and they have all been very inaccessible and had a majority of male speakers.

I happen to be speaking at a few events at the moment about disability and gender issues in the workplace and I use my experiences of the physical sciences as an example to illustrate multiple discrimination against disabled women.

And before you go tutting at that, I have plenty of examples of direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation against women and against disabled people that myself and other colleagues have come up against and I'll gladly share some of those if you want to discuss it.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 10:22:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does it look like?

Take the Faculty of Chemical Sciences at Complutense University in Madrid, for instance...

The Dean is a man.
3 of 5 vice-deans are women.
1 of 2 secretaries is a woman.
The head of administration ia a man, then there are four women under him running the sections.
As for the departments:
15 of 27 professors of Biochemistry are women
6 of 14 professors in materials science are women
In chemical engineering: 2 of 11 "chairs", 7 of 12 tenured professors, 5 of 9 professors under contract, one assistant professor, 2 of 5 associates, 0 of 3 assidtants, and 1 of 2 hired researchers are women
3 of 8 professors of applied mathematics are women
In analytical chemistry: 2 of 4 "chairs", 12 of 19 tenured professors, 4 of 6 hired professors, 0 of 1 associate professor, 1 of 3 Assistants, and 1 of 2 research fellows are women
14 out of 42 professors in Physical Chemistry and 3 out of 8 postdocs are women
In inorganic chemistry: 2/7 chairs, 12/18 tenured professors, 2 of 4 hired professors, and 5/7 associate professors are women
In organic chemistry: 1/10 chairs (4/5 of a lower tier), 7/15 tenured professors (3/3 of a lower tier),  7/10 hired professors, 1/1 associate, and 1/1 assistant are women

As for the student body, it's been over 50% female for years.


"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 10:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's pretty decent, is there a similar pattern across Spain?  It certainly isn't the case for the UK.

There is a campaign and support/resources within the UK to get more women into sciences and engineering and to persuade those who left to come back. Add that to strengthening equality/discrimination legislation there is slow change in some universities but not the Redbrick ones to any significant degree.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 12:02:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's the thing: in Spain, hiring at the University level is not discretionary, it is done be committee according to national standards and via competitive examinations. The same is true of, say, the awarding of Ph.D grants, access to medical internships, or the various branches of the legal profession. This leads to a high level of equality of opportunity. The reason the system is designed this way is precisely the very strong cultural tradition of nepotism and clientelism. Nepotism persistsbut the system is strongly meritocratic and, as a result, more egalitarian.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 12:42:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's interesting, thanks.  Miles apart from the UK system.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 12:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another problem I have is that they give you 4 categories and then they tell you which words they define in each category. Then they train you to match words with categories, then to match words with two categories in the "standard prejudice" way, and then to match words with two categories against the prejudice. It would prefer for them to have just one series of questions in which not only the words but also the categories changed randomly. The way the test was, it seemed to be designed to cause mistakes in the last round.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 03:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you just annoyed that it has told you you are prejudiced when you don't think you are?

The reason that 'mistakes' are made in the last round is because we unconciously have strong associations for certain words for each of the categories.  Even if on a concious level we think we don't. It simply illustrates that.

I don't especially agree with the wording of the results as 'you have shown a strong preference for x,y,z' - I think 'shown a strong association of' is a better way of phrasing it. Some tests say association, some say preference - and you don't have to answer any of the questions in order to take the test and get a result.

I expect that it does change across cultures and countries and for me it changes across categories too.  I still think it is interesting as an indicator of where associatons/prejudices lie.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 03:47:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason that 'mistakes' are made in the last round is because we unconciously have strong associations for certain words for each of the categories.  Even if on a concious level we think we don't. It simply illustrates that.

I'm annoyed because there's no need to 'train' you in the opposite direction, but they do it anyway.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 04:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it just to compare the differences in reaction speeds?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 04:08:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you randomized the categories as well a  the words you could extract the categories from the aggregate data and you would be sure the order in which you do the exrcises is not affecting the results.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 04:20:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True.

But I think the order - standard/not-standard prejudice - is randomized. And I think I have seen somewhere on their site that they correct results for the standard effect of order. I am not sure of either as it has been a couple of years since I was really into those tests.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 06:28:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that the subjects of the tests and the in particular the questionaires are very US-centric. Some of the tests therefore measure prejudices not relevant in say Spain. I tested the weapons-race one which gave me little or no connection between black/white faces and weapons/harmless objects. That is quite unsurprising considering I do not come in contact with guns much and there are few stereotypical cultural images in my surroundings regarding ethnicity and weapons, except the one that finns carry knifes which this test does not really measure. None of the white faces looked finnish.

Speaking of women in science a friend of mine went to a conference for women in physics which was totally dominated by indian women. Because apparently in India physics is not a very masculine thing to do, but rather a feminine pursuit. So that particular test would need to measure other cathegories then science/liberal arts connection with male/female to be valid in India.

What I like about the site is not their questionaires but the test themselves. Because some are relevant for my cultural context. It is likely that I prefer, say white or young over black or old. To actually measure it gives me some points of references to observe my own behaviour and change it.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Feb 11th, 2007 at 12:05:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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