January 8, 2013

Academic specialties by sex

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a fun interactive graphic of the sexes of the authors of a couple of million academic papers going back to 1665. For the last 20 years, the most male dominated field studied is math, then operations research, then philosophy, and economics. In philosophy, the most masculine subfields include space and time and set theory, and the most feminine moral philosophy. 

In general, women researchers find living things more interesting, especially young living things.

Especially feminine subfields include sociology of gender, anthropology of dance ethnology, cognitive science of early childhood development, pollution and occupational health of cancer risk, and mycology of yeast.

The single most masculine subfield in the study is the mathematics of Riemannian manifolds.

The usual way to think about this is that this represents a crisis. Steps Must Be Taken to smash the glass ceiling holding women down in Riemannian manifolds so that they can bring their valuably diverse insights to solving Riemannian manifolds, whatever those are. The sacred goal of Diversity requires homogenizing every field of intellect!

On the other hand, my view (being a Larry Summers-like thought criminal) is that children and other living things are important, and I'm glad that smart women are working enthusiastically on subjects that they find fascinating.

In contrast, luring would-be dance ethnologists into studying Riemannian manifolds is just going to waste the time of the current Riemannian manifold experts and annoy the natural dance ethnologists. And bribing smart female cancer researchers to go instead into Riemannian manifolds strikes me -- somebody who had cancer back in the 1990s and is greatly appreciative of the work of cancer researchers, male and female -- as not a win-win proposition for society as a whole.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I majored in Philosophy there were a few girls, mainly interested in Continental thinkers... Derrida, Foucault, Alan Sokal, et al.

Gilbert P.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Riemannian manifolds? Bozhemoi? This, I know from nothing. What I am going to do?

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a father of girls, what would be far, far more interesting to me is to know the percentage of women taking certain majors who are married, the average age at marriage, the average number of children they have and the family income say, 10 years after graduation.

HAR said...

For education 1991-2010, 46% of papers were written by women.

However, if you look at the subfield of "minority studies," it's 57%, the highest of any subfield within the category.

San Franciscan non-monk said...

There are two circles for Riemannian manifolds for some reason, the other representing substantially more people and lying (pun intended?) further to the right. So it looks like group theory el mas macho.

Steve Sailer said...

"There are two circles for Riemannian manifolds for some reason,"

It would be funny if the two groups of Riemannian manifold savants hate each other for reasons that nobody outside their subfield can begin to comprehend.

Anonymous said...



Where's Derbyshire when we need him?






Anonymous said...

I had a freshman composition teacher once observe that women tend to be more subjective and men tend to be more objective. I think this is true. It is probably why women and feminists gravitate toward sociological theories like social constructivism other than it rationalizes their victim ideology.

When I was in the public schools in the 60s and 70s I recall having an equal number of men and women as teachers. The principal was almost always male. When I search for those schools on the web today, it appears that my old schools are now dominated by women and almost every principal is a SINGLE woman and there is a hefty number of single woman teachers. This seems a little creepy.

Andrew

Karen said...

The most socially useful information is likely to come from the cancer risk researchers, followed, in a tie, by the mycologists and the operations experts.

Knowing something of academia, I am absolutely certain that the Riemannian manifold mathematicians hate each other with the kinds of hate that only people who have to spend ten minutes explaining their jobs to the public, only to see their interlocutors eyes glaze, can muster.

SFG said...

"Speaking as a father of girls, what would be far, far more interesting to me is to know the percentage of women taking certain majors who are married, the average age at marriage, the average number of children they have and the family income say, 10 years after graduation."

Trust me, sir. If your girls go into dorky fields, they will have no problems having a husband.

Anonymous said...

To the dad that posted above, i think girls get married based on the school they attend. Pick an engineering school that is heavily male like lehigh and you re good to go. Pick smith... Not so much

Power Child said...

I've been doing some work for an independent film distribution company, so over the last couple months I've gotten to see a lot of indie films that are just now coming to market. I've noticed that women indie filmmakers tend to make movies about groups of people who know each other (families, coworkers, etc.) while their male counterparts tend to make movies about individuals facing a new set of circumstances. Also, if a movie has supernatural elements, a man's movie is more likely to have those elements be dangerous.

These aren't profound realizations, of course, but they kinda fit, so that's interesting.

WMarkW said...

You know who has no time for this gender-ceiling crap? Asians, like my wife and her relatives. Talk to the younger generation about what they're studying in college, and its something related to computers or electronics by males and biology by females.

Anononymous said...

Wikipedia:
"the theorem says that the curvature of a surface can be determined...
Bernhard Riemann extended Gauss's theory to higher dimensional spaces"


"Higher dimensional Lorentzian Einstein manifolds are used in modern theories of gravity, such as string theory, M-theory and supergravity. "

We can now can now calculate the curvature of imaginary surplus dimensions.

carol said...

Where I am, psychology still seems to be going strong with women. And social work of course. The latter majors actually do find work in the burgeoning social services industry.

Me, I chose history. Too butch - ?

WMarkW said...

>I had a freshman composition teacher once observe that women tend to be more subjective and men tend to be more objective<

Yes, women have more neural connectors between their brain hemispheres than men, so they don't distinguish subjective and objective as strongly. This makes them well-suited to careers requiring verbal and listening skills, like teaching and nursing. And less suited to those in which the need for socialization reduces productivity, like software development, mathematics and aviation.

Bobbala said...

I'm a little suspicious. I think you're pulling my leg. The most masculine of the male dominated field is the study of curves --- lol

Truth said...

The oldest general truism in the world;

Men choose to make their living with inanimate objects, women choose to make their living with people, plants, and animals.

Bill said...

Yes, women have more neural connectors between their brain hemispheres than men, so they don't distinguish subjective and objective as strongly.

WMarkW


In other words, they lack objectivity. As a rule, women simply cannot think objectively in the same manner as men. It's beyond them.

Subjective thought, however, is an entirely different matter. Women can dance circles around men where that's concerned, hence their interest in soap operas, which are all about subjective analysis of social puzzles.

Try this:

Ask a man, when he is expounding on some subject that interests him, what that has to do with him and his family. Although he will probably come up with an answer, he'll have to first stop to think about it, because that wasn't on his mind.

Ask the same of a woman, and she'll answer immediately because that was her reference point. Sexual dimorphism in humans is profound both mentally and physically.

ironrailsironweights said...

I've recently read that the field of veterinary medicine has been affected in a big way by the influx of women. Most female veterinarians want to work in suburban practices treating dogs and cats, and as a result there's a glut of small-animal vets in some areas with a growing degree of unemployment.

Yet at the same time there's a serious shortage of veterinarians who treat farm animals. Many of the few who remain in the field are approaching retirement, so the problem's only going to get worse. As you've probably guessed by now, the main reason for the shortage is that female veterinarians generally do not like to treat large animals, except sometimes for horses, and with almost 75% of veterinary school graduates being female there just aren't enough men to go around.

Peter

albert magnus said...

FYI, Riemannian manifolds are used in General Relativity calculations (i.e. Einstein's theory of gravity). Its a way of dealing with curved space-time that matter creates. Whenever Einstein complains about his difficulties with math he is complaining about having to do calculation with Riemann curvature tensors.

Gilbert Ratchet said...

Gilbert P: "mainly interested in Continental thinkers... Derrida, Foucault, Alan Sokal, et al."

Nice one! :-)

-Gilbert R.

Cho said...

" Truth said...

The oldest general truism in the world;

Men choose to make their living with inanimate objects, women choose to make their living with people, plants, and animals."

- Now that's interesting. Truth has no problem understanding the validity of HBD and 'stereotypes' when it comes to gender, but gets his panties in a bunch over stereotypes of blacks...

Gralle said...

" I've recently read that the field of veterinary medicine has been affected in a big way by the influx of women. Most female veterinarians want to work in suburban practices treating dogs and cats, and as a result there's a glut of small-animal vets in some areas with a growing degree of unemployment.

Yet at the same time there's a serious shortage of veterinarians who treat farm animals. Many of the few who remain in the field are approaching retirement, so the problem's only going to get worse. As you've probably guessed by now, the main reason for the shortage is that female veterinarians generally do not like to treat large animals, except sometimes for horses, and with almost 75% of veterinary school graduates being female there just aren't enough men to go around.

Peter

1/8/13 5:56 PM
Anonymous albert magnus said...

FYI, Riemannian manifolds are used in General Relativity calculations (i.e. Einstein's theory of gravity). Its a way of dealing with curved space-time that matter creates. Whenever Einstein complains about his difficulties with math he is complaining about having to do calculation with Riemann curvature tensors."

Einstein was a bitch...

Anonymous said...

"Trust me, sir. If your girls go into dorky fields, they will have no problems having a husband."

That was my general thesis, something like the more male dominated engineering fields or medicine would be good choices. Engineering probably being better for more kids, because it's a shorter degree, and a good way to signal intellect and work ethic to a prospective husband.

When I went to school, most of the female engineers were attractive. Most had boyfriends or were married at the end. I remember a lot of the female business majors were exceptionally attractive, and polished. Psych majors also. I would think it would be better for a woman to find her husband among engineers; they tend to be secure, solid, loyal types for the most part. Good husband material, and less competition (for the women).

Another helpful side effect is job security. As long as AA endures, women entering majors where females are scarce will always be readily hired.

However, there is nothing like hard data. Another good thing to identify would be the percentage of marriage breakups, by major. Obviously, those are the ones to avoid.

It seems that the logical endpoint of this sort of thinking is almost a caste, if not class, as assortive mating works its effects.

Anonyia said...

"Me, I chose history. Too butch - ?"

My history and political science courses were always pretty evenly split between male and female.

Anonymous said...

How about film studies?

Jokah Macpherson said...

Where's Derbyshire when we need him?

I think I had to read the section on Riemann manifolds like 25 times in the Derb's algebra history book just to get a basic understanding of what the heck they are.

Trust me, sir. If your girls go into dorky fields, they will have no problems having a husband.

My co-worker's daughter is slender with big boobs and a terrific engineering student. When she broke up with her last boyfriend she had five different offers for dates before the day was over. Clearly, boys like girls who are good engineers.

Anonymous said...

So... basically, even when they're overrepresented in education, they are underrepresented in publications.

Auntie Analogue said...


Bet you that Einstein never studied Edelbrock manifolds. Probably never heard of them. Did he even have a driver's license?

I only know about Edelbrock manifolds because my brother, a huge drag racing fan, amassed a collection of drag racing decals and stickers: Moon hubcaps; STP oil treatment; Hurst shifters; and lots more such 1960's NHRA jazz.

Anonymous said...

Includes most of General Relativity. The Riemannian Curvature Tensor specifies intrinsic curvature in multi-dimensional space, and is needed in dimensions greater than two. A fun two dimensional manifold (surface) is "boy's surface" (see wikipedia) named after Werner Boy, a student of David Hilbert. I always thought a good mathematics cartoon would juxtapose a picture of boy's surface with a "girl's surface."

Noah172 said...

"Judicial Reasoning": 3 percent female -- and we have Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan on the SC.

Feminist History: 51 percent female -- so even half of those were written by men.

Theoretical Archeology: 32 percent female; is that for women who don't want to get dirty digging up actual relics?

Society and Fertility (under Demography): 38 female; wonder how many of those broads are doing some fertility of their own

Most masculine in Ecology and Evolution: Beetles. Eww, icky!

Roman Britain (under Classical Studies): 24 percent female. Boudicca!

Anonymous said...

"children and other living things are important, and I'm glad that smart women are working enthusiastically on subjects that they find fascinating"

not sure if serious or sarcasming, but the results have been equally fascinating, just look at sweden. And look at their enthusiasm as they battle the horrors of patriarchy.

"Feminist History: 51 percent female -- so even half of those were written by men."

woah woah, hold it right there mister, still thinking not-female automatically means male in the 21st century?
wait till I got ann fausto-sterling on your privileged butt.

Dov said...

I'm pretty sure you mean "heterogenizing" (in the 4th paragraph, last sentence).

And I agree with Gilbert P. that analytic philosophy just has a more masculine feel to it; it's the yang to the continentals' yin.

Anonymous said...

"being a Larry Summers-like thought criminal"

Summers would never have heard the end of it, if not for

http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2006/10/19/navierstokes-still-open/

Anonymous said...

"The usual way to think about this is that this represents a crisis. Steps Must Be Taken to smash the glass ceiling holding women down in Riemannian manifolds so that they can bring their valuably diverse insights to solving Riemannian manifolds, whatever those are. The sacred goal of Diversity requires homogenizing every field of intellect!"
===================

Well, if diversity is strength, why not bring more men and their male perspective into female fields?

It's curious for me that, when you bring up affirmative action for men, leftist women who were previously all for it suddenly clutch their pearls, and conservative men who previously thought it was The Most Evil Thing Ever suddenly start thinking it's not such a bad thing. I'd be agin' it myself, but the different ways people see it is fascinating.

Anonymous said...

I've never been able to figure out what's so awful about fields being strongly male or female. Really, who cares?

And who cares about the "why"? One of the major problems I have with the nature/nurture debate on gender roles is that both sides seem to miss the point.

So what if they're socially constructed? It wouldn't, in an of itself, give anyone the right to butt in and try to change that - say, by trying to change what kind of toys children like to play with.

My problem with the - mostly - leftist view is that they decide that it can be changed, therefore it should be changed and they have the right to do so. That's just a group of non sequiturs.

My problem with the - mostly - conservative view is that they refuse to take this one on in the name of personal/family freedom and societal good. It's all about screeching that there's no way it can be changed, ever, in a million years.

The fact that social conditioning, and the freedom of families to impose it, might be a good thing independent of innate characteristics never seems to occur to them.

Truth said...

"- Now that's interesting. Truth has no problem understanding the validity of HBD and 'stereotypes' when it comes to gender, but gets his panties in a bunch over stereotypes of blacks..."

No I did not, my constipated, and rather confused friend; stereotypes exist for a reason, that is that they contain a grain of general truth, that does not, however mean that we should preclude the woman who wants to study theoretical physics from doing just that.

Bill said...

Anonymous said . . .

The fact that social conditioning, and the freedom of families to impose it, might be a good thing independent of innate characteristics never seems to occur to [rightists].

Once you grasp that Frank Meyer, Jonah Goldberg, and libertarians are not on the right, this stops bothering you. Of course, then the fact that the only permissible debate is between two nearly indistinguishable strands of leftism starts to bother you. So, annoyance is conserved.

nador said...

Physics and chemistry seems to be missing from the list. But fortunately the list includes important fields like pollution and occupational health. Why would one compile his data set in such a way?

Anonymous said...

mathology

http://the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1360

Anonymous said...

Bravo. More bemused mastery.

Anonymous said...

In philosophy, the most masculine subfields include space and time and set theory, and the most feminine moral philosophy.

I must be a hermaphrodite. My favourite philosophical topics are space and time plus moral philosophy.

Anonymous said...

My co-worker's daughter is slender with big boobs and a terrific engineering student. When she broke up with her last boyfriend she had five different offers for dates before the day was over. Clearly, boys like girls who are good engineers.

And they reallylike girls who are slender with big boobs.

Anonymous said...

And they reallylike girls who are slender with big boobs.

Especially since this is a rare combination. Slender girls then to have the flattest chests. And the biggest (natural) boobs are found on the tallest, fattest, blackest women.

Anthony said...

Second-most female-dominated history subspecialty: British cabinet.

British Cabinet.

15% more than "Gender and World War 1".

I can't imagine that many women doing research about the British cabinet, even if it's about Margaret Thatcher.

Anonymous said...

Did that in graduate level; I think Women are more pragmatic, they want some thing that they can lay their hands on, not imagine an N-tuple Ahole.

Anonymous said...

One fascinating woman who published a paper on Riemann manifolds is Kiralee Hayashi, who went into acting instead of math.