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Updated on Monday, May 11

#20932

OMG: Apparently #Heforshe is coming to UW, which means the university will:

"1) Boost female student participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiences and academic careers to build the pipeline of future female leaders in traditionally male dominated disciplines;

2) Enhance female faculty representation to improve the campus environment today and drive towards parity in the future; and

3) Attract and advance female leaders into senior academic and administrative University positions."

Unless the university has just admitted it has had sexist admission/hiring policies up until now, the lack of female students in STEM is a problem with society.

Admitting more women just because they are female does a disservice to everyone, especially the women, who were accepted and received degrees based on merit. Likewise with hiring and promoting women based on their gender.

37 comments

  1. It's pretty much a PR stunt by UW admin because of news that Mac decided to balance salaries for women. As usual UW is playing catch-up and trying to make themselves look like heroes.

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  2. > Admitting more women just because they are female

    Who is calling for this? You are making the assumption that our admissions criteria accurately reflect merit in applicants of all genders; hence, an increase in women's admissions is necessarily from an unqualified pool. Let's question this assumption.

    Here is an example of a discriminatory selection criterion in admissions: Math very strongly weights contest scores in its admissions criteria. However, less girls are writing contests in high school. By focusing on contests as a highly-weighted admissions criterion, we could potentially widen the gap by using biased selection tests.

    If you genuinely are open to seeing some data and arguments that might change your mind on this front, I'd be happy to share. Please let me know if you're interested in a good faith discussion.

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    1. Girls are equally welcomed to write the contests and pay the same registration fee. And the contests are marked anonymously. So how do the contests introduce unfairness or you are just another troll?

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    2. 2a: writing contests requires the participation of your high school teachers at minimum because someone has to proctor. You can't just magically conjure the test out of nowhere.

      Here's my story: I had to beg my high school math teacher to even let me write the thing in gr. 12, and did all the prep on my own time. I ended up writing with a bunch of dudes in grade 11 who were signed up by their (different) math teacher, had been provided school-funded contest prep which wasn't made available to me, etc. And by writing in grade 11, those students had additional preparation for writing when it counts, in grade 12. Whereas I had to scramble to write the thing in the first place. And yes, I ended up being the only woman writing that year.

      Now, I offer you this anecdote to show you what unequal access looks like. This is a story to get you thinking about how the appearance of equal access doesn't actually mean things are equal: when your male peers are being showered with early prep and easy access when you have to fight to get a foot in the door.

      If you look at the demographics of those who write, women are underrepresented. If you look at the studies on gender gaps in math contests, we have already concluded that women are denied these opportunities systemically, not just in a few isolated cases.

      The bottom line is, if you know that a much higher percentage of your applicants writing contests are men, then prioritizing it as a selection criterion introduces bias because that selection criterion will ultimately prioritize men. Equalizing the playing field means identifying these gaps to allow male and female applicants to compete fairly. And this doesn't necessarily mean throwing out contests scores as a criterion, but perhaps weighting it less highly, providing better support to get girls writing the contests earlier, etc. Knowing that the gap exists is the first step towards addressing it.

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    3. 2b. Were you declined to receive the prep because you are a girl? Was there other male students under the same teacher allowed to prepare and write the exam? What was your teacher's reason for not letting you write it? Because it implies whether a problem caused by the teacher being misogynist or just being irresponsible.

      From your example and arguments, I cant find how women are denied opportunities systematically.

      ps: this is the 1st time I heard schools help students to prepare contests. The high school I attended to offered none.

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    4. @2c It's an example that shows how ingrained it is. Most people do it without thinking. In this case, women are often underrepresented in these contests because the teachers don't even think of them participating. I'm guessing for 2b's teacher, the thought process might have been less of a "I don't want girls to participate" and more of a "..." (because they don't even consider them or think about them participating).

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    5. 2d: exactly. I'm not claiming my math teacher was some sort of horrible sexist supervillain; what I am claiming is that for various reasons, he held some unconscious biases that disadvantaged me in comparison to the other male students.

      Identifying these gaps is the first step in being able to address them. It doesn't matter if the teacher is being an overt sexist or if they're just flippant: what matters is that the outcome is the same, either way. And as studies show this is a widespread problem for women in math, it's one worth addressing, imo.

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    6. 2b here. so what makes you think the teacher delined your registration because of your gender? was there another male student registered through the same teacher?

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    7. Lol dumb bitch stop complaining. You bring up one single instance where you werent totally pampered and you couldn't fucking handle it. Welcome to equality, this is how it feels to be treated like a man you stupid cunt.

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    8. 2f: you're missing the point: male students were explicitly sought out and offered a bunch of extra contest prep, and early. Despite my aptitude, I was not. You want to identify an explicit connection with gender, i.e. the teacher was specifically discriminating against female students. But this kind of thing is subtle; it's not like it was intentional, so it's harder to compare. For what it's worth, that cohort of male students in gr. 11 was supported by this teacher the next year for writing this contest, after I wasn't. The thing we need to focus on is the difference on outcomes, NOT difference in intent. When you look at this at a societal level the gaps are pretty big. I can point out a pattern of this kind of stuff throughout my academic career. And it's the cumulative effects of that pattern that cause the problem and create barriers. But this is a very mild anecdote compared to most of what I've experienced.

      2g: you appear to have missed the bit where the male students were coddled and I was not. As is, I face somewhere between indifference (story above) to outright hostility (your response) for discussing these kinds of things publicly. Hardly pampered.

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    9. 2h: I got it. Its too hard for you to prove it therefore it must be true. Sigh.

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    10. >male students were coddled and I was not

      So? You are completely twisting the situation because you have a victim complex.

      Those male students were in a different class with a different teacher. What about the male students in YOUR class with YOUR teacher, they had the same experience as you, right? No, you probably believe he he would pampered them and still left you in the dust.

      Fuck you, stop wanting everyone else to make the world easier for you. You want equality? Solve your own fucking problems instead of bitching at the men to do it for you.

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  3. I used to agree with OP, but the fact is even if men with more qualifications get passed over for women with fewer qualifications, it should help to solve the societal issues that lead to those women being less qualified. And honestly, it isn't any more egregious than the shit men have been doing to women all throughout history.

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    1. yet another proof that feminists don't care about equality, and just want to dominate

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    2. oh fuck off 3. what a bunch of bullshit

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    3. @3a Big picture equality, mayhaps. If the lot of both keeps improving at the same rate, then men (who, due to a history of discrimination [which cannot be denied. I mean, men didn't let most women attend university for ages]) will always have it better than women.

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    4. @3a, 3 here. I'm not a feminist, so don't take my opinion as representative of theirs. I'd just like to see more women in my field and I'm willing to take on a disadvantage in the meantime if need be. I think to feel threatened by this you have to think you're mediocre in the first place...

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    5. >like to see more women in my field

      People think women start these movement. Nope. They are perpetuated by guys like this, unfuckable dudes. Too lazy to improve themselves, so they want society to give them women (hint: you're still a fucking pussy and this won't get you laid.)

      You don't solve the societal issues with women being less qualified by always lowering the bar for them, I don't know how retards like you think this could possibly work.

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    6. I'd like to see more women in my field because sometimes I would prefer to talk to them over bros like you. That's probably why I've been in an LTR for the past 3 years. But, this is the internet so whatever. Go ahead, let that anger out man.

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    7. You are literally saying you want your classes filled by women because they are women, instead of anybody based on merit.

      Dumbass, good job on giving women a pussy pass. Letting women coast through life is totally bound to improve them. Nothing like never having to face any challenges at all to motivate you to improve yourself.

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    8. 3g, that's literally not what they said.

      The underlying logic is quite simple. Women make up about 50% of the population, therefore it stands to reason that they should make up about 50% of the workforce, across all fields. That DOESN'T mean "if women are less than 50% of the workers in your field hire more and screw merit," but it does mean "take a good long look at the reasons your field isn't attracting more women, and work to change that."

      This requires you to accept as self-evident the assumption that women are human beings (just like men are also human beings) who are capable of achieving the same results as men, provided they're given an equal amount of opportunity.

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  4. There's a difference between admitting more females and doing more to encourage females to apply/reviewing your admissions criteria to make sure the net you're casting is wide enough. Those two things are not equal.

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  5. I don't understand what the big deal is about admitting more women. Women have an intense amount of pressure on them from society to be and look a certain way. If you think it's unfair, just look into any engineering class on campus. There are barely any women. We need campaigns like this. I hate to say this, but social power is real. Men have social power over women. Just look at the gender wage gap. If Waterloo wants to take a stand against gender inequality, then good for them! Regardless of what anyone says.

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    1. "Just look at the gender wage gap." Have you actually looked at it? It's mostly bunk. After you correct for the fact that men work 92% of overtime hours and take less family leave, it pretty much disappears. It's funny how people always complain about not enough women in engineering but never about not enough women in construction. What happened to equality? Oh, that's right construction work is shit so men can keep it. Ever considered that men and women are not 100% identical? There's a reason nursing is dominated by women and engineering by men. It's because men tend to be more visual and less social than women. Women talk three times as much than men on average. They absolutely could sit at a desk all day solving math problems but most of them are simply not interested and would rather interact with people. You can give out all the "have a vagina in engineering" scholarships you want and it's still not going to change that. Equality should be about anyone having the freedom to follow any career without obstacles... not about having a 50/50 spread across the board.

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    2. > pretty much disappears

      But it doesn't completely disappear. And you may say it's only a few percent, but you and I both know a few percent compounded on a lifetime of earnings is not a trivial sum. "pretty much disappears" != "disappears", so don't conflate the two in your argument.

      > men work 92% of overtime hours and take less family leave

      You use this as a control variable, and opt to take it out of the equation. I argue that we shouldn't just do that. We should have a conversation about why this is. I think men should have better access to work-life balance and family leave; on the flipside, women shouldn't be financially pressured to take on such roles with poorer salary.

      > women in construction

      It's funny you mention that. Just google it. Or take a look at http://www.cawic.ca/ . Many women would like access to careers in construction but gendered stereotypes create barriers ("women can't do dirty work", "women shouldn't do physical labour", etc.) Just because this isn't the problem we're discussing at hand doesn't mean that people in general don't see it as a problem.

      > [claims about inherent, biological differences in men and women]

      Suppose I just accept all these claims at face value. I do not see how it follows that, given there are some biological differences between men and women, we shouldn't address known biases that cause individuals of any gender to be treated unfairly.

      > Equality should be about anyone having the freedom to follow any career without obstacles... not about having a 50/50 spread across the board.

      But people aren't arguing for the latter here. They're arguing for the former. There are some pretty strong claims that women *do* face many obstacles men do not in STEM careers, and this effect multiplies when you consider race, disability, etc. I think we have a lot of work to do to help break down those barriers.

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    3. 5.b. Except that with respect to construction "gendered stereotypes" is actually "real physiological differences"

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  6. We need this as we need to balance out the major lack of women in universities. Also many women feel threatened and anxious around their male peers in engineering/ mathematics. They are harassed and hit on daily. We're also weary that the platonic friends we make are secretly harboring romantic interest because of past experiences. We are also constantly talked down to by their classmates that they can't do math because of their gender. Many tech companies are also biased against hiring women.

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    1. Your first statement is factually incorrect outside of STEM (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/2010001/article/11542-eng.htm). UWaterloo is by far an inaccurate representation of universities in Ontario.

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    2. 'They are harassed and hit on daily. We're also weary that the platonic friends we make are secretly harboring romantic interest

      You really get hit on daily? Maybe if you look an MMA ring girl and wear a bikini to class. And someone you know as a friend gets to know you well enough and decides (God knows why) that have to offer they'd contemplate taking it further? Wow, that's awful.

      You are exactly the kind of bitter, resentful, disproportionately aggrieved asshole that makes going to Waterloo such a drag.

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    3. Fucking bitches. "Wahhh wahhh I'm too attractive to be in engineering".

      Like are you kidding me? I hate this shit, you want everyone to think you are hot, and use males at UW at a scapegoat by complaining about their nonexistent behaviour.


      Fucking scumbag women at this school.

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    4. ^bet 6b+c hang out with girls "as friends" and then stop talking to them when they turn down their advances. Its a real thing, and its annoying as hell.

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    5. ^ How come whenever this type of shit gets brought up people start trying to project some image onto people who can't tolerate this bullshit.

      In any case, you're wrong. I don't hang out with girls "as friends". I only associate with girls I'm currently fucking, girls I want to fuck in the near future (but there is no "friends" stage between meeting and fucking), or girls that are dating my friends or otherwise encounter due to proximity to my social circle.

      Its funny, these bitches keeo complaining about getting hit on. They really mean they hate getting hit on by ugly dudes.

      There would be no complaints if they were getting hit on by dudes loke me.

      Double standards entirely crafted to shame men and glorify women. Fucking bitches, no wonder I have no respect for them.

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    6. 6e, so you literally don't see women as human enough to associate with them as regular, platonic friends? Damn, that's a shame... that's like half the population you'll never make friends with.

      Try changing your worldview sometime, women can make awesome friends. Source: I'm a guy who has about 60% close female friends, none of whom I would ever remotely consider trying to have sex with.

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    7. 6b, if you think that women don't get harassed and feel anxious around men, then why is there a women's center? It's so they can rest peacefully with being bothered by men trying to strike up conversation, look at them or sit uncomfortably close to them. There are also many ladies nights only in math and engineering soc clubs that exist for this reason. And how do you explain women's only hours for swimming and fitness centers and ladies nights at bars and clubs. Men and women have different sexualities, women don't feel attraction to strange men the same way men feel about women. And we're not saying that all men are creepy but we have lived through enough bad experiences to warrant extra cautiousness. This was a famous article that opened up many eyes, I hope you read it http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger’s-rapist-or-a-guy’s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

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  7. 6.d. Okay, so I won't get to know any of the women I am interested in. I'll just walk around campus, spot someone attractive, and ask them out. I mean, I wouldn't want to waste their time (and mine) getting to know them.

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  8. If you feel your performance is being adversely affected by fears concerning these issues Counselling Services is here to help.

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