Aptitude or Acculturation?

By Malveaux, Julianne | Black Issues in Higher Education, March 10, 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Aptitude or Acculturation?


Malveaux, Julianne, Black Issues in Higher Education


What was Larry Summers thinking? The Harvard president, as well known for his brilliance as for his tactlessness, must enjoy the taste of shoe leather, given the frequency he puts his foot in his mouth. Some "off the record" remarks he made at a research meeting of the National Bureau of Economic Research got him excoriated in the electronic and print media. Summers' notion that the scarcity of female scientists at elite institutions might stem from some "innate" difference between the sexes is simply amazing.

The data just doesn't correlate. The number of women earning doctorates in engineering and science has risen significantly since 1966. According to a trio of college presidents--Drs. John Hennessey of Stanford, Susan Hockfield of MIT and Shirley Tilghman of Princeton, women went from getting nearly no engineering degrees in 1966 to 16.9 percent in 2001. In a letter to the Boston Globe, the three point out that "In the biological and agricultural sciences, the number of doctorates earned by women rose from 12 percent to 43.5 percent between 1966 and 2001."

If women have so little science and engineering aptitude, why the increase in their representation among scientists? Could it be that women have been acculturated to avoid math and science as potentially hostile fields? Summers threw mounds of other "stuff" in the game, rambling about 80-hour weeks and family time. He might have made quite another kind of splash if, instead of posing the aptitude question he'd pondered the development of family-friendly workplaces. What would it take to keep brilliant women in science, even as these women bear and raise children? Is an 80-hour week the only path to productivity?

Summers' statements were controversial partly because it took him a while to apologize, and even longer to release his actual remarks. Naturally, these days, his defenders rallied both on free speech grounds and the notion that at least some of Summers' remarks bore consideration.

Others simply licked their chops at this latest embarrassment. After all, this is the man who sent Cornel West off to Princeton with a scolding; who opined that environmentally unsound industries ought to locate in developing countries; and who hectored Harvard faculty about grade inflation. But the glee at Summers' public embarrassment (he may yet receive a vote of "no confidence" from Harvard faculty) is compounded by the tact that since his presidency women are doing worse in earning tenured positions. Women were offered just four of the 32 most recent available slots.

Is the gender gap due to culture or to ability?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Aptitude or Acculturation?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.