|Sean Carroll, Your Disdain for Your|
Own Readers is Showing
We also need to distinguish sexism—the belief that one sex is inferior—from biased behavior. Bias can be based on several factors besides sexism—but the feminists fail to acknowledge this. The authors of the study explain the (modest) difference in ratings for wholly imaginary applicants as the result of arbitrary, sexist stereotypes that have crept into people’s minds. (They of course ignore the sexist belief that men are less likeable—rightly so because the methods don't allow them to identify that belief.) The alternative explanation is that the bias is based on actual experiences with real people: the evaluators may have actually known more men who wanted lab management positions, more men who had successfully worked in that role, and/or more females who didn't work out in it. The conflating of sexism (or racism) with bias is akin to saying anyone who doesn't forget everything they’ve experienced with different types of people when making hiring decisions is guilty of perpetrating some injustice.
To succeed in the most elite fields, you have to be cut-throat. It would be surprising if science and math careers turned out to be peopled with the nicest, most accommodating individuals. Will the young woman scientist who has a run-in with a jerk frame the encounter as just that—a run-in with an individual who happens to be a jerk—or will she see it as a manifestation of patriarchal oppression? It seems to me the latter response embodies the same type of prejudice the STEM fems claim to be trying to end.
Read Catherine Hakim's Feminists Myths and Magic Medicine
And my series of posts on "Why I Am Not a Feminist"