Advice For Young Women Going Into Science
It's from educational psychologist Linda Gottfredson. She's apparently controversial, and you might strongly disagree with her work, which I haven't read and first read about Friday night when I looked her up on Wikipedia.
(I'm in the final throes of my book polish and I was too tired to do any reading on Friday night when I posted this. However, here's a piece at dana.org)
However, unlike those driven to censor speech, I try to take ideas and speech on their own merits, and this is right in line with what I know about evolved sex differences.
The question posed to her:
Q: Do you have any advice for young women going into science?
A: Yes, and it dawned on me only recently. I see women getting more caught up in committee work and other service activities than do men. The women also tend to be more conscientious about it. In my setting, I observe some men but no women refusing to carry out the assignments they have accepted, and I see relatively more women among the stellar performers. Nonperformance seems to go unpunished, but conscientious performance draws yet more requests to serve. I therefore suspect that women tend to accumulate more service time, much of it untallied. I know that they often have a harder time saying no to requests or to doing just the minimum. My close male colleagues simply cannot fathom such gratuitous helping behavior and think it foolish; close female colleagues cannot understand the males' dismissive stance toward community obligations.
I am referring here to a fairly subtle but powerful sex difference that seems rooted in known differences in temperament, interests, and priorities. Evolutionarily, women have been the glue of social groups. They tend to be more concerned with ministering to families and communities, take more pleasure from such activity, are more moved by the gratitude it generates, and suffer more anxiety and guilt when they skimp on it. I have long recognized these feelings in myself and know they generalize to work settings, but I only recently realized that I experience them as physiological reinforcement. No wonder men tend to behave differently when faced with the same choices. So my advice to women is, "Restrain your natural impulse to indiscriminately serve and help. Choose wisely, because time is your most precious resource."