Our thanks to Jeff for this. The title of the piece is, ‘Girls should play with Lego not Barbies to make them more interested in science and maths says leading woman physicist’. Athene Donald really should consult a psychology professor at the same university, Simon Baron-Cohen, on what is known about gender-typical choice preferences, which are evident as early as the weeks following birth. We strongly recommend his book The Essential Difference: Men, Women, and the Extreme Male Brain (2012). You don’t see him wittering on mindlessly about experimental physics, do you? What expertise does Prof Donald, an experimental physicist, have in the area about which she is pontificating?
Even if we ignore gender-typical interests and aptitudes, there would remain a perfectly simple explanation for why girls are attracted to Humanities subjects rather than the sciences. Put simply, they require the investment of far less effort to achieve a given grade. Girls’ subject choices are probably nothing other than an early reflection of something the renowned sociologist Dr Catherine Hakim explained in her paper on Preference Theory (2000), namely:
Four out of seven British men are work-centred.
One in seven British women is work-centred.
Apropos of nothing, Simon Baron-Cohen’s cousin is Sacha Baron-Cohen of Ali G fame.
The last professorial winner of our ‘Gormless Feminist of the Month’ award was back in May – Kirstein Rummery, of Stirling University. Her certificate is here.