Nature versus Lack of Nurturing

I am sort of thrilled that the preiminent scientific publication, Nature, has published this commentary on the reality of gender bias in the sciences (and, one can assume, the world writ large.)

The story, by neurobiologist Ben Barres, tells of his experience as a scientist on both sides of the gender "divide." But, as he writes, "Anecdotes, however, are not data, which is why gender-blinding studies are so important. These studies reveal that in many selection processes, the bar is unconsciously raised so high for women and minority candidates that few emerge as winners. For instance, one study found that women applying for a research grant needed to be 2.5 times more productive than men in order to be considered equally competent."

There's a good article in the Washington Post about it. Elizabeth Spelke, a Harvard scientist says, "I think we want to step back and ask, why is it that almost all Nobel Prize winners are men today? The answer to that question may be the same reason why all the great scientists in Florence were Christian."

In his study Barres writes, “I am suspicious when those who are at an advantage proclaim that a disadvantaged group of people is innately less able.”