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Should there be more women in science and engineering?

By Mathieu Bouville


Many people hold this truth to be self-evident, that there should be more female students in science and engineering. Typical arguments include possible benefits to women, possible benefits to the economy, and the unfairness of the current female under-representation. However, these justifications are never explicitly and thoroughly presented. Clearly stating and scrutinizing them, we show that they in fact have logical flaws. When made consistent, these arguments do not unconditionally justify enrolling more women in scientific disciplines. In particular, what women want must be taken into account. Outreach programs towards K-12 girls must therefore purport to allow them to choose a field freely, rather than try to draw as many of them to scientific disciplines as possible. This change of mindset must be accompanied by a close examination of the purpose and effects of these programs

Topics: Ethics
Year: 2007
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