Girls leave STEM because they face creepiness, misogyny and unequal treatment from students and faculty.
There is a lot of similarities when women leave a programming profession and when men leave the teacher profession. Both will say that they feel the social environment is unconformable. Both will say that there is an unequal treatment from students and faculty. Both will report of gender based bullying and harassment.
And the similarities continue in how quickly people leave the profession. Both has a significant higher leave rate while student, during the first year as employed and after 10 years. Being a minority gender is leaky pipe, and if we look at work segregation in general using numbers from a few years ago, 84.3% men and 84.2% women worked in a gender segregated work place.
From last year national workplace health survey, the industry with highest rate of bullying and sexual harassment was nursing, which swapped placed with construction which was the previous worst workplace. That those two professions are next to each other in toxic work environment makes perfect sense if we assume there is practically no difference biologically, socially and culturally between men and women.
Without looking at other age groups, we never know. Most teachers in those age groups are (in most countries) women, but I agree about inequality when one-gender-only scholarships are offered.
More research has to be done on other age groups. There are ethics problems with active involvement, but brain differences have been observed in other animals too ( https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13596-male-monkeys-pr... )
That said, I think a lot of it is not what you listed (which is still a problem needed addressing) but the majority is social demand and how we as a society don’t make those careers necessary or cool. People get diverted into business and liberal arts in too great a number.
If we used cultural tools to steer more girls and boys (with special emphasis for girls) into STEM we’d see better results.
Or because they aren't the only one leaving it in the first place!
Thinking that any man or boy is the same, act the same, think the same and like the same things, and STEM faculties are the worst a woman can find, is naive at best.
Men suffer as women.
The survival bias make people think that only women leave STEM or leave it at bigger rates, but that's not true.
Statistic says that less than 5% of boys and less than 1% of girls think of a career in STEM, it is already largely a field for a few (an élite if you like) and it's dominated by two kinds of people: people obsessed by the topic, in the autistic spectrum, that is mostly a male disease (people in the spectrum gravitate around STEM majors 14% more than neurotypical people - 22% Vs 36% - it means almost 2 times more).
Competitive assholes who like other competitive assholes, who are mostly men.
But the bulk of the students are regular folks like me, who just wanted to study the field but didn't like the academia shit and hence left (and I am in the spectrum as well).
People discussing the so-called gender gap* in software engineering education always forget a "little" details: learning to program takes a lot of time and dedication. Basically, at least two/three years of 10 hours+ a day (university classes and homework, plus personal reading and projects). Most of this time is spend alone, behind a computer. Very few people are willing to follow this lifestyle, girls even more so because of the lack of face to face human contact it implies.
* which is not a real issue anyway: the software isn't worst because of the lack of women creating it. In addition, the same people are totally fine with 80-100% girls in language and humanities degrees which means their real goal isn't "equality", which is reached already because universities don't select people and education is free (speaking of France here; we hear the same gender-gap bullshit).
And, obviously to anyone who works in the industry, software development is a team sport. I spent a couple years as a product marketing manager back at Arbor Networks, doing no software development at all, just product pricing and definition and sales team enablement, and I take more meetings as a software developer than I ever did as a PM. So the idea that women are deterred from tech because it's so antisocial doesn't hold up, either.
Heh. And don't forget that they have to have "passion," been playing with computers before they could walk, spend all their spare time doing side projects in GitHub, etc.
There are few fields where there's such a widespread sense of exceptionalism with a belief that studying a field in university and then simply working conscientiously at it in a day job is considered utterly inadequate by so many.
Wait. You mean the ten years I spent in K'un-Lun learning how to press Return before I was allowed to declare my first variable ... doesn't _everybody_ have to do that?
What background did these people have? Are you sure it's not sampling bias?
I taught programming to a class of kids who didn't choose to be there: their parents made them come. Some kids were immediately "naturals", the rest struggled, and the gap remained no matter what we tried.
This sounds like a common problem across all subjects.
I'm a woman who studied physics and astronomy at university. In my final year I taught myself programming in my spare time because I was interested in it, and knew the job prospects were better than in physics. I had other hobbies and an active dating life at the time, but I still managed to get a software job straight out of university, and it's evolving into a fruitful career.
Learning to program in no way requires 3 years of monastic devotion.
I see there is a lot of genius in this thread, having come across all these concepts and got a working understanding of all these things in a few weeks/months. I'm 10 years in and I still learn weekly. Either Dunning–Kruger is in full effect or you internalized so many thing you don't see them anymore.
One of my dormmates in college was in some engineering degree, I forget what, and decided to learn some programming from us, since so many of us were in CS. It was a pretty short time before he could do useful things, actually helping him finish his projects faster, but all that took was some very basic concepts: arrays, loops, conditionals. I think on the order of a week to get the concepts down and be able to write a C program from scratch, and another week or two before he had the concepts embedded in his mind enough to use it with his own work.
Thing is, even that was far faster than I typically saw for those same concepts, as a Teacher's Assistant for the introductory CS courses. The engineering mindset seemed to give him some sort of foundation to pick it up faster, even having never done it before.
And his code was absolutely terrible, he had a long, long way to go if he ever wanted to even consider programming as a profession.
That's absurd. I didn't devote anywhere near that amount of time to learning to program. I did it, in three languages (four, if Verilog counts), over the course of 8 classes in an EE undergrad program. Sure, it took longer to get good at it. Getting good just required actually building things, but not for anywhere near 10 hours a day.
I don't follow. What does face to face human contact have to do with being a girl? Can you clarify?
Lateralization appears to differ between in the sexes with men having a more lateralized brain. This is based on differences in "left" and "right" brained abilities. One factor which contributes support to the idea that there is a sex difference in brain lateralization is that men are more likely to be left handed. However, it is unclear whether this is due to a difference in lateralization.
Meta-analysis of grey matter in the brain found sexually dimorphic areas of the brain in both volume and density. When synthesized, these differences show volume increases for males tend to be on the left side of systems, while females generally see greater volume in the right hemisphere. However, based on a number of studies using different measurement techniques, there is no significant difference between male and female brain lateralization
1. We learn
2. Learning is physical, because it occurs in the brain
3. Over time, learning is reflected in detectable physical differences in the brain
The reason that studies like this one are looking at children is that they are trying to minimize the role of established patterns of use in creating brain differences. In other words, differences arising from culture.
A better argument would be that every time brain differences were found, they turn out to be irrelevant. However, I'm not sure even that is true, considering some colleges are experimenting with mental rotation training to help female engineering students, with good results: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/43802/can-teaching-spatial-sk... That example also shows identifying gender differences is not a bad thing; it allows coming up with ways to compensate.
But the plasticity means that cultural practises are likely to have an effect on brains, in the same way that London Cabbies famously have over developed hippocampus with more nerve cells than they had before due to the requirements of their jobs.
Finding brain differences does not, therefore, mean that the differences are genetic or directly gender related, but could be culturally generated through different roles being adopted for social reasons.
It seems pretty clear that absolute brain mass is not that important, but the ratio of brain to body mass, is. For example, whales famously have (much) larger brains than humans, but are not (considered) as intelligent as humans.
The brain of the sperm whale is the largest, five times heavier than a human’s. The adult sperm whale brain is 8,000 cubic centimeters weighing about 8 kg (18 lb), while ours is about 1300 cubic centimeters. A human brain can weigh 1.5 kg in adulthood.
Note again: sperm whales have five times more brains than humans.
As the other posters have said, size doesn't seem to correlate to anything. More than that I don't know.
That aside the point is there would be less nerve input for the brain to process from five grams of fat, five grams of skin, or say an organ like the eye. Let alone any other other details it must acount or provide for. Further complicating things is neural plasticity - if I recall correctly "optical" areas of the born blind tend to be repurposed for other senses as opposed to say mathematical ability.
TL;DR: There is evidence but certainly not good enough to tell us anything about sex differences in humans.