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Why is it so important that we close the gender gap? Why is it so important that we believe that there is no difference in intelligence between men and women?

Statistically, men have a wider variance in IQ score than women do. This means that there are likely to be more highly intelligent men than highly intelligent women in a room, and that the most intelligent man in the room is probably more intelligent than the most intelligent woman.

With that said, if you were to select the top 10 intelligent people in a room of 1000, a statistically significant amount of the time a majority will be men.

If you are hiring for a job that requires the top 1% of intelligence, it is no surprise that you are going to have more men than women.

Disclaimer: I hope some day that my daughter chooses a position in STEM, I realize that there are limitations and gaps in the IQ test, and that I might sound like a complete troll but I'm asking this question legitimately.




The article doesn't mention intelligence, and I can't see how it's especially relevant. Yes, the best programmers are going to be very smart, but it seems to me that slightly above average intelligence is perfectly adequate for a successful career in software. Obviously that phrase will describe just under half the population of women.

The article is mainly about why so few women become interested in software, pursue it, and stick with it as a career, and not about why they don't get the best jobs or make the same money. While it seems plausible that men and women are probabilistically hardwired to find certain fields more interesting than others, this isn't "intelligence".

And of course, everyone thinks they're hiring the top 1%: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2005/01/27.html


Statistically, men have a wider variance in IQ score than women do. This means that there are likely to be more highly intelligent men than highly intelligent women in a room, and that the most intelligent man in the room is probably more intelligent than the most intelligent woman.

No. This means that there are likely to be more men who scored highly on an IQ test than women who scored highly on an IQ test in a room.



"The only thing an IQ test is good at is measuring how close the test taker is to thinking the same way the test maker does."


It's not even a question of intelligence, but of interest.

Software development is a low-status profession. Lately it has become more highly paid, largely due to a bubble, which raises the social status and gets feminists upset about the fact that there aren't enough women in the profession. If the bubble bursts and developer pay drops to saner levels, expect the controversy to suddenly go away. Feminists aren't nearly as upset that there aren't very many women in the garbage handling industry, after all.


I think women are just as intelligent as men. I also think that men's and women's intelligence manifests itself in different ways. It is explicitly because of this difference, that I believe having more women in STEM fields can only be a good thing. Advances come when a problem is approached from many different angles, by many different bright minds.

Thanks for perpetuating the stereotype. I feel sad for your daughter.


I never said having more women in STEM would be a bad thing - having more people in STEM will always be a good thing, all things considered.

However your opinion that women are just as intelligent as men is not backed up by any statistics, and one of the best statistics we have for assessing intelligence, IQ, does not jive with your assertion.


Please do show us statistics though. I'm not saying you're wrong (I genuinely don't know) but you can't say other people don't have data to back their claims when you don't put any data forward yourself. Especially since you brought up the (controversial) argument, the burden of proof is on you.


Actually, since this is an Internet forum, the burden of proof is on neither of us and you may be taking things just a bit too seriously.

But if you can't be arsed to Google it, here you are:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_psychology

http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/SexDifferences.aspx


That wasn't so hard to avoid the guaranteed s*storm that would obviously emerge from claiming one sex was smarter than the other.

Also, taking discussions seriously is exactly the reason why I come to HN. I'm sure I'm not alone.

That being said, those two links where interesting although they left me with even more questions than when I began. On one hand it's claimed that

"The mean IQ scores between men and women vary little." then "gender differences tended to disappear on tests for which there was a male advantage and to magnify on tests for which there was a female advantage" then "These tests have been complied over the years so there is no sex difference." but then oops, "some researchers have concluded that men have slightly higher IQ scores than women"

I'll blame that on Wikipedia I guess.

To be fair, the research of the second link seemed a lot more serious. I'm no IQ scientist so I won't try to guess things I don't fully understand but it was a good read.


I agree with pwny - the little research there is on sex differences in IQ shows a VERY marginal difference, like the second link from above (http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/SexDifferences.aspx) says:

>It finds that females have a 101.41 mean IQ with a 13.55 standard deviation versus males that have a 103.08 mean IQ with a 14.54 standard deviation

A difference of 2 IQ-points is marginal anyway, but both populations (in this study) have different standard deviations (so the measurements spread out differently), which makes them harder to compare. In the end I'd say, the difference (in this study) is minimal and can be neglected. Edit: I also think that just by repeating the same study with exactly the same participants, the difference will be smaller, non-existant, or women will have a higher IQ. I once did (caution: anecdotal evidence) five IQ-tests on five following days and the results were off by +/- 5 points, just because I was more tired/more awake on the different days.

All in all I'm disappointed by the level of discussion in this whole thread, way to show the world that software-people have no clue of gender-differences.


That's a pretty strong claim to make without citing sources.




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