10.06.132:15 PM ET

Female Scientists Needed

“Slow drumbeat” of discouragement for women.

The question almost took down Lawrence Summers: why are there so few women in math and science? The answer could be as simple as the lack of encouragement women receive from childhood on, according to The New York Times magazine. Look at this way: not only are math and science not really seen as “cool” for kids, but also women who do go into math and science are often told to give up when the going gets tough. The masculine atmosphere and the lack of female support can cause women to give up math and science all together. And then when women are applying to the cutthroat programs, they face that age-old gender discrimination. In one particularly telling example, a group of researchers were given the exact same resumes for a John and Jennifer and told to rank them, with John coming up a point higher in every category except likability and with a starting salary recommendation nearly $5,000 more. “I’ve thought for a long time that understanding this implicit bias is critical,” said Meg Urry, a professor of physics and astronomy at Yale.