[Edu-sig] Question ?

Laura Creighton lac at strakt.com
Sun Apr 18 11:40:22 EDT 2004

In a message of Sun, 18 Apr 2004 08:24:16 CDT, Arthur writes:
>Laura writes - 
>> There are too many other factors involved.  But one very significant
>> one is that women believe that programming has to do with _math_
>> and not with _langauges_.  
>We only (or mostly) have our personal experiences as reference points. Or
> at
>least I find it hard not to give my personal experience precedence over
>things "known" only second hand.  
>So I always have a problem with this analysis.
>My elder sister, who asked my parents for little, at the age of 13 or 14
>asked my parents to buy her the "World of Mathematics". It was 3 volumes,
>and at the time, only available in hardcover, so it merited a special
>And there didn't seem anything particularly unusual about this request, a
>other of her friends shared her interest.  One, that I re-met fairly
>recently, went on to become a mathematician/programmer and currently teac
>programming at the college level (and apparently married and divorced - i
>the meantime - someone considered to be one of the more eminent living
>My sister went on to a very high-powered career unrelated to math, but on
>which a generation ago was an almost exclusive domain of men. And she, mo
>than once, has expressed envy that my less high-powered career has left m
>in a position to take the time to explore and learn a bit about programmi
>Something she would love to be able to do.
>If anything, I would re-assert a theory that it is not mathematics, but t
>unimaginative way mathematics tends to be presented in the curriculum, th
>has women (statistically) going on to other things.
>And it is central to my view, that rather than try to further disconnect
>math and programming, we should be moving in the exact opposite direction
>Making them related experiences, that enliven each other.
>So, Laura, we seem to represent almost opposite viewpoints.  Which - so
>far;) - we manage to do as friends. Which is nice.

This disagreement can only be fixed by statistically sampling women
and girls at random and creating a survey questionaire that analyses 
their attitudes towards progamming and math.  I wonder if anybody is
doing such a thing?


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