Build your own female LEGO scientists

Terry McGlynn’s 10-year-old son, Bruce, thinks it’s “weird that people think it’s a big deal there there’s a female scientist” as aLEGO minifigure.  ”I mean, so many scientists are women, you know?” Father and son built their own female LEGO scientists, writes Terry on Small Pond Science.

He had a male painter with a bucket, a wildlife dude with a snake and a frog, a guy who looks like he was ice fishing, and a some big scorpions from a mummy-themed set. And we found a bunch of guys who had occupations that involved field-work like clothes, and we scrounged around for faces and hair that looked female. (We managed to not use the hair of Legolas).

Although few of Bruce’s minifigs are female, they were able to assemble a “formidable bunch of professional scientists.”

The Female Field Biologist series, by Terry and Bruce McGlynn

The Female Field Biologist series, by Terry and Bruce McGlynn

Men at work

The U.S. Education Department’s annual Condition of Education report is out.

Educational attainment correlates with employment and women are more likely to earn college degrees. However, men are more likely to be employed at every age and education level.

Employment to population ratios, by age group, educational attainment, and sex: 2012

Figure 2. Employment to population ratios, by age group, educational attainment, and sex: 2012

Outstanding student loan debt more than tripled in nine years from $304 million in 2003 to $956 million in 2012.

Women earn 58.4% of college degrees

collegegap

For every 100 male college graduates in the class of 13, there are 140 women, the U.S. Education Department estimates. That’s a “stunning” and growing gender gap, writes Mark Perry on AEI Ideas. Since 1982, women have earned 9.7 million more degrees than men.

Do colleges need all those women’s centers? he asks.

College

Making motherhood a career

Girls outperform boys in school; women are more likely to go to college and earn a degree. Men have been hit much harder by the recession and the changing economy. But a growing number of career women are choosing to make child-raising and home-making into a career, according to Emily Matchar’s Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity,

Disillusioned workers are “opting into a slower, more sustainable, and more self-sufficient lifestyle,”  writes Ann Friedman in a New Republic review.

The woman who leaves the public workplace is “the Brooklyn hipster who quit her PR job to sell hand-knitted scarves at craft fairs,” Matchar writes. “She’s the dreadlocked ‘radical homemaker’ who raises her own chickens to reduce her carbon footprint. She’s the thirty-one-year-old new mom who starts an artisan cupcake company from her home kitchen rather than return to her law firm. He’s the hard-driven Ivy Leaguer fleeing corporate life for a Vermont farm.”

Thanks to technology, the new homemaker can sell her crafts online and chronicle her quilting, baking and homeschooling projects online.

 “This lifestyle wouldn’t work if women were raising their perfect, happy, locavore children in the middle of the woods with no internet connection,” one professor tells Matchar.

From my point of view, the new homemakers are making their jobs a lot harder than they need to be. They grow their own vegetables, raise chickens and goats  (and slaughter their own meat!), weave, knit, quilt and sew and practice attachment parenting. Letting babies go diaperless is the latest fad. “Elimination communication” requires a a hyper-alert caregiver.

It’s hard to balance child-raising with a career in the U.S. But, women work less, earn less and are less likely to hold managerial and professional jobs in countries with family-friendly policies, writes Christina Hoff Sommers.

Sweden offers 16 months of paid parental leave, special protections for part-time workers, and state-subsidized preschools. Gender equality is government policy.

In a 2012 report, the World Economic Forum found that when it comes to closing the gender gap in “economic participation and opportunity,” the United States is ahead of not only Sweden but also Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, Germany, and the United Kingdom. . . .  Though the United States has fewer women in the workforce (68 percent compared to Sweden’s 77 percent), American women who choose to be employed are far more likely to work full-time and to hold high-level jobs as managers or professionals. They also own more businesses, launch more start start-ups, and more often work in traditionally male fields. As for breaking the glass ceiling in business, American women are well in the lead . . .

Mothers are much more likely than fathers to take long parental leaves and work part-time, according to a study by Cornell economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn.

. . . most seem to enjoy the flex-time arrangement (once known as the “mommy track”) and never find their way back to full-time or high-level employment.

Employers prefer to hire man, knowing they are less likely to take a long leave and then work part-time, add Blau and Kahn.

Where are the college men?

There’s no gender gap for community college students who are recent high school graduates, but women outnumber men by as much as three to one among students 25 or older. Where are the college men?

Georgia raised black male college enrollment by 80 percent and degrees awarded by 60 percent from 2002 to 2011 through a variety of initiatives targeting black males.

Diploma gap widens between rich, poor

Fifty-four percent of high-income students and 9 percent of low-income students complete a college degree, concludes a new study. The diploma gap has widened in 20 years, primarily because the daughters of affluent families are doing very, very well in school.

CC presidents earn $167K — more for minorities

Community college presidents average $167,000 in base pay, but blacks and Hispanics earn more, probably because they’re more likely to run urban campuses, which offer higher pay. Women earn slightly more than men in base pay, slightly less in total compensation.

In search of STEM students

Universities are turning to community colleges in the search for potential STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students who are black, Hispanic and/or female.

Where are the college men?

Where are the college men? Female high-school students are more likely to aspire to a college degree, enroll and graduate than their male classmates. That’s true on leafy liberal arts campuses — and even more true at community colleges, which provide affordable job training.

Men are “conspicuously absent” on the campus of Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, writes Hanna Rosin in The End of Men: And the Rise of Women. Although the college president tries to “recruit more boys,” 70 percent of MCC students are female. Many are single mothers.

Casual sex and the single college girl

Young single women are more educated and successful than the men they “hook up” with, writes Hanna Rosin in Boys on the Side, an Atlantic teaser for her new book, The End of Men: And the Rise of Women. “Sexual freedom—the ability to delay marriage and have temporary relationships that don’t derail education or career” makes it all possible, writes Rosin.

For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.

About three-quarters of college women “visit” the hookup culture, often during freshman year, Rosin admits. They experiment — without shame — and move on.

In 2004, sociologists Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton began studying the “sexual careers” of women living in a “party dorm” at a state university in the Midwest. For middle- and upper-middle-class students, hookups delayed a serious relationship that might interfere with their career plans.

“The ambitious women calculate that having a relationship would be like a four-credit class, and they don’t always have time for it, so instead they opt for a lighter hookup,” Armstrong told (Rosin).

. . . Almost all of the college women Armstrong and Hamilton interviewed assumed they would get married, and were looking forward to it. 

Of course, they may have to marry a less-educated man. Some of the women quoted in the book assume that they’ll be high flyers while their husbands stay home with the kids. 

While the women-love-hookups thing is mostly hype, the diminishing percentage of college-educated men is troubling. Women are outpacing men in higher education around the world: Iranian women are doing so well, the mullahs have created 77 all-male majors.

My daughter, a literary agent, gave me an advance copy of The End of Men. I said, “But I like men!” I’d hate to see women turn into cold-hearted careerists and men into beer-chugging babysitters.