Friday, February 15, 2008

My capacity for shock is taking a hit

So Instapundit steered me to this:

Well, a Smith College professor found a way around that ["the gender gap in math and science" - I urge the reader to follow the link above for futher background links, because I'm a glass and a half of wine into this post] for getting women into engineering: Ignore the math. From the Chronicle:

[The curriculum] emphasizes context, ethics, and communication as much as formulas and equations.

Smith, the first women’s college to offer an engineering degree, graduated its first class of engineers in 2004, and since the program’s creation, in 1999, has attained a 90-percent retention rate[.]

Does this mean I have to ask for resumes and transcripts - with DNA testing to confirm gender - every time I step onto an airliner? Good gravy.

This is the problem, people, with setting different standards in order to bolster the self-esteem of the terminally sensitive. If the firefighter responsible for hefting my husband, overcome by smoke, out of my house is a 5'5" woman who can bench seventy pounds, well heck, leave my husband to me - I'm bigger and stronger. If the engineer designing my car studied "context, ethics, and communication" at the expense of loading and metal fatigue and tensile strength and so forth (not being an engineer, I'm just naming off some things I know matter), thankyouverymuch, I'll put my kids in the Amish wagon in the garage; my own lack of speed makes up for its lack of seat belts.

I was a geologist. I was pretty good at parts of it; I really stank at other parts. Upper-body strength wasn't an issue in my jobs, nor was geophysics (one of the things I stank at, along with optical mineralogy, like everyone in my class - thank goodness for the grading curve, but I never deceived myself that I understood the material despite the passing grade - and structural geology - so it's best that I stay far from faults), so I could perform as well as any man in the same job. Often better. But I would not have been hired to perform an assessment of the geologic conditions underlying a hospital site, because I didn't have the math - and that's absolutely correct. The stakes are generally higher than self-esteem, darn it.

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