In a study of children aged 2-5, parents interrupted their daughters more than their sons, and fathers were more likely to talk simultaneously with their children than mothers were. Jennifer Coates says: “It seems that fathers try to control conversation more than mothers… and both parents try to control conversation more with daughters than with sons. The implicit message to girls is that they are more interruptible and that their right to speak is less than that of boys.”
Girls and boys’ differing understanding of when to talk, when to be quiet, what is polite and so on, has a visible impact on the dynamics of the classroom. Just as men dominate the floor in business meetings, academic conferences and so on, so little boys dominate in the classroom - and little girls let them.
"In modern, developed societies, males and females are legally – and no doubt also in the eyes of most parents – born with equal status and entitled to the same opportunities. Yet of course this egalitarian attitude is very new, and it’s poorly reflected in the distribution of political, social, economic and sometimes even personal power between the sexes. It’s a ‘half-changed world’, as Peggy Orenstein put it and here, in the naming of children and composing of birth announcements, are little strands of evidence of parents’ half-changed minds. Without meaning to, and without realizing it, we may be valuing boys and girls differently, and for different qualities, within hours of birth."
You can tell a girl she’s smart her whole life, encourage her in school, buy her a chemistry set, send her to math camp, help her apply for college scholarships in STEM fields, and she’s still eventually going to walk into a classroom, a lab, or a job interview and have some man dismiss her existence, deny her funding, pass her over for a promotion, or take credit for her work. How about you work on getting those assholes out of power and quit telling me not to call girls pretty.
You have a good point, but the thing is that encouraging women to get into the sciences is HOW you topple those assholes and get them out. The more women in sciences, the more representation girls have, the more THEY want to get into the sciences. The more women in sciences, the more likely more of them will filter through the assholes and the sexism and the funding denial and so on. The broader the sample, the greater the chance of success. This is how you do it.
"There’s a poisonous double standard in our society which says that it’s reverse-sexist and wrong for women to feel threatened by creepy-awkward male behaviour because our fear implies that we hold the negative, stereotypical view that All Men Are Predators, but that if we’re raped or sexually assaulted by any man with whom we’ve had prior social interaction – and particularly if he’s expressed some sexual or romantic interest in us during that time – it’s reasonable for observers to ask what precautions we took to prevent the assault from happening, or to suggest that we maybe led the guy on by not stating our feelings plainly. The result is a situation where women are punished if we reject, avoid or identify creepy men, and then told it’s our fault if we’re assaulted by someone we plainly ought to have rejected, avoided, identified."