This was supposed to be a comment on Lori’s blog entry about a discussion at Electrolite partly involving the statement:
Women do not write hard science fiction today because so few can hack the physics[…]
But Lori’s blacklist plugin appears to be broken, so I’m not sure the comment went through. I’m preserving it here for posterity.
I‚Äôm not sure which assumption bothers me more ‚Äì the assumption that women are incapable, or the assumption that we don‚Äôt find science interesting enough to bother with it.
I wanted to say:
I don’t think either is an assumption. They’re both somewhat-independent deductions from the number of women in physics. Either one may be an incorrect deduction, though the only other likely explanation seems to be continuing bias against women in the academic community and that doesn’t seem terribly likely either.
To summarize: Women don’t study advanced physics in the numbers men do. Either they can’t hack it and our merit-based system boots them, or they can hack it but they’re not interested, or they can hack it and they are interested but the academic world keeps them out somehow. I’m curious what you think the explanation is, if not one of those three.
As for women writing hard science, that’s an even harder number to explain away since women in general have better verbal skills than men, which ought to balance out men’s greater talent for physics (or whatever other factor results in more male physicists).