I love the contributions made by the likes of Mriana and asanta. But why aren’t there more females who are active in these forums? After all, too much domination by either gender makes a place far less rich. Are we failing to foster a culture that is inclusive? Or is this just indicative of the larger secular population? Or is it something else entirely? And most important, can we do anything to change this?
That’s a good question. Asanta and Mriana are obviously very intelligent women but they can’t be the only two. There are others on the boards too like Jules and Missmac but they don’t post as often.
I think there are several reasons ( please don’t attack for using these generalizations. i realize they don’t apply to everyone). Women often are multitasking a bit more than us guys with job and family. They may have less time on their hands to shoot the breeze with us.
Women also are more likely to be religious and less attracted to the sciences on the whole. That in itself reduces the number of potential female participants on this site. There are lots of exceptions but I think this is well documented as a generalization.
Women also seem to be a bit more pragmatic I think. I can’t document this at all but it has been my observation ( perhaps biased by the women I have been exposed to) that women prefer to spend their time on things that are practical and make a more tangible difference on a daily basis. I tend to write opinion pieces from time to time in the local paper and some national publications. the response I seem to get from female friends and family more than men is “why do you waste your time. Nothing is going to change”. While the men in the family often times will either challenge the opinion I have espoused or agree with it but they are more willing to discuss the points. The women in my family are mostly doctors and lawyers and other smart, well educated people so its not an issue of lack of education.
I think women also tend to be a bit less confrontational on the whole compared to men and perhaps that keeps them from posting in places like this. Maybe they prefer a more collaborative harmonious atmosphere.
It would be interesting to hear from the women on the board. Pardon me while i run and duck
Why are women less active than the men in the discussion on politics, sports and philosophy when you throw a BBQ? I think they are not on our forum (or in the politics corner during a BBQ) because they don’t want to be here.
Can we do something about it? I dunno. Next time you are at a BBQ, go and try to foster an inclusive culture by approaching the women while they are giving each other a tip on how to spot a fake Coach bag, and ask them what they think about Hollande winning the elections.
As the biologist D’Arcy Thompson once said, “everything is the way it is because it got that way.” If you really want to know why women are different from men, read something on evolutionary psychology.
Oh F.I.K, you shoudn’t use the word “chicks”. Let’s face it though, women just do not like us
Well, maybe it depends on what part of the country/English speaking world one hails from, but I use the word chick all the time to refer to women and no one has ever objected. And most of my female friends are pretty liberal and not the sort to let a sexist remark go unchallenged. Maybe it’s because they know I mean no disrespect. It’s kind of ironic I guess, the way I use it. Of course, none of that comes through in a post on a forum, so you may have a point. I guess I am hoping that my feminist bona fides here speak louder than any unintentional slight. If I am wrong about that, I expect one of the women here to call me out on it.
And women do like me! It’s men I have a hard time getting along with.
And why not, in England they call women “birds” although I never could figure that one out. My wife explains our Relationship as one of hunter-gatherer. We hunt for whatever food, answers, meanings and women gather food, wayward kids, PTA memberships and they already have the answers. Actually I like to see a variety of opinions here from men and women. How many of us have said “hey honey (or fill in the blank) check out this interesting CFI site”. We discuss a number of topics here”. Answer: “Really? When I finish this freekin’ paperwork, take the kids to soccer practice and drop off the donated clothes to that charity site I’ll get right on that”.
Another factor may be that we males tend to enjoy babbling more than women do.
They may not care for having their ideas attacked. I recall many years ago when my wife and I were in a Great Books discussion group. We’d read the selection then discuss it at home. She had some great insights, but would never say them at the group so I’d have to voice them for her.
Religiosity and its association with gender has been studied in the past and always seems to show that women in general are more likely to be religious than men in any of the studies I ever recall reading. I don’t have the time to track down all the individual articles but in the excerpt from a book there are a number of references if you want to look them up.
A 2007 survey involved interviews with more than 35,000 U.S. adults by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. :
The percent of women (and then men) who:
•Are affiliated with a religion: 86 (79).
•Have absolutely certain belief in a God or universal spirit: 77 (65).
•Pray at least daily: 66 (49).
•Have absolutely certain belief in a personal God: 58 (45).
It does seem (totally anecdotally, for me), that women are 1) less interested in computer-centered activities and 2) less interested in argument and debate than men. Again, on average, with highly overlappping distributions. If true, this might explain the preponderence of men in fora such as these. As for why that is, I agree with George that the answer is in our natural history and evolution, but I don’t think we have any convicing or well-demonstrated details as to why (in terms of proximate neurobiology or ultimate evolutionary selection) it is that way.
Both Tim’s and Macgyver’s sites point to socialization differentiation and increased risk taking in men or the idea that we are less inhibited and don’t care if we go to heaven or hell (whichever comes first I guess). Women are more passive and less confrontational therefore they shy away from controversy. Back to nature v. Nurture!