Sunday, May 13, 2007

Science PhD gender gap narrowing?

It could be that I lack the proper optimism, but the trend didn't appear as earth-shattering to me as it did to the author of the article. Especially the most recent data points! When the top bar on the graph is at 50%, I'll breathe a little easier. Until then, there is work to be done. Click the graph to get the full story from the Sacramento Bee.

Among the best lines from the article: "[Suzanne} Barber, a fourth-year doctoral student, is one engineer who hopes the phenomenon leads teenage girls to discover the sciences and reject frivolous media portrayals of young women. 'This idea -- be like Paris Hilton or Mandy Moore. I think it's important to show a different side of what a woman can be,' said Barber, who is studying materials science engineering.

Bonus blogpoints if you can identify what's wrong with the graph. Comment away!


Stevie Ray said...

Stevie Ray says:
Hmm...let me see.

The first value shown on the x-axis is labeled 1994-1996 (I assume 1995 is in there somewhere); the second value shown is 1995-1997. It seems to me that the person constructing the graph has a time-warp problem?

Dean Baird said...

I was willing to grant them that one. I figured it was some inherent necessity of their data. Perhaps I was too generous.

I was bothered by the non-zero zero value at the base of the graph. It starts at 10%. I know they do that to "magnify," but it's still a graphing foul.