Curve Ball-single gender education

Dr. Paula J. Schlax pjschlax at JHUVMS.HCF.JHU.EDU
Mon Dec 15 21:36:45 EST 1997

I wanted to throw a different perspective into this mix. I was a chem
engineering undergrad at Clarkson University.  Somewhere between 20 and
50 % women, depending on the year, the major, the course etc.
As a Chem E, there were probably 30% women in my classes. There
definitely were some  differences in the ways women asked questions
(typically after class rather than during) or dealt with lab courses (in
pairs, I think more often the women did the note taking and record
keeping than the men did).  For me personally, I never felt
uncomfortable in a class because of its composition, and I don't think,
for the most part, the prof's showed gender bias (at least not
intentionally). I had a lot of opportunities to work in groups on design
projects etc., and I found that with the exception of the lazy jerks
(always a few in a class) that self chosen groups become much more mixed
in gender as we progressed in our studies.

It is hard for me, coming from such a place, to understand the
advantages of an all woman program.  Especially at the college level.
Don't flame me, but please help me understand.  I wonder if some of the
attrition of women in graduate school and beyond might not be a result
of starting to deal with Gender bias after being somewhat sheltered.
Does anyone know whether there are any statistics to support or oppose
this proposal?

-Paula Schlax

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