I really can't believe that President Lawrence Summers of Harvard fell for that feeble blackmail effort by Nancy Hopkins, of MIT, and other women in science. For their Victorian-maiden-like swooning at the very mention of a gender-based difference in aptitude for science, women faculty members benefited to the tune of $ 50 MILLION. That's right, he ponied up the cash.

And why?

Because he pointed out the unthinkable - that the reason there's fewer women in science is because fewer women have the innate ability.

Bestill my heart!

To a certain extent, Summers did no more than speak the truth. Fewer women are willing to spend the hours necessary to excel in science, math, and engineering. That's a fact.

Those of us who do like those subjects are in the minority. And, I say "US", because I am a science teacher, computer geek (let's just say I can quote Star Trek episodes, program in several languages, and, yes, have a Linux machine or two), and a woman.

But, I know I'm in the minority. At any workshop, convention, conference, or meeting, my gender is less represented. Particularly in the physical sciences or the geekier end of computers.

I kind of like it. Being one of the few girls in the room. I get treated very well, and, after I establish my credentials, am accepted as "one of the guys". I don't take having to prove myself as evidence that men don't want women around - after all, the guys also put the new guys through the same testing.

Being the Rose among Thorns is cool. It does require that you speak "guy" - but, after all these years, I'm fluently bi-lingual. And, in a female way, I really enjoy having the undivided attention of so many men.

A few years ago, I talked to a woman who had quit a Calculus class because the professor said that women never managed to pass. She felt that her experience was evidence of discrimination.

I felt that it was evidence that she could be conned. Guys say stupid stuff like that all the time. But they fold when you hang tough.


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