Why are there so few U.S. women in math/science fields?

In college I've noticed that the vast amount of female students in engineering classes are Asian. Female students also tend to be mostly Asian in finance classes (except marketing maybe). Considering China and most other Asian countries aren't exactly "pro feminist" why do women from those countries choose fields predominantly associated with men while most U.S. women avoid them?

My view personally is that the western media makes women believe those jobs are not right. Women are constantly told men are sexist and indirectly when they enter a male-dominated field I think lots of women subconsciously believe they will face sexism, regardless of their beliefs being ground in reality or not.

Also, I think U.S. divorce laws create a huge moral hazard for women in STEM careers. STEM fields tend to be very difficult and I think lots of women in the back of their mind know that if they fail they will likely have a guy to rely on (maybe not Brad Pitt but even fat and ugly women can still find some dude to support them). However, in most Asian countries, divorce oftentimes is not a life-time gravy train like here. (Singapore is somewhat of an exception).


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Asian girls from what I have seen are very driven and motivated. From what I have seen as a pure science major a lot of the females are from middle eastern and Asian countries. Good on them. I can't quite put my finger as to why its dominantly foreign women in these fields. Very strange. I will keep an eye on this question to see other answers. A lot of my female counterparts in science opted for the more broad sciences like conservation, ecology and psycology where all my male friends tended to go to physics, chem, math, engineering. My friends engineering and physics class is about 95 percent male (a sausage fest as he puts it). It seems to me a lot of girls are just not plain interested in math and phyisics concepts for the joy of it. Males tend to enjoy that stuff a lot more.

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What Girls Said 7

  • Lol the second problem is once we enter those (i'm in chemistry) everyone makes it feel like running an uphill marathon because we don't fit the picture.

    In a male dominated field I'm seen, not heard, and I constantly get the "compliment" "oh you're actually smart!"

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  • In Asian countries, math oriented fields are the only way out of poverty and for social mobility. When I say Asian, I'm talking about East Asian countries and India.

    Two Million Minutes is a pretty good documentary on this issue. But over there it's a necessity.

    It has nothing to do with feminism, contrary to popular belief on here where guys who worship Asian girls think western chicks are the devils due to feminism.

    You also have to keep in mind that it could be a coincidence that those girls who are math oriented go into those fields and embrace their 'talents'(I think of it as a talent at least).

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  • Maybe its just not an interest of theirs. How come there's not a lot of men in cosmetology?

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  • Women are interested I guess.

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  • Math and science fields are so boring to me. I couldn't imagine having a career in one of those fields.

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  • Because a lot of women aren't interested in it. Same as why men aren't in communication or education fields.

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  • ugh math is hard.

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What Guys Said 5

  • A lot of women actually study biology and chemistry. It physics, mathematics, computer science, and the generally engineering disciplines that seem to be devoid of women. It's not like differential equations are exactly thrilling material. Quite frankly I find most of the curriculum associated with becoming an electric engineer, mechanical engineer, computer engineer, ect. unsatisfying. I know plenty of guys in those fields and they seem to hate or did hate it when they were going through it, but basically went through the grind just for the career.

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  • I honestly see most women in education fields.

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  • JamielovesKU got it right. In the US women tend to go into fields that interest them. They "follow their hearts".

    Men, on the other hand, are far more likely to follow the money. They have to.

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  • Good question.

    It is equally important to note that THIS is why women make less money than men do in the US. It is NOT because of discrimination, as feminists love to say.

    Ladies - take responsibility for your choices and stop blaming men for the consequences of those choices. You can't have it both ways.

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  • Because generally they aren't smart enough or don't put the effort.

    They complain that guys make more but the guys pick the harder jobs that pay more

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