Friday, February 16, 2018



An end to separate men's and women's sport? Australian Government MP makes radical suggestion for 'desegregated' competitions during heated debate about females in war

This should set the cat among the pigeons

A Turnbull Government MP has suggested men and women should compete against each other on the sporting field.

Perth-based Liberal senator Linda Reynolds made the radical call during a Twitter debate about women serving on the frontline of war.

In a social media battle with former Australian Christian Lobby boss Lyle Shelton, the 52-year-old backbencher suggested sporting codes allow women to compete against men - like the Australian Defence Force does when it comes to recruitment.

'So why don’t we take the lead from the ADF and desegregate women in sport, so men and women compete equally on talent, not by gender?,' she said.

Mr Shelton, who plans to run as an Australian Conservatives candidate at the next federal election, is opposed to the idea of female soldiers fighting in battle.

'If the AFL and the NRL are allowed to recognise the physical differences between men & women, why can’t the Army?,' he said.

Senator Reynolds, who spent 28 years in the Australian Army Reserve before becoming a brigadier, had described Mr Shelton's views as '1950s'.

'Your flippancy does great disservice to the thousands women who have, and continue, to serve our nation with great distinction side by side with their equally capable male counterparts,' she said.

She pointed out the Women's Royal Australian Army Corp was disbanded in 1985 when women were fully integrated into the Army.

The Australian government took another 26 years to allow females to join combat regiments.

Her proposal on mixed-gender sports could see the likes of Women's One Day International cricket star Ellyse Perry play on the same Test team as Steve Smith.

Australian women's soccer star Sam Kerr could be playing on the same side as Socceroos goal-scoring legend Tim Cahill.

However almost all sports have seperate competitions for male and female athletes, because of the difference in physical traits such as speed and strength.

Senator Reynold's call to gender desegregate sport comes as the AFL allows transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey to play in women's state and territory league matches.

SOURCE






More Cops Means Less Crime, Analysis Shows

An increase in the number of policemen, driven by an Obama-era boost in federal funding, led to drops in violent and property crime, including a reduction of one murder per every 11 police officers, a new paper argues.

The analysis, authored by Princeton Ph.D. candidate Steve Mello, examines what Mello identifies as a natural experiment in the relationship between the number of police and the rates of crime in a given jurisdiction.

Specifically, Mello focuses on the increase in police funding that came when a newly elected President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, allocating some $2 billion to the Department of Justice for police hiring grants, mostly through the Department's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. COPS grants were issued based on a "fuzzy cutoff," meaning a city's chances of receiving a grant jumped substantially if its scoring by DOJ (a combination of factors including crime rate and current police force size) passed a certain threshold. That fuzzy cutoff creates two natural groups for comparison: Those that received COPS funding and those that didn't.

Mello demonstrates that, while "high and low scoring cities follow[ed] similar trends in police and crime prior to the application year," cities above the threshold saw a 3.6 percent increase in police. This translated into a 4.8 percent decline in violent crimes and a 3 percent decline in property crimes for cities over the threshold, over average, an effect which Mello ties directly to the increase in police.

Those declines are driven especially by police effects on robbery, larceny, and auto theft, Mello notes. But police also exert a notable downwards pressure on murder rates, with the analysis finding a particularly robust negative response: For every 11 police officers hired, one murder is prevented.

The analysis concludes these declines are not driven merely by incapacitation, i.e. the prevention of crime by the physical removal of offenders from the streets. To determine this, Mello analyzed arrest rates and found they did not increase concurrently with the increase in number of police officers.

This, Mello argues, "suggests a deterrence mechanism underlying the estimated crime effects," with the simple presence of additional police reducing criminals' likelihood of committing a crime.

Mello's paper contributes to a growing body of research that supports a relationship between an increase in the number of police officers and a decline in the crime rate. This seemingly intuitive point struggled to find empirical verification until a 1997 paper by noted University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt analyzed the effects of police hiring driven by the ostensibly independent variable of electoral cycles, at last identifying a relationship between cops and crime.

Since then, the literature has grown, including more than one other analyses of COPS, and a natural experiment analyzed by Jonathan Klick and Alexander Tabarrok, who found fluctuations in police around the Capitol in Washington, D.C., affected crime rates.

Mello's paper provides a novel contribution to this body of literature because "several of the most-cited papers on the topic have studied the high crime periods of the 1980's and 1990's," whereas Mello "study[s] a period with low and falling crime rates and show[s] that additional police still have a meaningful impact in this very different environment."

This means that even during the notably low-crime 2010 to 2013 period police still drove crime rates down. Today, the 20-year crime decline may be in jeopardy: after having risen for two years in a row, violent crime rates fell in the first half of 2017, but murder continued to increase.

Funding for police hiring, specifically through COPS, has been a priority of the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In November, Sessions announced $98 million in new COPS grants, allowing 179 law enforcement agencies nationwide to hire 802 new full-time officers. COPS has provided over $14 billion in funding since 1994.

SOURCE





Pesky! Countries with greater gender equality have a lower percentage of female STEM graduates

Why does this matter?  If women have equal access that should be the end of it

Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion of women taking degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a new study has found. Policymakers could use the findings to reconsider initiatives to increase women's participation in STEM, say the researchers.


Dubbed the 'gender equality paradox', the research found that countries such as Albania and Algeria have a greater percentage of women amongst their STEM graduates than countries lauded for their high levels of gender equality, such as Finland, Norway or Sweden.

The researchers, from Leeds Beckett University in the UK and the University of Missouri in the USA, believe this might be because countries with less gender equality often have little welfare support, making the choice of a relatively highly-paid STEM career more attractive.

The study, published in Psychological Science, also looked at what might motivate girls and boys to choose to study STEM subjects, including overall ability, interest or enjoyment in the subject and whether science subjects were a personal academic strength.

Using data on 475,000 adolescents across 67 countries or regions, the researchers found that while boys' and girls' achievement in STEM subjects was broadly similar, science was more likely to be boys' best subject. Girls, even when their ability in science equalled or excelled that of boys, were often likely to be better overall in reading comprehension, which relates to higher ability in non-STEM subjects. Girls also tended to register a lower interest in science subjects. These differences were near-universal across all the countries and regions studied.

This could explain some of the gender disparity in STEM participation, as Gijsbert Stoet, Professor in Psychology from Leeds Beckett University explains:

"The further you get in secondary and then higher education, the more subjects you need to drop until you end with just one. We are inclined to choose what we are best at and also enjoy. This makes sense and matches common school advice." he said. "So, even though girls can match boys in terms of how well they do at science and mathematics in school, if those aren't their best subjects and they are less interested in them, then they're likely to choose to study something else."

The researchers also looked at how many girls might be expected to choose further study in STEM based on these criteria. They took the number of girls in each country who had the necessary ability in STEM and for whom it was also their best subject and compared this to the number of women graduating in STEM. They found there was a disparity in all countries, but with the gap once again larger in more gender equal countries. In the UK, 29% of STEM graduates are female, whereas 48% of UK girls might be expected to take those subjects based on science ability alone. This drops to 39% when both science ability and interest in the subject are taken into account.

Co-researcher Professor David Geary from the University of Missouri said: "Although countries with greater gender equality tend to be those where women are actively encouraged to participate in STEM, they lose more girls from an academic STEM track who might otherwise choose it, based on their personal academic strengths. Broader economic factors appear to contribute to the higher participation of women in STEM in countries with low gender equality and the lower participation in gender-equal countries."

Countries with higher gender equality tend also to be welfare states, providing a high level of social security for their citizens, compared to those with lower gender equality which tend to have less secure and more difficult living conditions. Using the UNESCO overall life satisfaction (OLS) figures as a proxy for economic opportunity and hardship, the researchers found that in more gender equal countries, overall life satisfaction was higher.

Professor Stoet said: "STEM careers are generally secure and well-paid but the risks of not following such a path can vary. In more affluent countries where any choice of career feels relatively safe, women may feel able to make choices based on non-economic factors. Conversely, in countries with fewer economic opportunities, or where employment might be precarious, a well-paid and relatively secure STEM career can be more attractive to women."

Professor Geary adds: "Essentially when you lessen economic concerns, as is the case in gender-equal countries, personal preferences are more strongly expressed. In this situation, sex differences in academic strengths and occupational interests more strongly influence college and career choices, creating the STEM paradox we describe."

Despite extensive efforts to increase participation of women in STEM, levels have remained broadly stable for decades, but these findings could help target interventions to make them more effective, say the researchers.

"It's important to take into account that girls are choosing not to study STEM for what they feel are valid reasons, so campaigns that target all girls may be a waste of energy and resources," said Professor Stoet. "If governments want to increase women's participation in STEM, a more effective strategy might be to target the girls who are clearly being 'lost' from the STEM pathway: those for whom science and maths are their best subjects and who enjoy it but still don't choose it. If we can understand their motivations, then interventions can be designed to help them change their minds."

SOURCE





Sex and STEM: Stubborn Facts and Stubborn Ideologies

Many academics in the modern world seem obsessed with the sex difference in engagement with science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) fields. Or rather they are obsessed with the fact that there are more men than women in some of these fields. There is particular concern about the lack of women in prestigious STEM fields, such as Ph.D.-level faculty positions, but surprisingly there is no concern about the under-representation of women in lower-level technical jobs, such as car mechanics or plumbing.

The concerned academics have been especially effective in convincing others, or at least intimidating them, into accepting their preferred interpretations regarding the source of these sex differences (as illustrated in the Google memo debate). These interpretations are not surprising and they include sexism, stereotype threat, and more recently implicit bias and microaggression. Each of these ideas has gained traction in the mainstream media and in many academic circles but their scientific foundations are shaky. In this essay, we’ll provide some background on the STEM controversy and consider multiple factors that might contribute to these sex differences.

The U.S. National Science Foundation reports that women are awarded 57 percent of undergraduate STEM degrees, but with substantial differences across fields. Women earn the majority of degrees in the life and social sciences but less than 20 percent of the degrees in computer science and engineering, sex differences that have held steady for several decades. The STEM debate is primarily about sex differences in educational and later occupational choices in inorganic fields, those focused on understanding non-living things. These differences are socially important because these tend to be prestigious occupations, and practically important because the different numbers of men and women in these fields contribute, in part, to the sex difference in earnings.1

At the core of the obsession is the zeitgeist that there should be gender equity – equal outcomes – for anything of monetary or social value. The combination of an extreme agenda among some feminists and a stubborn sex difference has created a cottage industry focused on rectifying this ‘injustice.’ The federal governments in the U.S., U.K., and other Western nations have devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to interventions to close the gap. Some of the activities funded by these initiatives make sense and are possibly helpful in some ways, such as programs to increase interest in mathematics or programming among girls. Other programs, such as developing mentoring programs exclusively for women who are junior faculty in science and engineering in university settings (e.g., U.K. Athena Swan’s programs) are ethically problematic because they assume men do not need that level of support. From an evidence-based perspective, the most questionable and perhaps the most favored of these interventions are focused on stereotype threat, implicit bias, and microaggression.

Stereotype threat occurs when one is confronted with tasks or situations that trigger negative stereotypes (e.g., that “women are not as proficient at math as men”), that in turn result in a preoccupation about performing in a way that confirms the stereotype.2 Critically, the preoccupation is said to undermine actual performance, even when there is no factual basis to the stereotype. Implicit bias is a related concept and involves an unconscious association between group membership (e.g., sex) and stereotypical positive or negative attributes that can also, in theory, result in prejudicial behavior towards individuals within that group.3 Microaggressions are subtle behaviors (e.g., facial expressions) or statements that are not explicitly hostile but are nevertheless interpreted by the receiver as conveying contempt, stereotypical attitudes, or other negative beliefs.

Proponents of these theories and their activist followers believe that some significant proportion of the sex differences in STEM fields – but curiously only those in which men outnumber women – are thought to be caused by pervasive negative stereotypes about women’s abilities in these fields that in turn undermine their performance. Their argument is that in school and in the workplace, women in these fields are subjected to microaggressions by teachers and colleagues that seep from their unconscious belief in these same stereotypes. The result is the creation of unsupportive and even subtly hostile classrooms and work environments. These types of explanations fit hand-in-glove with the narrative of some feminist scholars; that the sex difference is largely due to oppressive social and cultural factors that undermine women’s pursuit of degrees and occupations in STEM fields.4

These concepts have been embraced by the mass media and beyond, and include accusations made in the New York Times that the wording of several SAT items trigger stereotype threat and undermine girls’ performance on the mathematics section of the test, and the publication of self-help books to purge one’s own unconscious biases.5 On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with an academic and mass media focus on these topics. The real issues concern the magnitude of these effects on women’s STEM participation and the foregone opportunities of not focusing on other factors that might have an even stronger impact on their participation.

Let’s start with the magnitude of stereotype threat on girls’ and women’s mathematics achievement.6 Given the prominence of the topic and the resources devoted to it, we carried out the first meta-analysis (i.e., statistical aggregation of experimental results across many studies) of the effect of stereotype threat on sex differences in mathematics performance.7 We reasoned that if stereotype threat had a substantive effect on girls’ and women’s mathematics performance then the most basic experimental manipulation of the effect should replicate across studies. It replicated in about half of the studies that used the same and most basic experimental design. And of the half that replicated, half of these used a questionable statistical approach. The summary of the other half did not show a stereotype threat effect. Thus, if you accept the questionable statistical approach, you may still argue that a small stereotype threat exists.

In a related analysis, Flore and Wichert found a similar overall effect, but when they corrected for publication bias – the tendency for positive but not negative results to be published – the effect essentially disappeared.8 Because studies that do not find an effect tend not to get published, this means that even when there is evidence for a small stereotype threat effect in some reports, the real-world impact could be close to zero. Currently, a large replication effort is being carried out, and we are optimistic that this will be a significant step towards finally determining whether or not stereotype threat can undermine girl’s and women’s performance in mathematics, and if so to what extent.

More HERE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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1 comment:

Paul Weber said...

To claim there are no differences between males and females is to deny all science, logic and reasoning. To try to "force" an equality of results is nothing more than brutish behavior.