The British Minister of Education says sex-specific toys may turn girls off an education in science and technology. The Telegraph informs us that:
Manufacturers risk turning girls off careers in science and maths by producing gender-specific toys, the Education Minister has warned.
Elizabeth Truss said that companies marketing chemistry sets exclusively at boys was the “antithesis of what we want to promote” in the state school system.
She called for parents to buy more Lego for their daughters to get them interested in engineering.
Mrs Truss also backed a campaign established to call for the abolition of gender segregation in toy departments, insisting girls should not be pushed into fashion over farming.
The comments were made following a decision by Marks & Spencer to pledge that its range of toys would be “gender neutral” by this spring after being flooded with complaints from the Let Toys Be Toys campaign.
No, Minister, girls are not dissuaded from an engineering career because of toys.You have the causal relationship backward. The kind of thinking that engineering represents does not interest most girls, by their natures. Modern ideas about sex-roles being a social construct will not change this fact. The freer women are to pursue what career they want, the less they want to be engineers. In places like the former Soviet Union, yes, there were plenty of women engineers, but where women are free to pursue what careers they want, female participation in engineering goes down, not up.
If there were not a generally greater predilection by males for science and technology professions, there would not be the enormous effort made to attract women to science and engineering. Proportionately more males than females seek these professions without the artificial encouragement of policy. This is not a problem that needs fixing, except to the political Left.
The refutation of this bad social science is found in an especially entertaining television series of a few years ago called “Hjernevask” – “Brainwash”, by Harald Eia for Norwegian television. The first episode is called “The Geneder Equality Paradox”, and deals with today’s topic. See Steve Sailer’s commentary on Eia’s brilliant take-down of bad social science in 2010. That will lead you to the television shows put on by Eia that demolished this nonsense. The English-language version of his shows are found here. I blogged about these shows two years ago here. I wish someone would go through Canadian social science departments and do the same as Harald Eia did in Norway.