Larry Summers, got into a little trouble when at a speech in 2005 at a National Bureau of Economic Research he said:

There are three broad hypotheses about the sources of the very substantial disparities that this conference's papers document and have been documented before with respect to the presence of women in high-end scientific professions. One is what I would call the-I'll explain each of these in a few moments and comment on how important I think they are-the first is what I call the high-powered job hypothesis. The second is what I would call different availability of aptitude at the high end, and the third is what I would call different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search. And in my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described.

Are there studies that put forth the lack of "availability of aptitude" of women at the high end in the sciences hypothesis? (what if any conclusions did those studies draw?)

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    He’s probably not too far off – except that I’m convinced the order of importance is reversed. Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 15:19
  • While it's a good question, I fail to see how it can be proven one way or the other in a study. The proponents would point to teh fact that if there was not a dearth of availability, more of them would be visible as high-end researchers with notable achievements, but the don't have proof aside from status quo since they can't prove that nobody is available, aside from "invisible forces of the market" (e.g. if they WERE indeed there, there are enough incetives for them in 2012 to be there, present and achieving) ...
    – user5341
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 15:21
  • ... while the opponents vaguely mumble about discrimination, glass ceiling, sexism, and a bunch of relevant post-modernist and political excuses, without showing any evidence whatsoever of specific women who HAVE the aptitude yet aren't making themselves available because of said sexism/glass ceiling, in the requisite number.
    – user5341
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 15:22
  • @DVK, I don't require that it be proven. I just want to know what studies exist, if any, that have proposed this as an explaination. I believe that his statement isn't that controversial. I think I remember studies that found that although the avg math apttitude of boys/girls were was basically the same, but boys had greater variability. This supposedly would explain a 3 or 4:1 ratio at the high end, but not the much larger differences hat we actually see in the STEM fields.
    – user1873
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:32
  • @user1873 - See this answer.
    – user5341
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:43


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