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If you really truly want to improve the gender balance on, you will delete this post from the sequence, and never bring it up again. I know it's well-meaning, but as a woman it just makes me feel weird and singled out. I am convinced from long, sad experience that as long as the conversation circles around gender, it'll do more harm than good; I find the research on stereotype threat to be powerfully convincing and explanatory.

In reading through the comments (I didn't get to all 240 of them, I'll admit), I found it striking that constructive suggestions occurred when someone reframed the question from "How can we make women feel more welcome?" to "How can we make newcomers feel more welcome?"

And to everyone who was so ready to come up with biological/evolutionary theories to explain this possible gender imbalance, I have a stunning, heretical statement to make:

Men's and women's brains are not significantly different. Observed differences between genders in thought patterns and behavior are cultural and can change.

I humbly suggest that if you disagree, then read the actual studies that make claims to the contrary. Ask yourself, "How emotionally invested am I in the idea that men and women are fundamentally different in the way their brains work? Would I find any of these conclusions to be convincing if they didn't reinforce my preexisting ideas? Do these studies really meet a minimum standard of evidence?" I know I was pretty shocked at my answers to these questions.

"Delusions of Gender," by Cordelia Fine, is an excellent primer on this topic, btw.


I work in a semi-technical offshoot of (ducks!) online marketing. I've always had rationalist tendencies, and reading the material on this website has had a "coming home" feeling for me. I appreciate the high level of discourse and the low levels of status-seeking behaviors.

I am female, and I read with interest the discussion on gender, but unfortunately I do not think I can contribute much to that topic, because I have been told repeatedly that I am "not like other women." I certainly don't think it would be a good idea to generalize from my example what other women think or feel (although to be honest the same could be said about my ability to represent the general populace).

I found my way here through the Harry Potter story, which a friend sent to me knowing that I would appreciate the themes. I am enjoying it tremendously.