Via Matt McIrvin (whose earlier entry on “Nerd Bravado” is also a must-read), the best explanation I’ve heard so far of the whole “Why are there so few women in scinece?” debate: they got better jobs:
One of my students, we’ll call him Bill, in an introductory computer science class said that he wanted to be a biologist when he grew up. What biologists had Bill met? They were all professors at MIT and about half of them had won the Nobel Prize. This is hardly an average sample of people who went to Biology graduate school! Fortunately, Bill was a tall good-looking fellow. He managed to score himself a lovely girlfriend during the semester, we’ll call her Theresa. Theresa was a biology postdoc, with a PhD from an elite institution and a plum job at MIT. Bill got to see how Theresa was treated in the lab, count her working hours, see the pay stubs she received as a young woman in her 30s with a PhD, wave goodbye as she got fired after her experiment did not work out, and write email to Theresa at her new postdoc at Stanford. By the end of the semester, Bill said, “I think I want to be an architect.”
I don’t entirely agree with his claims (in particular, I think the job picture he paints is a little too bleak), but it’s an entertaining contrarian take on the whole argument.