University Rejects Professor’s Statement That Men And Women Are Different

Grace Carr | Reporter

The University of Washington publicly condemned a professor’s op-ed explaining that there aren’t as many women in the field of coding as men because men and women are different and make different choices.

Computer science professor Stuart Reges wrote a June 19 essay explaining why there aren’t more women in the field of coding, alleging that it’s unlikely the percentage of women in the tech industry will surpass 20 percent because women are simply less interested in the profession than men.

“If men and women are different, then we should expect them to make different choices,” he continued in the piece. “There has been no period of time when men have been increasing while women have been decreasing.” He surmised that “Women can code, but often they don’t want to.” (RELATED: UW Professor Wants Students To ‘Avoid Becoming Fragile’ After Reaction To Women In Tech Op-Ed)

The school took issue with the professor’s essay, even sending out an email rejecting the piece and its premise. “We disagree with the conclusions drawn in the article,” UW School of Science Director Hank Levy wrote in an email to the whole campus June 23, Campus Reform reported Monday

“We disagree with the assertion that gender differences and preferences explain the disparity between men and women in computer science and engineering,” spokeswoman Kristin Osborn said, according to Campus Reform. She would not confirm whether Levy had read Reges’ essay or if the research the professor cited in his piece had been reviewed before the university publicly rejected the essay.

Reges pushed back against the university’s comment, alleging that his essay “is what science should be about.” He added that “UW already decided based on ideology, not science, that they disagree with my conclusions.”

Reges noted in his essay that women generally avoid risk more than men, while men respond more aptly to economic incentives. While the number of female computer science majors rose from 15 percent in 1965 to 37 percent in 1984, according to the National Science Foundation, that number fell to under 20 percent in 2015. Reges explains this drop by positing the lower percentages reflect women’s choices rather than discriminatory behavior against women in tech.

Reges’s colleagues also lambasted the professor shortly after he published the op-ed, and the university’s Diversity Allies drafted a petition asking students how they felt about his statements after the professor’s essay came out.

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