Ladies, It's Time to Get Over 'B-Phobia'
Catherine Rampell: Female college students tend to drop out of science courses
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2014 12:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – Catherine Rampell has some advice for female college students that sounds a little odd at first: "Stop trying to be a straight-A students," she writes in the Washington Post. The reason is twofold: Science professors tend to give lower grades than humanities professors, and women are more likely than men to drop a particular subject if they don't get an A. Combine those two factors—and Rampell cites research to support both—and the upshot is that too few women are graduating with majors in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math.

"I fear that women are dropping out of fields such as math and computer science not because they’ve discovered passions elsewhere but because they fear delivering imperfection in the 'hard' fields that they (and potential employers) genuinely love," writes Rampell. Colleges can help by acknowledging and addressing the problem, but women have to take responsibility, too, by ditching their obsession with grades. "If women want to compete with the big boys, in the disciplines and professions where men continue to dominate, we need to overcome our B-phobia," writes Rampell. "Rinse yourselves of the intoxicating waters of Lake Wobegon, ladies, and embrace meaningful mediocrity." Click for her full column.

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Tom Maker
Mar 12, 2014 12:37 PM CDT
Maybe we should make the class easier for the girls. Then they can get A's like the men who work their butt off. Women simply do not have the desire to work hard as a man...yet expect the same benefits. So booo hoo to women who drop out when they get a B. Did the girls ever consider sticking with it??
Mar 11, 2014 11:54 PM CDT
Oh, I remember the times I'd be teaching in a college and the drop out deadline was close to a mid-term. A lot of the C and B students would drop out. The Dean once asked why I had so many A students and I showed his the midterm results and the drop outs who looked at the paper I expected (and I was know to be a terror on ghosted papers off the internet.) Then the memo went out "Don't grade so hard on the first mid-term..." Life.
Mar 11, 2014 10:40 PM CDT
It's not just ladies, but I'd like to see more statistics and info before I judge if they drop out due to "B Phobia".