2018 NCWIT Summit - Plenary II, Pink Brain, Blue Brain: What's the Real Story When It Comes To "Gender Differences" presented by Lise Eliot

May 16, 2018

[upbeat music]

Man: A break for lunch, all right. Now? 

Woman: Not yet, don't do it. 

[upbeat music] 

JEFF FORBES: Hello, hope you guys had a very good lunch. 

[audience applauds] 

JEFF FORBES: Hi, I'm Jeff Forbes, I teach computer science at Duke, a member of the Academic Alliance here, and I'm very happy to be here with you today. And also, I wanted to say hello to our viewing audience out there, who's not in the room. So, as our tradition, we will begin and end this session celebrating the accomplishments of NCWIT community members. What the NCWIT community does is particularly impactful in a lot of different ways, but today, what we're gonna talk about is, our first awards are going to focus on post-secondary education. Post-secondary education is critical to increasing representation of all groups in the computing disciplines, and research and experience has shown that the college, faculty, and staff can make a world of difference in student experience, in the courses, and programs in computing, that end up really defining what happens in terms of be able to broaden participation in computing so that we can have, help achieve all of NCWIT's goals. So we have many post-secondary educators here with us today, and we thank you for your change leadership, service, and persistence. Next, we're going to recognize awardees from a few of the more than 500 Academic Alliance member programs. I'd like to have Renee Wittemyer from Pivotal Ventures join me on stage to help with the Surging Enrollment Seed Fund Award. Renee is the Senior Lead Tech, sorry, Renee is the Senior Lead for Tech Innovation at Pivotal Ventures, the executive office of Melinda Gates. Melinda Gates is known for being a famous Duke computer science alum, but has also done a lot of other things in her life. In her role, Renee leads the organization's work to activate and elevate girls and women as leaders of tech innovation, she previously worked at Intel in a number of positions, including Director of Strategy and Research for their Global Diversity Efforts. Please join me in welcoming Renee to the stage. 

[upbeat music]

RENEE WITTEMYER: Thanks, Jeff, And Hello. I'm happy to be here today to support the great work of NCWIT, and to recognize the many leaders, is there an echo? Should I stop? I'll just keep going. So to recognize the critical work of the many leaders here today, creating a more inclusive and empowering tech industry. For those of you who aren't familiar with Pivotal Ventures, we are an investment and incubation company that was founded by Melinda Gates. We partner with different types of organizations and individuals who share our urgency around accelerating social progress in the United States. Together we fuel new approaches that substantially improve people's lives. Our current work focuses primarily on identifying and lowering the barriers that continue to limit the full participation of women and girls in the United States. On the tech front, specifically, we work with partners like NCWIT, and many others here today to support and create new pathways for girls and women in the tech industry. We're also promoting a more supportive work environment, and enabling female innovators through a variety of resources. We do this because like Melinda, and like all of you, we believe if more women can succeed as tech leaders, it will lead to more innovation, better products, and stronger companies. And because she couldn't attend today in person, I'd like to play a special message from Melinda. 

Video:

MELINDA GATES: I can't be with you in person today, but I want to say how happy I am that you're here. You believe in the power of technology to make the world a better place for everybody. You also know that the technology industry needs to represent everybody, and you're giving your time and your talent to make that a reality. When NCWIT set a goal of doubling the number of diverse four-year tech degree recipients by 2024, they weren't giving themselves an easy task. Normally you see goals like that set for 15 or 30 years in the future, but not six, but NCWIT isn't messing around, and I'm glad because we can't afford to mess around. We've all seen, time and time again, how both diversity and a lack of diversity affects the quality of technology. The work you do to make tech more diverse will drive innovation, and it will increase economic opportunity for underrepresented groups, especially girls and women, and particularly girls and women of color. So thanks to your leadership and your dedication, this community is making big strides. Many of you are involved in efforts to help computer science departments around the country so they can attract, support, graduate more underrepresented students. Many of you are also working hard to create welcoming profession environments where all people can thrive and lead. There's still a lot of work to do, but with you in it for the long haul, I know we'll get it done, especially because I see you focusing not on the obstacles in our way, but on the solution that will help us overcome them. Your commitment to equity and creativity in technology inspires me, I want to congratulate you on getting us to where we are today, and I want to thank you in advance for how far I know you'll take us tomorrow. 

[audience applauds] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: So, Now onto celebrating some of the leaders in the room. So computing disciplines continue to grow in popularity among all student populations. To meet this trend, universities and colleges are looking for ways to handle the increased demand for their services without inadvertently leaving behind underrepresented populations, and so this special call for NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund invited proposals for those developing and testing approaches to increase diversity of incoming computing students, despite the enrollment surge. Pivotal Ventures is pleased to support this critical effort, and I'm proud to present these funds, so let's meet the 2018 Surging Enrollment Seed Fund recipients. Dr. Tracy Camp, and Ms. Sharon Naylor, Colorado School of Mines. 

[audience cheers] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: Colorado School of Mines will create a program entitled, Undergraduate Computing Leaders, uh-oh. 

[audience laughs] 

[audience cheers] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: They will create a program entitled, Undergraduate Computing Leaders Invested in Mentoring Beginners, also known as UCLIMB. UCLIMB proposes to develop capable, near-peer mentors for intro-level computer science students, using best practices to train student mentors through targeted workshops, encourage women's enrollment in intro-level computer science courses, and support effective near-peer guidance in an inclusive, active learning environment. 

[audience applauds] 

TRACY CAMP: Thanks. 

SHARON NAYLOR: Thank you. 

[audience applauds] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: Okay, and so then we have Dr. Linda Ott, and Ms. Allison Carter, Michigan Technological University. 

[audience applauds] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: Dr. Ott is here to accept the award. Michigan Tech plans to increase the percentage of female applicants to their computing programs who actually enroll for the fall semester by creating a near-peer mentoring program, and enhancing other programming efforts. When creating their mentorship program, Michigan Tech will expand upon the experience of a mentorship program for incoming, underrepresented students that is currently offered through their Center of Diversity and Inclusion. 

[audience applauds] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: Doctors Melissa Dagley, Gary Leavens, and Damla Turgut, University of Central Florida. 

[audience applauds] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: The University of Central Florida will enhance ongoing efforts to implement a comprehensive approach to address the recruitment and retention of women into computing by cultivating coding skills in high school women, designing and engaging gateway coding for all cores, and redesigning entry-level major courses. This comprehensive approach includes increasing girls' participation at high school summer computing experiences through matched donor scholarships, creating peer mentoring opportunities for the first year college women in computing, and redesigning the first year curricula to remove roadblocks for students who are entering the field with less background in computing. 

[audience applauds] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: Doctors Maria Gini and Shana Watters, University of Minnesota. 

[audience applauds] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: Dr. Watters is here to accept the award. The University of Minnesota will create a cohort of the women taking their CS1 courses by providing an additional educational experience where once a week, they will engage in problem solving in an engaged and interactive environment. The program is modeled after the Emerging Scholars Program at Columbia University, the Computational Thinking Lab at Michigan State University, the Wisconsin Emerging Scholars Computer Science Program, and other similar programs, thank you. 

[audience applauds] 

RENEE WITTEMYER: Congratulations to all of you, as you know, you'll be receiving $10,000.00 to continue to drive your work. Let's give another round of applause for all the recipients. 

[audience applauds] 

Woman: thank you. 

[background noise drowns out speaker] 

JEFF FORBES: So Thanks, Renee, And Pivotal Ventures. So, as Renee mentioned, the Surging Enrollment Fund, Seed Fund, are part of a broader Academic Alliance Seed Fund, sponsored by Microsoft Research. Next, we honor these inspirational awardees. Helping is Donald Kossmann, distinguished scientist, and Director of the Microsoft Research Redmond Lab. Microsoft has been a wonderful strategic partner with NCWIT, supporting a wide variety of NCWIT programs. Please help me in welcoming Donald to the stage. 

[upbeat music] 

DONALD KOSSMANN: Okay, Thanks, Jeff, And thanks for having me here, I'm a first timer, I actually was hoping to get one of these beautiful first timer ribbons, but for somehow I didn't get one, maybe I didn't deserve one, anyway. 

[audience laughs] 

DONALD KOSSMANN: So, so Microsoft, so I work for Microsoft, which is also connected to Melinda Gates, as you may be aware of, and Microsoft is really, really honored and proud to be part of this, and be able to support this Academic Alliance Seed Fund. This fund has affected 400 schools, it has touched more than 1,000 educators, 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and nearly 12,000 K-12 students, so this is quite an accomplishment. Over the last 12 years, Microsoft Research has awarded 55 NCWIT Academic Awards, and the value was more than $600,000.00. So I'm really happy to present the, the institutions that are gonna get the award today. The great thing is that all of these institutions, they started with the help of these awards, some new programs, and more than half of these institutions were able to sustain these programs, even after the, kind of the award expired, so this is really, really good, and encouraging to see. So all you awardees today will receive a $10,000.00 gift from, as part of this program. So with this, I would like to announce and present the award winners, and I'd like to start with the first award winner. Actually, the, should come at the, at the slide. So the first, so the first winner, and the first recipient is the Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and it is using this grant to start a new training program for faculty, counselors, and college recruiters. The goal of that program is to equip people with best practices for recruiting, and retaining women and other underrepresented minorities in the Computer Information Systems Department. Though this, through this program, the Johnson County Community College hopes to increase women's enrollment by 10% over the next three years, that's a very ambitious goal, so please, please welcome Perla Weaver, who's gonna receive the award today. 

[audience applauds] 

[overlapping chatter] 

[audience applauds] 

DONALD KOSSMANN: So the second winner and recipient is the Oklahoma State University Department of Design, Housing, and Merchandising. And the Oklahoma State University is using this grant to start a new program to introduce middle school girls to STEM in the nearby, in the nearby Iowa Tribal Community. The girls, the STEM girls, will use VR, augmented reality and 3D printing to learn principles of architectural design in the University's Mixed Reality Lab. The project will build partnerships with Oklahoma's Native American educational organization to encourage young women interested in computing, and here to accept and receive this award is Dr. Tilanka Chandrasekera. 

[audience applauds] 

DONALD KOSSMANN: Oh. 

[audience applauds] 

DONALD KOSSMANN: So, and finally, the last recipient, last but not least, of course, is the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. It is creating a new program that demonstrates how parents can have a strong influence on high school women's college decision making processes. The University will bring together mothers, teachers, and 9th and 10th grade women to learn how to program a humanoid robot by working in teams. Through this fun immersion, they hope to show parents that STEM fields aren't just for boys, and get parents on board to encourage and support their daughters' technology-related interest. Accepting these awards, this award are doctors Giti Javidi, Ehsan Sheybani, and Lila Rajabion, so give them a round of applause. 

[audience applauds] 

JEFF FORBES: Okay, let's give all of our awardees a round of applause. 

[audience applauds] 

JEFF FORBES: Really inspiring work, (laughs) thank you. So now it's my great pleasure to now introduce Dr. Lise Eliot. Dr. Eliot is a Professor of Neuroscience at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, her work centers on neural plasticity, and public education about brain and gender development. Among her many publications are two critically acclaimed books, What's Going on in There: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life, and her most recent book, Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps and What we can do About It. In light of recent national events, including the now infamous memo from a former Google engineer, and other frustratingly tenacious beliefs that essential gender differences justify inequity, Dr. Eliot's work is more relevant than ever. Through both empirical studies and broad scholarship, she analyzes the interplay between innate biology, sociocultural influences, and individual experience in shaping our brain's behavior throughout our lives. For all these reasons and more, we are delighted to have her speak today at the NCWIT 2018 Summit, let's give a big welcome to Dr. Eliot. 

[upbeat music] 

LISE ELIOT: Thank you So much. 

[upbeat music] 

LISE ELIOT: Thank you so much, Jeff, and I want to thank the organizers at NCWIT for inviting me. This is just a fabulous conference, I'm so happy to learn about this organization, and the good work that you do. It's a topic that I've been very passionate about as a neuroscientist, and then I realize that the issues in tech are even more amplified, and so I hope that some of the data that I present today will be helpful to you. I've met a bunch of data scientists, and I have plenty of data to share with you, hopefully not bore you with, that you can arm yourselves to diffuse some of the arguments that have been used against women in tech. So I'd like to, I'm gonna tell a story of so-called pink brain and blue brain, and I want to start out with a little clip that might be familiar to some of you. It's, it's from the film The Anchorman with, starring Will Ferrell as the legendary Ron Burgundy. I'm sure some of you have seen it, it was filmed in 2004, and the premise of the film is that he's being upstaged by this young journalist, and he's struggling with it a little bit, as this clip will reveal. 

[video clip is played for audience]

[audience laughs] 

LISE ELIOT: So it's science, and very amusing, a brain the third of a size, but this isn't so far off from what we've been hearing throughout history. So this is nothing new, it's a recurrent theme that has been used against women for generations, but we now know an incredible amount about the human brain, and I hope to share with you that not only are we not a third the size of a male brain, but there really is very little difference, in terms of the ability to do STEM, the ability to lead, in terms of the neural circuits. So the outline for my talk, I'm going to be telling the story, the real story of brain sex in four chapters. I want to first set the stage with the periodic eruptions of what we call biological sexism, where claims about brain differences have but used, essentially against women, in different venues. And then I'm going to talk about my particular area of expertise, brain and gender development, and I hope you come away from this with the understanding that human brain sex differences are real, but small, and not binary, that is the critical thing, gender is a spectrum, and brain gender differences are spread across a spectrum. And the final take home message is something that I think will resonate with you, and it really comes from where my research originated, which is in the field of neural plasticity, or how our brains change as a result of experience, and that is to show you, and argue that we need to do more research on the ways in which culture and education and gender learning actually change our brains, and make us who we are, for better and worse. So I probably don't have to convince you that this is a recurring theme in history, we could go back to Aristotle to talk about women's inferiority, or even my hero, Charles Darwin, but I'll pick up the story in 1920 at the dawn of women's suffrage. So these topics seem to arise often when there's a fraught moment in society, when we're on the verge of change, and so the issue of women's inferiority became a hot topic again in about 1915, 1912, right before women got the right to vote. We heard from Larry Summers again about it in 2005, which I don't want to go into, I think he's largely redeemed himself, but it recurred again, as we all know, last summer, and I'll have a few words to say about the so-called Google memo. So back up 100 years, women were struggling to get the right to vote, which we were not the first country, and certainly not the last, you may not know, Switzerland didn't get, women didn't get the right to vote until the 1970s, so it's very recent that women have even had a shot at equality. But anytime this issue arises, those who resist change will come up with a reason for why women are unqualified, and this one I love because you may not be able to read the fine print, but it was published in The New York Times by a neurologist, Charles Dana, whose name is very familiar in neuroscience because there's The Dana Foundation that funds a lot of modern research. Little did I know, we had this sexist founder, who wrote in The New York Times that women really, you know, shouldn't be given the right to vote, that these crazy advocates of women's suffrage were suffering from their own demented brains, and for some reason, he was particularly focused on the spinal cord, I don't know what, he fixated on the diameter of women's spinal cord as making us unqualified to vote. But anyway, we'll fast-forward 100 years now, and last summer, we all were rather shocked to hear about this document that was circulated at Google, I'm assuming we have a few Googlers in the audience. And it's been dubbed The Google Memo, although the real title of it was in this internal document, Google's Ideological Echo Chamber, and written by a young programmer, or a software engineer, who I'm told I'm not supposed to name, he-who-must-not-be-named, anyway, his name's James Damore. 

[audience laughs] 

LISE ELIOT: And where he reflected on, I think he was reacting to some of the diversity initiatives at Google, and was reflecting on the possible so-called non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech, so, you know, it's not just because of all these cultural discriminations and so on that we have so few women in tech, and in leadership in general, so he wasn't just talking about STEM. And he pointed out certain psychological differences that are very well known to psychologists, statistically differences, sex differences in our agreeableness, neuroticism, our lower drive for status, and he attributed these, what he felt were hardwired differences as the reason for women's lower attainment. But here's where I have a little problem, we leap from these psychological differences, which can have many causes, to the assumption that they are biological, yes, but linked to prenatal testosterone, in other words, hardwired, fixed from birth. And I'm kind of happy to say that he was fired, and he's actually pursuing a lawsuit at the moment, and I'm told, also, that he has some regrets about his remarks, and actually regrets this very famous photo. But you probably are familiar with the fact that he was fired shortly after this, and I thought it'd be useful to read from what was released about Sundar Pichai's message to the Google employees, "Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in people's lives. To suggest a group of colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK." So I really applaud Google, and their leadership for realizing that this kind of speech can be very harmful to people's confidence and workplace morale. But nonetheless, it triggered a conversation that is always simmering in the background, why so few women in tech, maybe we're just not cut out for it because of the way our brains are wired. And so this has resonated, it's triggered a lot of conversation, both in the bright web, and the dark web, and I just wanted to highlight, you know, a couple of people for whom this resonated, one is a neuroscientist, Debra Soh, who I would sort of put on the other side of things. She says her degree was in sexual neuroscience, and she got her PhD in Canada, and now has a column with Playboy, so, a little bit different perspective on neuroscience than some of us. Anyway, she immediately wrote, as did many others, that no, the Google manifesto isn't sexist or anti-diversity, it's science, and I have heard from people in my field, that, "I don't see what the big deal was, this is just, you know, raw, raw data.” So she wrote, "Despite how it's been portrayed, the memo was fair and factually accurate. Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our interests and behavior." Sounds very scientific, we've had a lot of research in neuroscience, you know, why don't we all agree this? Why can't we just accept this? Well, I would actually edit this last sentence a little bit, if I could, and this will tell you what the thesis of my talk is, so, scientific studies have confirmed sex difference in the brain. Yes, but they are very small, and there's zero evidence that they lead to differences in our interests and behavior, and that's really-- 

[audience applauds] 

LISE ELIOT: That's really the problem here, is, we can find all kinds of differences between male brains and female brains, put us in a scanner, grind it up, measure the DNA, you can always find group differences, sex differences, age differences, racial differences, frankly, but those, we don't like to look at, or talk about. But the problem is, when you extrapolate from 20% difference in gene expression to, that's why men are good at math, and women are good at empathy, or verbal skills, and I'll show you, I hope to show you, there's, and many neuroscientists who study sex differences would agree that there is not a single human behavioral trait that we have proven is due to differences in circuits between men and women's brains. So, just to amplify how much this belief resonates across the culture, including among the teachers who are raising our kids, and sending them into this pipeline. Two, this is at a Catholic university, two sexes, two minds, based on scientific evidence. Or here I can show you an endless string of books dating back, this, to 1984, I think it was, this Brain Sex book, Daniel Amen, if anybody's heard of this guy, he's a psychiatrist who somehow gets free airtime on PBS to peddle this sexist Power of the Female Brain, Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps, but two of my particular targets, Leonard Sax and Michael Gurian, who have, who have educated literally, you know, tens of thousands of American, and international teachers about the hardwired differences between boys and girls' brains, and why they can't learn math the same way, and they need to be separated into different classes because boys and girls fundamentally learn differently, according to this dogma. And of course, it all, the big, the biggest seller of all of these is John Gray's Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, we're so different, we come from different planets. Why does this keep coming up? Well, the reason it keeps coming up is 'cause it's so fun, I mean, we have a male brain and a female brain, and we are attracted to each other, and we want to be different, but it really fuels very harmful stereotypes. So I want to quote, particularly from Louann Brizendine who's a psychiatrist, and I'm afraid sold a lot more copies of her Female Brain than I did of my Pink Brain, Blue Brain, but they, you can talk about this sexist stuff, the Mars, Venus, the man in front of, in his man cave, hunkered down, watching videos of the female chitchatting away, but it's harmful, and imagine if this, the tables were reversed on this particular quote. So, "The female brain," she writes, "has tremendous unique aptitudes, outstanding verbal agility, the ability to connect deeply in friendship, a nearly psychic capacity to read faces and tone of voice for emotions and states of mind, and the ability to diffuse conflict. All of this is hardwired,” that's always the key word, "hardwired into the brains of women.” These are the talents women are born with that many men, frankly, are not. So, (laughs) yeah, it's a lot of fun, aren't we great, we're so, and we can get away with this, this reverse sexism, it's kind of cute, we have these verbal skills, and imagine if this was written in reverse, that men have these amazing capacities for leadership, and competition, and math, and science thinking, all of that's hardwired into the brains of men, and women, frankly, don't have it. So, you know, it'd be horribly politically correct, but we flip it, and it's a lot of fun. Well, I just want to do a little bit of fact checking on this claim about women's remarkable ability to diffuse conflict that's hardwired, and show you some data from toddlers. So physical aggression in young children, I'm sure many of you have young children, and you've noticed, if they've ever hit, or bitten, or kicked another child, and we're talking about two, three-year-olds, it turns out, there's virtually no sex difference in young children. Mothers were queried in this large study in Canada, and roughly about 40% of boys and girls are hitting, biting, and kicking at the age of two, maybe a few more boys and girls at age two, at four, it's not so different. But what you see is that everybody, almost everybody learns not to aggress. Kids, all children are naturally selfish, they want their things, and they learn, they hear, you know, "Use your words, don't fight." Only girls get the message better than boys, for girls it's more consistent, for boys get a conflicting message, “Use your words, don't fight, be nice,” turn on the TV on Sunday, what do they see? Aggression is rewarded, for boys, and so by the time they start kindergarten, although everybody's learned somewhat, girls are about half as aggressive as boys. So these differences are generally small, and very little, almost no evidence that they're present in very early life. So when we're gonna talk about gender differences, we have to talk about numbers, I know this is a group that's comfortable with numbers, the way we quantify sex differences is with a D statistic, which is basically just the difference of the means of the two group, divided by the standard deviation. So let's think about something like height. Women are obviously shorter than men, about five inches on average, the standard deviation's 2.3, and we come up with quite a large, this is one of the largest sex differences there is. I mean, the physical differences are much, much larger than our psychological sex differences, a D score of 2.6. Consider, instead, sex difference in empathy, or more, more precisely, measures of one's ability to read facial emotion in a photograph, so around the world, women tend to outscore men at this, but it's a very small difference, the difference is about a third of a standard deviation, and that's, of course, what the curves look like, they're largely overlapping. And furthermore, this is in adults, so if we were to measure children, you'd see the differences maybe a tenth of a standard deviation at the most in boys and girls. So the reason I picked that .3 by value is because psychologists have done major meta-analyses, in fact, it's meta-synthesis to gather together all the meta-analyses of all the studies that have been done of sex difference, and lord knows, there's a million of 'em, they date back, you know, well over 50 years now. And so the first to publish on this was Janet Hyde, who's at University of Wisconsin. She published this paper in American Psychologist called The Gender Similarities Hypothesis, this sort of radical notion that maybe we're more similar than different, or that should be the default hypothesis. And she provided evidence that pooling all, every meta-analysis together that had been done on psychological differences. The vast majority, something like 3/4ths of them are less than this .35. And then this has been confirmed very recently in 2015 by a group led by Ethan Zell, evaluating gender similarities and differences using meta-synthesis, where they pooled together 386 meta-analyses, so we're talking millions and millions of humans measured for their psychological traits and sex differences. And you see that the vast majority, circled here, 85% of these sex differences are smaller than the .35 statistic, so most of our sex differences are in the range that we consider statistically small, only a few things are on the larger side, and it's not math, and it's not programming ability, and it's not leadership skills, it's not even neuroticism. (laughs) But I think it's really important to keep in mind that there's been this enormous exaggeration of sex differences, and rather than Mars and Venus, a better way to think about us is, men are from North Dakota, and women are from South Dakota, with apologies to anyone from the Dakotas. 

[audience laughs] 

LISE ELIOT: All right, so I wrote this book called Pink Brain, Blue Brain, I had the title before I had fully gathered my data. And the title still told the story, but I no longer believe there is such as a pink brain and blue brain, so you might want to put a little question mark, and that's actually why we put a Stroop test, as psychologists would know, where the pink is in blue, and the blue is in pink in the title, if you, if you didn't notice because there really is no such thing. So my thesis is that sex differences in behavior are real, but generally smaller than this Mars/Venus stereotype, they are not binary differences, and moreover, because I take a developmental perspective, they're not present in early infancy. There really are no behavioral sex differences in infancy, in newborns, the only difference is that boy babies are more medically vulnerable than girl babies, they are likelier actually to, to die in the first year of life, they're likelier to be miscarried, and they're likelier to suffer a variety of newborn infections. We don't understand the basis of that, it might have something to do with immune reaction to male antigens by the mother, but as far as behavioral differences, eye contact, motor skills, there are no sex differences in early infancy. Now, when we talk about the brain, there are clearly, now, thousands and thousands of studies showing sex differences at the brain and biochemical levels, but generally speaking, these differences are small, and I'll show you that. And the basis of them is very complex, the point is, we are not, they are not binary dividers, it's not like the difference between an ovary and a testes, now, that is a sex difference. The difference between a male corpus callosum and a female corpus callosum, as I'll show you, is very, very, very small, and not linked to any behavioral sex differences. So what's missing from this discussion is development. I do, I don't deny that biological factors, and particular, all the action is prenatal testosterone has some affect on behavior, based on certain clinical populations, but from my reading of it, it's just a slight tilt. Picture a branch growing out of a young tree, if it pushes it an inch to the side, it's gonna grow more in this direction, and then the rest of the sunlight, and the rest of the water, and the rest of the nutrients is gonna determine how these things diverge, as boys and girls tend to later in life. So when it comes to STEM related abilities, math, coding, working with a team, working towards a longterm goal, these things are largely learned through practice and experience. So let me give you a little quick primer on how the brain development, how the brain develops, which was the topic of my first book, called What's Going on in There. The brain evolves, that's a prenatal development from up to nine months gestation in that picture, brain development, like all development, is a blend of nature and nurture, and it happens from the first cell division. In neuroscience, we've adopted this term, plasticity, to talk about the nurture effect. When I started my career, plastic was a dirty word, nobody likes plastic, we don't like toys made out of plastic, we don't like milk jugs made out of plastic, but I think people have heard the term neuroplasticity enough to appreciate that plasticity's quite a beautiful thing, it's our only way of healing the brain, it's our only way of learning. And the rules for neuroplasticity are really quite simple, we say the nervous system develops in an activity-dependent manner, so if you consider two neurons, the red neuron and the green neuron that are connected by a synapse, there's a simple learning rule that we can simplify to, cells that fire together wire together. So any time there's convergent activity, more activity, more sensory, more social interaction, you will have a growth and strengthening of synapses. On the other hand, synapses that aren't used frequently, they're present in early life, but they get pruned away because they don't have the opportunity to be exercised, and so we call that a "use it or lose it." And the most familiar example is language, so most of us are fluent in one or two languages, but we have a very hard time learning a language we didn't, weren't exposed to early in life because we've lost, literally lost the connections that would allow us to hear and produce the precise sounds of that foreign language, only available in early life. And we know this plasticity is far more potent than later on, the basis for this plasticity is an excess of synapses, how do we know all this? The best research has come from studies of the visual system, you know, back here your occipital lobe is where visual cortex is, and that's what these micrographs are, the zebra stripes show the normal ocular dominance pattern, as we call it. The input from the left and the right eye are in black and white stripes in both sides of the brain, reflecting normal development, both eyes divide up visual cortex. But if an animal is raised with one eye closed very early in life, and then, even if it's opened after two, three months, and they're allowed to see normally, their visual cortex is permanently miswired, so that you see the cortex on the bottom is from an animal raised with one eye closed, the white stripes reflect input from the eye that had been opened, and allowed to see, and get visual stimulation and electrical activity, the black stripes are from the eye that was closed, and was not able to excite the visual cortex, it's permanently cut off from cortical input, it's functionally blind. You can't correct it was a pair of glasses, it's a visual deficit known as amblyopia, and it's an endemic problem in parts of the world where you cannot treat a visual problem, like a congenital cataract in a newborn baby. Well, look at the whole rest of this brain, all the other pink areas, our cerebral cortex, and they are equally, if not more plastic, than the visual cortex. And if you think about it, if even our able to see depends on very, very early experience, how could everything else we do with our sophisticated human brains not be exquisitely dependent on our experience, and learning, and culture? So we know this plasticity is most intense early in life, the sensory systems develop first, so the visual system actually has an excess number of synapses, in order to have the substrate for pruning the less useful ones, and so we know that the peak of the critical period for visual development happens when the number of synapses maximum, at about one to two years of age, and then by eight years of age, visual development's largely complete, and so you really can't fix a child's visual problem after that age. Now, fortunately the frontal lobe has a more gradual development process, the frontal lobe, obviously, is more important for higher cognitive functions, for working memory, executive functions, reasoning, cause and effect, and the frontal lobe, and temporal, and parietal, where we're doing our spacial analysis, all of that develops later. Nonetheless, the period of synaptic exuberance is largely during the teen years, so it really is such a critical period when children have the opportunity to form the circuits that will allow them to learn the language, or do the math, and develop a whole set of skills that they'll take with them for a lifetime in a career. Unfortunately, that happens to happen at exactly the time kids are going through puberty, and discovering the opposite sex, or the same sex, or sexual attraction. They're very invested in their gender identity, much more invested in appearing feminine, or appearing masculine during exactly those years when they're pruning the synapses that will give them the cognitive and emotional abilities for their later skills. So that's the challenge for the teachers and counselors in the room, but we do know that this pruning period for the frontal lobe corresponds to the pruning period, or the critical period for language development, so if you're immersed in a language up til about seven years of age, no problem, you will pick it up effortlessly, without even trying, but after about that age, you'll learn it pretty effortlessly until puberty, and then after puberty, the ability to learn language has seriously declined. You can still pick up a language, but as you know, you will more likely speak it with an accent, and so that is some of our best evidence for how early experience prunes synapses, and sets the circuits for later life. And a lot of those same perisylvian areas involved in language are also involved in mathematics. So what about gender, is there a critical period for gender development? We don't know for sure, we suspect there is one early in life, we know most children figure out if they're a boy or girl, depending on the environment, by the time they're three, but they get a little confused, and it's typically not til about five, six, or seven, when they develop what we call gender constancy, that they know they'll always be male or female throughout life. And, of course, now, we have a lot more kids that are gender questioning, so it's, it's definitely revising our understanding of gender development, but I would argue that gender learning is very much like language learning. It, there are many, many cues in the environment that children pick up on long before they're conscious, and they have a very defined understanding of male and female, even before they start selecting these toys, and then once they do figure out they're a boy or girl, we throw them, we divide them, we toss them into two separate pools, essentially, growing up as a boy, and growing up as a girl are really like growing up with two different languages, the way we talk, the way we gesture, the things we're allowed to be interested in, especially with young children, who are some of the biggest gender police that there are. And I think it's easy to appreciate how traditional boy toys, things that boys, boys play with promote more visual-spacial sorts of skills, and physical skills on the positive side, and aggression on the negative side, while typical girl activities promote more relational literacy and self-regulatory skills on the positive side, and self-objectification on the negative side, so that's the unfortunate fact of our pink and blue toy aisles at Target, even if they're not putting a boy label and a girl label on it anymore, the kids still know what's for whom. So, and then a lot of parents will say, "Oh, I tried, we tried raising our kids gender neutral, we treated our son and daughter exactly the same. We gave our kids exactly the same toys, and my son gravitated towards the toy trucks, and my daughter towards the baby doll, and, you know, it's all hardwired, it's all fixed.” But I think we're starting to understand that there is no such thing as a gender-free society, we're fooling ourselves, and I'll have a little more data for that in a little bit to prove to you just how biased even our supposedly gender neutral parents are. If you really want gender neutrality, the closest thing I can show you is a family in Canada you many have heard about, who were in the news because their youngest child, who's in the middle of this photo, they named Storm, and they would not reveal to anybody outside the family Storm's biological sex. So, of course, this, this created an outcry of people that thought this was a form of child abuse, and maybe, you know, I can understand that point of view, in our culture, it's a real, real hard thing not to put a label on a child. But I just thought it'd be fun to show you their family, they don't send their kids to school, they un-school their kids, so they get to learn from nature, and environment, and the parents are employed, but the kids currently, or actually, this is a couple of years old, but the oldest child's name is Jazz, 10 years old, identifies as a transgendered girl. The next child's name is Kio, identifies as non-binary, prefers the term "they," and this, little Storm, is, prefers the word "she," and as I said, they have not revealed Storm's biological sex. So that's about as close as I can give you to gender neutral, I'm not saying it's good or bad, but I think it kind of opens our eyes to what it would be like if we actually had no labels on kids' early life. All right, so I'm gonna detour now, and get into the more data crunching part of this talk, what is known about brain sex difference, and I've spent, what am I going on here, going on 15, 20 years, 15 years analyzing this data, I'm writing up a big review with students to try to pool, pool all these findings, structural differences, functional differences, and so on, together, but I get to show you the highlights of this today. So there's no question that sex influences brain structure and function, it's actually a big NIH initiative to be sure that we're studying male and female animals in all situations, there are differences, but not all of them, it's not always the case that a sex difference in the brain produces a sex difference in the behavior. One thing the animal work has taught us is that very often, it, sex differences in the brain compensate for hormonal differences, they allow our behavior to stay the same, in spite of different hormones and different genes. And the other thing we know from rodent studies is that sex differences are most dramatic in the, in the lower reproductive part of the brain, what's known as the hypothalamus, that's where all those dots are, the dots reflect estradiol or estrogen receptors, they're much more clustered in this lower part of the brain that's involved in reproductive behavior, as you might expect, and very few out in the cerebral cortex, which in rats is quite small, that clear part on the top. In humans, the hypothalamus is a very, very small part of our brain, it's about the size of a dime, shown where this vertical line is, and I just want to point out, the one structure that has gotten more attention that anything in the world, and is really, really tiny, but I can tell you, is different between human males and females is called INAH-3, interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus number three of the medial preoptic area of the hypothalamus. So it corresponds to a structure found in rats, which is known as the sexually dimorphic nucleus, in rats, it's maybe five times larger in males, in humans, it's about one and a half times larger. But literally, that number three there, the dark structure right under it that we're, find a difference between human males and females is about a tenth of a millimeter in diameter, so not exactly, our whole brain is about 1,300 grams, so this is a very, very tiny portion of the whole brain, or 1,500 milliliters. So I just wanted to point it out because there's been endless speculation about this INAH-3, Louann Brizendine wrote an entire book, The Male Brain, about INAH-3, which she claimed was responsible for all of males' reproductive behavior, however, there's no, never been proven a relationship. People thought it was correlated with sexual preference, people thought it was correlated with gender identity in transgender people, and none of that research has held up across multiple laboratories. So what do we really know about brain sex difference? Well, I guess Ron Burgundy was almost right, men do have larger brains than women, it's not three-fold larger, but it is 10% larger, men have larger bodies, men are about 9% taller, about 9% heavier, and every other organ, nobody bothers to point out that the liver, and the kidney, and the lungs, and the spleen are also larger in males, I don't know if it gives 'em better urinary clearance, or. (laughs) 

[audience laughs] 

LISE ELIOT: But, and by the way, if you search the medical literature, you'll find about 8,000 papers on sex differences in the brain, and I really had to hunt and peck to find anybody that bothered to publish the difference between the male liver and the female liver, or the male kidney and the female kidney. But the other difference is that girls' brains finish growing earlier than boys' brains, about one and a half years earlier, which is perfectly in sync with puberty, so girls finish growing about a year and a half earlier, they're increasing in their height, and so that's what the curves of brain growth across all four lobes indicate. But aside from the brain size difference, there really are no other structural differences, and so when you're looking, and there's endless papers in the early days of MRI that said, you know, men have a larger amygdala, women have a larger hippocampus, and caudate nucleus, and all these structures, and it turns out those papers were all outliers, they were all probably selection, or type one errors because when, now that we have very large studies, this study is 1,100 people, if we covary the size of these structures for one's overall brain size, in other words, we adjust the measurement of any individual part of the brain, cortical, or subcortical, for total brain size, it turns out there's no differences, or the differences are in the title of this work, which was an international group, the differences are "minute" when corrected for brain size. Similarly, this was another study done by a group in Switzerland, Jäncke and Hänggi, and they, this ICV adjusted is when individual brain structures are adjusted for a brain size, we can determine exactly how much of the variance in the size of a (mumbles) nucleus is influenced by sex, or age, in this case, A is age, S is sex, the left are the raw volumes, but I'm gonna focus on the ICV adjusted volumes, which is adjusted for total brain volume. And we see that, in general, sex accounts for either zero, or one, or 2%, on average, about 1% of the variance in the size of different parts of our brains can be explained by sex. So a lot more similarity than difference between males and females, and my students and I also did this through in meta-analysis, there, as I said, there were rumors in the scientific literature that get propagated today, scientists are very lazy, they will just cite some paper from 2001 that found the hippocampus was larger in women, and then they'll use it in some recent study, and then they'll claim, "Well, this accounts for women's better performance on verbal memory," or, "Amygdala differences accounts for differences in physical aggression.” Well, it turns out, if you actually do a complete sweep of the literature, people are publishing brain volume sizes, from all kinds of studies that have nothing to do with sex difference, and we just extracted all the normal data, and came up with dozens of studies, and looked at the ones on the hippocampus and the amygdala, and found there's no difference in the, the volume of either of these structures when you adjust for total brain size. And I just included in here one of our dissections that my students did, but that's actually a human hippocampus, it's the size of your pinky, it sits here in your temporal lobe, and without it, you wouldn't be able to store any new memories going forward, the amygdala sits right in front of it. So our data from the hippocampal study, if you look at the little red diamonds down on the bottom, each individual study shows whether there was a sex difference, with symbols on the left of the center line being those that were, found the structure larger in females, if it's the right, it was larger in males. When you do the meta-analysis and synthesize all these results, you see there's no difference overall. But the ones that go to the left are the papers that get cited all the time, people want to say the hippocampus is larger in females, they just pick the study that gives the result, and then hopefully they'll now start citing our meta-analysis, and as I said, we did the same thing with amygdala volume. Ah, but open, open your browser, Google News says we're wired differently. So this was another bimbo eruption, as I like to think of them, that came out in, the end of 2013, beginning of 2014, it was a paper published out of the University of Pennsylvania that was picked up by several hundred news outlets, saying men and women's brains are wired differently, showing this drawing that focuses only on the areas, only on the statistical differences. It's giving this sense that, well, what do they say? That, the study was called Sex Differences in the Structural Connectome, it was a very large study, so to their credit. But the way the news outlets interpreted it, "Male brains are wired from front to back with few connections bridging the hemispheres, in females, the pathways crisscross between left and right, and these differences explain why men tend to be better at learning and performing a single task, whereas women are better for multi-tasking." We keep hearing about women's multi-tasking abilities, nobody thought about multi-tasking until they invented the working mother, and somebody who could change a diaper while doing a conference call suddenly had these superior multi-tasking abilities, when in fact, you know, anybody who sits down, and tries to text and drive, we know, is quite poor at multi-tasking. So, here again, oh, I just wanted to point out that this figure, which was published over and over and over in the media, gives this perception that we literally have different subway maps in our brains, and men are all like this, and women are like this, we all have intra-hemispheric and inter-hemispheric pathways, this just shows the ones that were statistically, significantly different, so a few percent difference on the orange for females, and the blue for males. However, there were some flaws with this study, but again, I just wanted to point out how this gets thrown out into the popular world, and is used against women. So here was a an economist who writes for Forbes, it says, "Equal opportunity may be threatened by findings that male and female brains are different. If Verma,” who was the senior author on that Penn study, "and her colleagues are right, one consequence would appear to be to weaken the case for formal or informal quotas for female participation in corporate management, universities, and fundamental science." So this is what's percolating in the back, when one study gets this huge attention. Meanwhile, my meta-analysis got two hits on Google News, that there's no, no sex difference. So what did the Penn group really found, well, as I said, they didn't find different subway maps, they found statistical differences in the inter versus intra hemispheric, and importantly, again, they did not correct for brain size, okay, and that's gonna be, that's important because it turns out that the relative amount of inter and intra-hemispheric, it changes from large brains to small brains, it's an engineering issue. It's like bigger cities need wider highways, it's a scaling problem, and it has nothing to do with sex, per se, it's a linear function of brain size. Furthermore, they didn't take account of age, and the differences were largest in mid-adolescence, which when we know girls have had their growth spurt, and boys have not had their growth spurt. So this was a study done shortly after their study that found, when you control for brain size, there is no difference between intra-hemispheric and inter-hemispheric projections. They never made that correction in their study, nor did they even answer for that criticism, the Penn group. So, but I did pick apart those claims in a paper, in an article I wrote in Huffington Post, sex-trapolation in that Penn study, which got so much news. So that's just the tip of the iceberg. Let me very quickly tell you about another general myth about, and this is kind of related, about brain sex difference. Men tend to use one brain hemisphere at a time, but women employ whole brain thinking, it's a similar idea to the inter versus intra-hemispheric, here we see it touted on a website for, promoting girl's academies, send your girls to an all-girls school because girls think differently than boys, and it's 'cause of their brain. I don't have an arrow to point out the corpus callosum, but any of you've had a biology class may recognize, it's that white, C-shaped structure that contains about 200 million axons that connect our left and right hemispheres. It's long been claimed to be larger in women, and again, that's supposed to explain multi-tasking, but this was a, this was the very first brain sex difference meta-analysis, published way back in 1997. And it's a cumulative meta-analysis, so the original study that got a ton of attention, published in Science, found a large sex difference favoring females, but with the cumulative, with subsequent studies, as the number of subjects increased, as you see, the difference resolved to zero, there's no difference in volume or of the corpus callosum between men and women, but the myth continues. Here, here was a large study, over 1,000 subjects, looking at resting brain activity, and the degree to which males or females are left or right brain dominant, there was no sex difference in this study. But aren't men's brains supposed to be more lateralized for language, this is the idea males use one side, females use both, it would look like this. This was indeed one study that reported that result, so you see the women in part A, left and right hemispheres are both activated during a language task, males more on the left than on the right. And there was a big, not a big study, a small study that made a big splash in 1995, published by a group out of Yale, that had this flashy title in Nature, Sex Differences in the Functional Organization of the Brain for Language. They had 19 men, 19 women, you know, nowadays, we've got 1,000 subjects, right? 19 men, 19 women, they gave 'em three language tasks, one of the language tasks produced a sex difference, the other two language tasks, there was no brain difference, there was no behavioral difference, this one, they got a difference, so they published just that task, or reported it, and it was, you can see, this article continues to be cited to this day, 1,600 times, scientists have cited. Well, this lateralization difference has now been meta-analyzed because there's lots and lots of studies of sex differences in, or there's lots of studies of language processing with men and women, and so you can just look at the gender data. And even 10 years ago, this was analyzed by Iris Sommer and her colleagues, and when you put all the studies, you see Sommer, or you see the Shaywitz study is, it's on the list somewhere, it's one of ones that's finding larger asymmetry in males, to the right, but when you put all these many studies together, we see the mean difference in left or right, or in lateralization between men and women during language tasks in the fMRI scanner is zero. And, but they've only been cited 199 times, so the other paper gets cited, and this one doesn't. Another large study looking at lateralization, men and women are both left hemisphere dominant, most of us process language in the left hemisphere. If women were not, if women were bilateral, the curve would be over the zero, but obvious we're not, and many other behavioral studies have found that sex accounts for, if you take enough subjects, you see a sex effect accounting for about one to 2% of the variants. So females are ever-so-slightly less lateralized than males. So this, I just really want to highlight this, and I'll move on, is a paper that just came out a month ago from Ioannides' group at Stanford. I hope some of you are familiar with him. He, so science is undergoing a huge crisis right now, it started in psychology where, particularly in social psychology, people realized a lot of results have not been replicated, and that there's a tendency to only publish positive findings, the negative findings get swept under, left in the filing cabinet. Well, thank goodness, Ioannides' group finally looked at the fMRI studies of sex difference, which make the press all the time, and they found that, they found good evidence that there's bias in the reporting, that the positive results are being published, and the negative results are not being mentioned when there's no sex difference, and their evidence for this shows up in this curve. So what, the X-axis shows the size of the sample in a particular study, and the Y-axis shows the number of brain areas that were found to differ between males and females, what you would predict, if your study is larger, you should have more statistical power to detect more brain area differences, and so there should be a positive correlation between the X and Y axes. They found absolutely no correlation, plenty of very small studies were finding lots of brain sex differences, larger studies were certainly finding no more, and in many cases, fewer sex differences, and so they concluded that the literature is just riddled with type one errors, or false positives. And this is, you know, really skewing our understanding of men and women's brains, if you think about it, if there's a selection bias for publishing the differences, and leaving the lack of differences in the filing cabinet, so we call that the file drawer affect, when we don't publish the negative data. All right, so I'm just gonna run ahead, and, and give you a little thought experiment. So even when we see a sex difference in the brain, we need to wonder where it's coming from. So just because the brain is biological does not mean a difference between groups is hardwired, and here we get back to this plasticity notion, but here's my thought experiment. Imagine two subjects in the scanner, they're given a moral reasoning task, and asked to decide if a certain scenario was behaving in a morally appropriate or inappropriate way, and we see subject X and subject Y in this task, and we see a very different brain activity response, much bigger response in subject X, tiny little blip in subject Y. And, of course, I'm calling them X and Y, and together them in red and blue to make you think this could be women and men, when in fact, this was a study comparing Christians to non-believers, and so the point is that our experience, when you jump into that scanner at 20, 25, 30 years of age, your lifetime of growing up, of playing video games, or studying math, or studying multiple languages is gonna be reflected, or religion, or a culture, it's gonna be reflected in the way your brain responds. So please don't assume that any difference that is biological is automatically hardwired. So to summarize the human brain sex difference, MRI differences in structure and function are small, they're statistical, not binary, and we need very large populations to detect them. Furthermore, they could reflect gender, or socialization differences as much as biological sex, nobody's studying this, I keep urging my colleagues, you know, "Don't divide them by sex, divide them by psychological gender. And actually there are some groups that are starting to do this, and finding that one's masculinity or femininity is equally or more predictive of brain activity than one's biological sex, so I'd love to compare, you know, why don't they ever, you know, compare a group of engineers, and a group of poetry majors, mixed males and females, to see the effect of a lifetime of experience on the brain. I didn't have time to talk about the prenatal testosterone effects, there's a lot of claims about prenatal testosterone on human brain structure, but thus far, there is no consistent finding whatsoever, so it's likely very subtle, and, so please don't, please, if you hear this term, "sexually dimorphic, "men and women's brains are sexually dimorphic," we need to kind of ditch that. I have I think a few more minutes, I won't have time to do justice, but I think this is a topic that is very comfortable to you, so I just wanted to highlight what I see as the salient issues for the plasticity side, and how gender may shape the brain. And what was particularly enlightening to me was to realize that what we often call a sex difference, often can be better explained by one's social status. So the fact is that men have greater power and wealth in every modern society, so many of these differences could arise from social status. For example, smiling, empathy, neuroticism, when you're in prison, there's a prisoner and a prison guard, who do you think is more sensitive to the other's emotions, the one with the lower status needs to be more aware of the one, you see this in other primates, as well, the fear grin in lower ranking primates. Neuroticism, or fearfulness, if you have lower power, you're likelier to end up higher on the neurotic, if you're at greater risk of physical violence, you're at greater risk of fear, or neuroticism. And this disparity, this status disparity begins even in childhood, it's getting better, but it's still the case that boys are at risk of losing status if they do anything associated with females, females gain status by doing anything associated with males, right? So names will migrate from males to females, but they really don't go the other way. And still, the greatest insult, I'm sure, I hope you all saw that commercial during the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, the throw like a girl commercial, but we know that that's been used as an insult for all eternity, in fact, it continues to this day. I'm on my local high school board, and parents were complaining about the football coach telling the girls they were, telling the boys that they were sissies, and they were calling them girls, and ladies, and that kind of thing. So that's the best way to put a boy down, right, to diminish him by giving him female status. So the, I'll skip over the social gender learning, but there's no question that we don't treat boys and girls equally, and all of these skills have at least some influence of social learning. In my book, I talk about just one study that has resonated with people, that mothers are likelier to expect greater risk taking in their sons than their daughters, so they'll, if they're asked to crank up the slope of a crawling ramp for 11-month-old babies, they crank it up steeper for the sons, and shallower for the daughters in anticipation of their physical courage, when in fact there's no difference in crawling skill, or courage, or fearfulness, physical fearfulness in an 11-month-old child, nor is there any difference in motor milestones, boys and girls sit and walk and stand at the same age in childhood. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, I think he was employed at Google for a time, too, he is an economist who data mines, and he looks at people's Google searches, and among the many topics, he's more focused on racial attitudes, but he did this one analysis of parents Googling questions about their young children. And it turns out that parents are about more than twice as likely to ask if their son is a genius, or intelligent, or, on the other side, they're worried about his being stupid, or behind, 50% more likely, 40% more likely, whereas for girls, they're likelier to ask strictly about their daughter's appearance, is she beautiful, is she ugly, is she overweight? Two and a half times likelier to ask if a daughter is overweight than a son is overweight, so that's why we get the culture that we still have. And this is one of my favorites, we have a real calculator, and we have a toy calculator for kids taking calculus, and somebody sent me this a few years ago, I guess Toys"R"Us is going out of business, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but (laughs) look at this. If you wanted to buy your kid a telescope, you could buy your son, what is that, a 500 power, and you could buy your daughter the pink, 90 power telescope, microscope. So if you're not familiar with this website, and if you follow, if you use Twitter, follow them on Twitter, Let Toys Be Toys has a lot of great examples of gender disparities in toy marketing that are setting kids up for this. I also want to draw your attention to the work of Becky Bigler, who is at the University of Texas in Austin, and studies how group divisions reinforce stereotyping, and disparaging of the other group. They did a study with kids over summer camp, they put 'em in either blue t-shirts or red t-shirts for the duration of the camp, and by the end of the two or four weeks, the red kids and the blue kids hated each other, (laughs) and the red kids said the blue kids were stupid, and the blue kids said the red kids were stupid, the genders were mixed, in that case, but it just points out that the more we emphasize the divisions, the greater the group hostility. I'm sure you are all aware of the implicit association of math and reading skills that happens, even well before there's any difference in performance, girls and boys both associate boys' names with math, and girls' names with reading, so they've adopted this stereotype already. Teachers, unfortunately, are clearly biased under various circumstances, this was actually a deliberate experiment where in preschool, done by Lynn Liben at Penn State, where they asked the teachers deliberately, "Line up the boys and girls separately," you know, "put the pink bulletin board and the blue bulletin board." Normally this school was much more progressive, and just for two weeks of this intervention, the kids declined, their sense of gender flexibility notably declined, just for two weeks of emphasizing boys, the boys' line and the girls' line. You may have seen this study, too, done out of Israel, a very large study that found that compared to objective national exams, teachers gave exams that augmented boys' scores in math, and augmented girls' scores in English, compared to what their objective, so there's a subjective bias on teachers to reinforce the math-english divide. Who gets called brilliant, children as young as six are likelier to select boys when a game requires somebody who's really, really, really smart, and the stereotype is held equally among boys and girls. I know everybody's familiar with this study, the resume of a college graduate, sent out to 200 science faculty, "would you hire this person in my laboratory?" Exactly the same resume, male name or female name, the young man was considerably more likely, I think it was, like, 30 or 40% more likelier to get hired, and he was gonna be paid an extra $4,000.00. Okay, I'm done, so. 

[audience laughs] 

LISE ELIOT: If you want to save money, hire women. 

[audience laughs] 

LISE ELIOT: And yet, there is no difference in math performance, so I'm getting the, I'm getting the rope, I will, I know you know this one, too. Let me just pull up my final slide here. Brain gender differences are small and statistical, not binary, and importantly shaped by learning. There is no such thing as a male brain, or a female brain, or a gay brain, or a trans brain, even though you're gonna keep reading this in the news, I promise you, every month. And I argue that gender separation and distinctions are limiting children's development to the detriment of both boys and girls, and a more harmonious and productive society. So I've way overrun my time, thank you so much, I will be in the breakout session for questions, and I hope a bunch of you come, and we can continue this discussion, so thank you so much. 

[audience applauds] 

LISE ELIOT: Sorry. 

[audience applauds]

JEFF FORBES: Thank you so much, Lise, you get a gift as a speaker, a nice deck of NCWIT playing cards. 

LISE ELIOT: Awesome, I love cards. 

JEFF FORBES: So thank you again, let's thank our speaker. Thank you. 

JEFF FORBES: And, as she noted, you're gonna be giving a interactive session immediately after this one in one of the breakouts. 

LISE ELIOT: Right, correct. Thank you. 

JEFF FORBES: Thanks. Okay, Now to close out today's plenary session, we have two final awards, both sponsored by AT&T, and here to present the awards is Rachel Kutz, AT&T's Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Global Supply Chain, Rachel sets strategic direction for supply chain systems, and tools to improve the efficiency of processes through the use of data analytics and automation. Please join me in welcoming Rachel to the stage, Rachel? 

[upbeat music] 

RACHEL KUTZ: Hi, good afternoon, first of all, I just want to say how honored I am to be here today, and I want to say thank you to all of you because what you do really makes a difference. This is coming from a kid who wanted to be an astronaut since she can't even remember, and was never told no, not from her parents, not from her teachers, not ever, so I have an astrophysics degree, I have not made it to space yet, but I think I might. I started at AT&T Wireless with a radio frequency engineer, changed careers about 10 years ago, and started in supply chain, so career, I have never, ever, ever dreamt about, never saw that coming, but again, it's so important what you do in helping kids, and especially girls, understand that there's nothing they can't do. Since 2011, NCWIT's Aspirations in Computing Program has honored more than 475 regional educators. This year, for the first time, we are presenting a National Educator Award, recognizing one outstanding individual. In addition to a trip to the Summit, the winner receives a $2,500.00 cash prize, an iPhone, compliments of AT&T, and the opportunity to share approaches and strategies with NCWIT K through 12 Alliance Members. And the winner is Jeff Solin. 

[audience applauds] 

RACHEL KUTZ: Jeff is a computer science making teacher, and first robotics coach at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois. He turned an old cafeteria into a 4,000 square foot maker-space, coached an all-female first tech challenge team, and started and coached three tech-novation challenge teams at Lane Tech. He is a founding and leadership team member of the Chicago Chapter of the Computer Science Teacher's Association, and helped bring the Exploring Computer Science curriculum to Chicago public schools, then, in 2015, Jeff was a leader in Chicago's effort to adopt computer science as a graduation requirement, a movement that was adopted unanimously by the Chicago Board of Education. Jeff? 

[audience applauds]

[audience cheers] 

RACHEL KUTZ: But wait. 

[audience applauds] 

RACHEL KUTZ: We have a special guest. Please welcome Misty II, she is a fully programmable, personal robot for educators and enthusiasts. Her professional grade sensors and advanced APIs make her a powerful, yet easy to use development platform. Jeff, Misty II has something for you. 

[audience applauds] 

RACHEL KUTZ: You can spend some time with Jeff and Misty II at the happy hour later this afternoon. 

[audience laughs] 

[audience applauds] 

[audience laughs] 

[audience cheers] 

RACHEL KUTZ: Now, for the next awards, the NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award recognizes Academic Alliance representatives at non-profit US institutions for their outstanding mentorship, high quality opportunities, or research opportunities, recruitment of women and minority students, and efforts to encourage and advance undergraduates in computing related fields. There are four URM awards, two awards for junior faculty, and two awards for senior faculty. The college of each awardee receives a $5,000.00 contribution to honor their accomplishments, as well as an iPhone, compliments of AT&T. Our first recipient of the Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award is Dr. J. Jenny Li, of Kean University's School of Computer Science. 

[audience cheers] 

RACHEL KUTZ: With Dr. Li's support, undergraduates have worked on projects including a multilingual mobile app that allows people to chat with neighbors who speak other languages, an AI application that helps college students schedule their classes, and a lifesaving device that detects medical emergencies, and automatically calls for help. 

[audience applauds]

RACHEL KUTZ: Our next recipient, Dr. Gabriela Marcu, is committed to making sure her undergraduate research students get exposure for their work. She does everything from organizing transportation, to local research workshops, to coordinating international opportunities. Her mentees have designed technologies to help breast cancer survivors, young people living with HIV, and special education students. 

[audience applauds] 

RACHEL KUTZ: Our next recipient, Dr. Lori Pollock, has an approach to mentoring undergraduate research students that's all about helping them understand the big picture of the research project. 

[audience applauds] 

RACHEL KUTZ: Her undergraduate mentees have earned more than 35 coauthor credits on technical publications, including many acceptances for competitive academic conferences, Dr. Lori Pollock. 

[audience applauds] 

[background noise drowns out speaker] 

RACHEL KUTZ: The final awardee, Dr. Zoë Wood, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, California Polytechnic University, is on a much deserved sabbatical, and is unable to join us today. Let's give a round of applause to our winners. 

[audience applauds] 

[background noise drowns out speaker] 

LUCY SANDERS: Alright, another round of applause for our winners. 

[audience applauds] 

LUCY SANDERS: Just a few housekeeping slides before we break up from this session, this clicker and me do not get along. Oh, okay, so we are going to take a very short break, and then there are 60 and 90 minute breakouts, following that, so look at your program, look at your app for the schedule, you're not gonna find what you registered for on the flip side of your name badge because we were using your registration to sort of help us gauge room size, but you can go anywhere you want. So pick your breakouts, most of them repeat tomorrow, but not all, and then we have an hour wine and cheese reception following the breakouts, and then dinner is on your own, go. I want to pitch to you downtown Grapevine, it's a couple miles away, you might want to travel there by car, or my husband and I walked, although it can get a little steamy here in Dallas in May. One picture that I didn't take while I was there the other day was a sign that said, "Welcome to Texas, where Diet Coke is really Dr. Pepper.” 

[audience laughs] 

LUCY SANDERS: So I don't know, I thought it was kind of cute, I should have taken its picture, but really a great little town, very historic, they've really rolled out the welcome mat. You can see, under the shrimp sign, they have little placards in the windows, just like the old days, where they're welcoming NCWIT to Grapevine, so if you're looking for a place, and you want to get offsite, consider downtown Grapevine. Tomorrow we start with a networking breakfast, and then we continue with another round of the breakouts, where I said, most of them do repeat, but check your schedule to make sure you don't miss one if it, in fact, isn't repeating, and again, a plug for Dr. Eliot's breakout today where she will be available to answer questions from her talk. And then the plenary tomorrow is W. Kamau Bell, who has a new show, or actually it's a relatively new show, it's in its second season, called United Shades of America, where he travels around the country, and really deals with issues of difference and intersectionality. He also happens to be a standup comedian, so he deals with a lot of the issues, you know, that we're talking about through a particularly interesting point of view, so you won't want to miss his plenary. We will have, at the end, a grab and go snack, but, you know, again, it's not gonna be a meal, so, but it'll be something that could get you to the airport, should you want to grab it and go. So don't forget to join the conversation, how many of you have your bolo tie, anybody yet? No, there's only one hand in the back, I know it's because the video mosaic wall wasn't ready until just a little while ago, so you'll have to remember go, get your picture made at the mosaic wall, and also take on your cellphone, and also your scrapbooking. I was looking at Cheryl Swanye's scrapbook earlier today, I don't know if she's here or not, but it is the most ridiculously designed and gorgeous scrapbook I've seen so far. Did I mention the bolo tie? Okay, good. Mosaic wall we talked about, tomorrow our real award winner is Jurassic Park, remember Lex, Jurassic Park? It's a Unix system, I know this, remember that, when she's locking the Velociraptors out, okay, you won't want to miss that, either, we got really cool stickers for your scrapbook, or wherever else you want to put them. So that will be the way we close, is with the Reel WiT Award tomorrow. And so with that, I think I send you to breakouts, and hope you learn a lot there, and we'll see you at the happy hour, thank you. 

[audience applauds]