#STEM

Girls smarter than boys so why lower hurdles to force gender quotas?

It is kind of ironic that UTS thinks that lowering the ATAR requirements to get more girls into STEM fields makes sense. What happened to independently minded girls who want to pursue their interests as individuals rather than try to rig admissions to push ideological quotas?

Isn’t that what International Women’s Day is all about? To create equality of opportunity?

Forget that the average ATAR score for girls is 71.1, higher than boys at 67.8.

Could it be that girls and boys tend to like different things?

A Scandinavian study conducted across 470,000 subjects showed that while girls from nations that had pro gender equality policies in place qualified as well if not better than boys to do STEM, simply chose not to elect to study it. It had the exact opposite outcome of what was expected.

There is a reason why 99% of bricklayers are men and 80% of nurses are women.

Sensibly, Pymble Ladies College (PLC) principal Kate Hadwen openly said,

We don’t need it, do we, girls? No…It’s outrageous. The thinking is to try and encourage girls into STEM. But I just think that it’s absolutely saying women need help. We don’t need help. We’re great as we are, thanks very much.You have to earn your place there… I’m a believer in that.”

By all means, tell girls the virtues of what a STEM degree might bring in terms of a job and remuneration but leave it to them to pursue it if they feel it is of interest.

PLC 1 – UTS 0

Nothing to be proud about

Biz Ivest

Flipping through the latest RBA Chart Pack, it is no surprise that business investment keeps sliding off a cliff. As a % of GDP, it has slid from a peak of 18% off the short-term trough of 14% (GFC) to 11%, which now puts it at 1994 levels. It proves the old adage that businesses don’t invest because interest rates are low, they invest because they have confidence in the cycle.

Our government should be looking at this with alarm bells. It doesn’t take too much imagination to work out that political instability has played its part.

Australia was once regarded as the vanguard of political stability in the region which made it a sensible investment choice for domestic and international investors as a place to do business. There was a comfort in knowing that there wouldn’t be revolving door prime ministers and flip flops on policy positions. After all, much business investment takes years to get to the production stage.

The Howard years saw our business investment surge. Sensible fiscal policy was a feature too. While Rudd can be forgiven for GFC causing a slump in business investment it resumed until political instability put the mocker on business confidence.

We have been running deficits ever since and cranking up the national debt (we wrote about it here) because it is clear we don’t have sensible free-market conditions to self sustain direct investment at anywhere the levels we need.

Instead, we kowtow to radical activists who try to stop investment in projects like Adani and conduct illegal secondary boycotts on businesses like Greyhound Australia and Siemens without repercussions.

Whether coal is evil or not is irrelevant. The problem is such activism, which is further supported by ideologically corrupted government environmental departments – that push their own agenda on granting approvals – doesn’t endear domestic industries or foreigners to invest in us. These are dangerous precedents. All of this tokenism when we only need look at the realities of what will happen down the line.

Don’t take our word for it. Even our domestic businesses are leaving.

Thanks to Australia’s ridiculous energy prices, Aussie company Bluescope confirmed the expansion of capacity in Ohio. In Feb 2019, the company CEO said, “much cheaper energy in the United States is a major driver of the company’s preparedness to invest in a $1 billion expansion in Ohio.”

In 2017, Tomago Aluminium reported, “We have to grow to be competitive and to be ahead of the curve, but when the spot price went to $14,000 [per megawatt hour] we had to take that load off. It’s just not sustainable. You can’t smelt at that price. We have had to curtail or modulate the load [on occasions] or we get hammered by the price…We cannot continue to keep paying those prices. We have to find a solution. The prices are crippling”

Aust Manuf.png

Unfortunately, 28 years of unfettered economic expansion has made us complacent. We think this economical miracle has no off-ramp.

None of this is remotely surprising.

Can we honestly say that the impact of higher electricity prices hasn’t been a factor in pushing away investment in engineering and manufacturing? So this mad push for renewables will not alleviate this pressure. Germany is the perfect beta-test crash dummy. It predicted flat prices. They doubled from those forecasts.

GEP.png

Yet our political class is playing with fire.

We never thought Australia was realistically going to have a surplus when it was announced. Secretly there must be a sigh of relief in Treasury that the impacts of the bushfires and coronavirus will provide a convenient scapegoat to miss those targets under the premise of ‘doing the right thing.’  And no that does not mean the government is glad those two catastrophes have happened from a humanistic approach.

We need proper reforms. We need to ditch these notions of political correctness in public policy. We are as unimaginative as many other governments around the world. Living on a low-interest rate fuelled debt bomb. Kicking the can down the road simply does not work. Why aren’t politicians convicting their cases with evidence rather than folding to ideological positions held by fringe dwellers on Twitter?

When we visited Israel on a business delegation in 2018, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu uttered the only 4 words that mattered for investors – “we want your business.” The innovation nation knows what it is good at and is prepared to back it to the hilt.

It would be so nice if our government spent some time in Israel to discover that we have it all wrong. Because we are only storing up a rude awakening. When our economy does suffer from the eventual ramifications of all of that lack of investment, the public will be howling that they can’t pay their mortgages, that they can’t get decent jobs and they can’t keep the lights on. None of that would have been necessary if they had been more open to business.

The ultimate result will be that we’ll put ourselves deeper into debt to fund some monster infrastructure projects that will provide short term relief, not long term solutions.

The foreign investors that could have helped had we treated them in a more dignified fashion will just buy our assets at fire-sale prices instead. Then we’ll have another moment to howl at the moon.

That will be the true price of our complacency. Experience is a hard teacher. You get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

Dr Kerryn Phelps MP misdiagnoses the cancerous white patriarchy

Dr Kerryn Phelps AM MP posted the following graphic on Twitter to howl at the patriarchy on International Women’s Day (IWD). She posted these figures from a (pre-Channel 9) Sydney Morning Herald article from April 2018.  Most of the statistics above are inaccurate or misrepresented but when it comes to bashing middle aged white men, no-one dares questioning the accuracy when it comes to this demographic.

The basics.

1. Whites in Australia make up c.80% of the population. This is census data. No room for much conjecture.

2. Men make up 63% of all full time employment in 2018. In 2000 this was 75%. 13% of those aged 65 and over still participate in the workforce, 65% of those are men. This is down from 79% in 2000. By pure logic, if men were 75% of FT jobs two decades ago, stands to reason they’d have a higher chance of being in positions of seniority today.

3. We stick to the SMH’s definition of ”middle age’ of 40-60 which equates to 2.8mn white men, or 10.7% of the total population.

4. In the Australian Federal Parliament there are 150 lower house & 75 upper house seats. 225 positions up for grabs during election cycles (longer terms for senators). On Phelps’ SMH derived assumptions that means 160 of the seats are occupied by white middle aged males. 160 seats means that federal politics as a profession at present is only 0.0057% of their representative demographic. Phelps might reflect that 30 out of 75 senators are women, or 40% of the total. 60% are males. 17.5% of all Senators are white males over 60yo meaning only 32.5% of senators are middle aged white males.

30% of the House of Reps are women. Yet 17% of the white males in the lower house are aged over 60. So only 53% of our lower house is middle aged white male. Not 70%.

5. There are 2,185 stocks listed on the ASX. If 75% are run by middle aged white men then 1,638 companies fit Phelp’s parroted profile. 0.059% of the all middle aged white men run listed corporates. Although the average age of CEOs in Australia is around 54, or at the upper bound of the 40-60 cohort. Going back to point 2, the higher proportion of men in FT roles seems consistent with this. There should be no surprise.

6. There are 1,054 state and federal judges and magistrates in Australia. Of that, 63% are white men according to SMH. The actual figure is 62%, or 405. Close enough. So 669 members of the judiciary would fit the claim. To hit the top echelons of the judiciary requires long service. Even if we took the SMH at its word, 0.023% of the white middle aged male cohort would take those roles. Note 42% of judges on the High Court of Australia are women.

7. In our tertiary education system , APH notes only 21.6% of university academia in Australia were women in 1985. It rose to 39% in 2002 and is just over 50% today. Today tenured females at universities exceed tenured males. Over 50% of all associate lecturers and lecturers are women. Male senior professors make up 75% of the total. Their average age is well above 50. Senior professors are able to get a higher percentage of research grants because they are mainly in STEM fields.

8. There are 39 Vice Chancellor positions in Australia. 12 are currently held by females. 70% are males. 66% are held by white males. Phelps mistakenly thought that 85% were middle aged white males. In fact the article mentioned that 85% of Vice Chancellors were of Anglo-Celtic background. Still it sounds better if it attacks middle aged white males.

9. Phelps believes the claim that 80% of highest paying jobs are held by white middle aged males. Assuming that 85% of the population was white two decades ago and the Australian Government claims 90% of executive roles are full time roles with men a higher proportion of the workforce back then it should make for little surprise. It is representative.

Labour participation rate among males 15-64 is 82% vs 71.7% for females. Note in 1978 these figures were 85% and 50% respectively. The highest quintile of compensation was 48% of the total in 2017/2018. This quintile also paid 78.7% of total income tax. The top 10% of income earners paid 44.9% according to the ATO. The top 1% paid 16.9%. So the bottom 90% pay less than 56% of total income tax. Middle aged white men pay more tax.

10. Phelps the SMH article that says 80% of film directors and writers are white middle aged males. According to the Australian Directors Guild’s (ADG), ‘Gender Matters – women in the Australian screen industry‘ report, 21% of writers and 16% of feature films are directed by women. There is no “age” breakdown for either gender. 34% of documentaries since 1988 have been directed by women, 41% of producers and 37% writers. The in-house analysis by the ADG shows that teams with at least 50% female creative teams gets 58% of all funded projects. In 2017, the Australian Director’s Guild started a female scholarship mentor program.

In an industry that leans heavily to the ideological left, surely that is a self inflicted wound. In the arts and entertainment industry, the ability to source funds to make films is mostly based on a track record to convert that investment into box office revenue. The ability to write a movie script is based on the creativity of the author, regardless of gender. Page 8 of the report notes, “Anecdotal evidence indicates that women are far more likely than their male counterparts to underestimate and undersell their skills and abilities.” Supposedly this is caused by toxic masculinity?

Will striving for more politically correct measures improve things in the art & film world? America has been trying this path for quite some time now and the results have continued to drift lower and lower. More films but less revenue.

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Things have come a long way over the last 50 years. Yet some industries remain very skewed toward men, not because of some evil patriarchal conspiracy.

99.7% of bricklayers are men in Australia. 96.4% of truck drivers are men. 95% of miners are men. 93% of our fire fighters are men. 85% of our defence force is comprised of men. Isn’t this merely individual work choices rather than a deliberate plan to shun women in those industries?

Should there be a Royal Commission to find out why more women don’t want to be brickies, truckies, miners, firies, coppers or soldiers? Should we force quotas? That is what the ADF is now doing with disastrous results. The ADF missed its original gender targets so lowered them but missed by an even wider margin. The Air Force openly practices discrimination to such a degree that if the private sector adopted similar methods, the corporates would face harsh penalties and sanctions. Women in the ADF can achieve their service medal in half the time of men. Then they wonder why morale in the military is drifting lower every year. The irony is that almost 50% of women in the ADF surveyed think these affirmative action measures are meaningless.

On the flip side 98.7% of personal assistants are women98.4% of dental assistants are women94% of receptionists are women. 85.7% of special education teachers are women80% of cafe workers are female.  75.9% of nurses are female. Should we seek to redress the gender imbalance there? Men are 92% of the prison population in Australia? Should we equalize that?

Should we enforce quotas among politicians? Political parties place candidates who they think can win elections whatever their identity – gender, sexual proclivity or otherwise. If parties think women are the magic elixir to secure more terms in government, women will make up a growing proportion of the pre selection process. The patriarchy would be crazy not to run candidates that allow them to sustain their thirst for power.