Jodi Kantor at the NY Times brings us a very long piece about a very long experiment in gender engineering at Harvard Business School. When confronted with statistics that men do better in class and get better jobs, the female leadership of Harvard dispatched a SWAT team of stenographers to count just who said what and when. Surprise! The class participation grades for the women got much better.
I try to avoid all of the usual sturm and drang from the college industrial complex in order to focus on the economics and so I hesitated to bring up an article that’s filled with lots of stuff about gender bias. But there was an interesting point buried in the middle of the long piece. One man said he was paying $500k for the education and he had to walk a very narrow line to avoid flushing it all away by being too honest. Another asked why he was paying so much to be part of an experiment in social engineering.
What is also fascinating is how the female leadership pushed the women into similar strictures. The only acceptable choice for the women was to “Lean In” and comment early and often in class. Yet this also hurt their chance of landing an alpha husband because who would want a bossy bride? And by all means, there were conflicting messages about eating too much.
Who knows how long the college industrial complex is going to get away with using the students for their own lab experiments. One guy, Josh Kaufman, is already pointing out just how easy it is to buy the textbooks, read them, and save big bucks.