Girls hear message that math is not feminine

Are boys better at math than girls? If there is a difference, it’s minuscule, wrote the Ottawa Citizen’s Elizabeth Payne in an Oct. 18 column. There is evidence that stereotypes are still influencing young women’s views toward math and science. Jennifer Steele, a professor of psychology in York’s Faculty of Arts, found when undergraduate women are “subconsciously reminded of their femininity,” their attitudes toward math and science take a sudden downward shift. When Steele flashed feminine words such as lipstick and pink on a computer screen too quickly for the undergraduates to be consciously aware of them, their attitudes toward math and science became more negative. The inverse happened when words considered traditionally male were flashed on the screen. “It’s very disturbing,” said Steele. “Most women don’t actively endorse those kinds of stereotypes, yet these extremely subtle cues in our environment can actually cause a shift in the way we view ourselves.”

CBC faces battle to get viewers back

Now that the CBC has settled its labour dispute, the beleaguered Mother Corp. begins the real battle: getting audiences back onside, observed Canadian Business columnist Andy Holloway Oct. 10. Hockey fans will certainly return in droves to “Hockey Night in Canada” – CBC’s flagship sports property – and Peter Mansbridge has his fans, so “The National” will likely get its audience back. But the rest of the television lineup could be in trouble, says Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. Why? The CBC has been forced into the position of having to sell itself to viewers and advertisers alike. “The CBC is not very experienced at this, and they’re going to have to step up their spending,” says Middleton.

Canada needs to encourage young entrepreneurs

“The Canadian economy urgently requires new, innovative entrepreneurial businesses to create good jobs and new products and services that make the Canadian economy competitive in foreign markets,” says Eileen Fischer, director of entrepreneurial studies at York’s Schulich School of Business. She was quoted in The Western Star of Corner Brook, Nfld., in an Oct. 18 story about the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. “The CYBF is an organization that can help encourage the creation of such businesses.”

Campaign for aboriginal judge

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler has come up with a half-dozen candidates for the Supreme Court of Canada and handed their names to a blue-ribbon advisory panel for further vetting, reported Canadian Press Oct. 17. The question of who will succeed Justice John Major has sparked an intense lobbying campaign, especially among aboriginal groups who are hoping for the appointment of a first-ever native judge to the court. A number of non-aboriginal legal heavyweights, including Peter Hogg, retired dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, have backed the campaign.

Bilingualism keeps you young

New research suggests that bilingualism also affects adults by slowing down the aging process and may also offer some protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, reported The Seoul Times online Oct. 18. The new study, by a team of researchers led by psychologist Ellen Bialystok of York’s Faculty of Arts, showed that bilingual adults had quicker minds than people who spoke only one language. Bilingual people also showed less of a decline associated with aging than monolingual people.

On air

  • Bernie Wolf, a professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, discussed General Motors’ losses and its agreement with United Auto Workers to cut health costs, on CBC Newsworld’s “CBC News: Business” Oct. 17.
  • Christopher Dassios (LLB ’84), an adjunct professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a labour union lawyer, discussed the legality of the BC teachers’ strike and union support for the teachers, on CTV “News” Oct. 17.