“The authors [Williams, Ceci, Ginther, Khan] claim,
out of the 124 hires made in physics … only 13% of the applicants were females (… much less than the percentage of females among PhDs …), but 19% of those invited to interview were women, as were 20% of those actually hired.
This tells me that more women than men are dropping out before applying for a faculty position at all. That may indeed be due to women’s choices, but the choice may be determined or at least affected by a hostile workplace – not discussed here – rather than by innate ability. Those who stick around may therefore not be typical: not only tough but particularly bright. This can only be speculation but it might explain why women are hired at rates higher than their presence in the application pool might suggest. Reading the study by Williams et al. it looks as if they wish to convey that all is so hunky dory that the higher percentage of female hires is down to a particularly beneficent environment.”