"Women make up almost half of today's workforce, yet hold just a fraction of the jobs in certain high-earning, high-qualification fields.
They constitute 20 percent of the nation's engineers, fewer than one-third of chemists, and only about a quarter of computer and math professionals.
Over the past decade and more, scores of conferences, studies, and government hearings have been directed at understanding the gap.
Now two new studies by economists and social scientists have reached a perhaps startling conclusion:
An important part of the explanation for the gender gap, they are finding, are the preferences of women themselves.
When it comes to certain math- and science-related jobs, substantial numbers of women - highly qualified for the work - stay out of those careers because they would simply rather do something else."