Last year, there was an opportunity in the state for certificated teachers who wanted to add a math endorsement to their certificate. There is no simple route to adding endorsements in this state outside of your major field. Basically, you have to do enough college-level coursework in order to be eligible for consideration---and depending upon the endorsement, you have to do a whole new round of student teaching, too. Seriously. The new program for math would pay all associated fees for teachers who wanted to take the math coursework---sponsors were even willing to send professors out to the masses, so if there were several people in a district participating in the program, Muhammed would indeed go to the mountain.
Someone suggested that I participate. "No way," I said. I like math, but I don't want to teach math. Just because I'm aware that I could be math teacher doesn't make me want to run out and be one.
I have wondered if similar sorts of things might be influencing the perceived gender inequities in other areas. I read a recent statistic that only 17% of college graduates with computer science degrees are female. Some are outraged by such a statistic. Me? I think it's possible that we're mixing equity of access with lack of interest. If there's no policy preventing females from majoring in computer science, all the outreach in the world isn't going to lead to equal representation at graduation. Seventeen percent doesn't necessarily mean women are adverse to computer engineering, it may well mean that they're interested in something else even more. Can we reliably tell the difference?