By Virginia Valian

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Not by enough, it would seem. In 1980, which represents the part of the pool from which judges today might be drawn, 34,590 JD's were awarded. Of this number, 10,754, or 31%, were women. In 1996, about 27% of the lawyers practicing were women, and there were 140 female federal judges out of a total of 842 federal or a total of 17% (6,7). Things are looking better, but if women lawyers were appointed federal judges in proportion to their numbers, there would be 227 female federal judges, not 140.

Verifiability Statistical results often are held in such low esteem that it is imperative that the results be verified. Unfortunately, we often cannot confirm the results obtained by authors. The reasons are many: computations on the data given do not yield the same results as those reported; insufficient data are given, so that readers cannot check the results; there is insufficient information on how the sample was chosen; the sources of data are not stated; or the author has collected and processed the data so that it is impractical, if not impossible, for anyone else to check the reported results.

Nowall did not know that this previously excluded group was now included in the 1890 census, he saw a “soar” where more knowledgeable people saw a natural rise in the reporting, not the count. Some Real-World Examples Using the Space Shuttle to Cross the Mississippi A researcher working with computer graphics who “discovered” a statistical anomaly gives us another example of what happens when inadequate knowledge of the subject matter and carelessness can lead to an unfortunate waste of time and talent (2).

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Gender Disparities in outcome statistics by Virginia Valian


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