Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discussion)

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Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discussion)

Post by Amizda Calyx » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:49 am

Here are the stats on female competitors at DI and DII ICTs from 1997 to 2014:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =396257586

Essentially, there's a noticeable decline in participation at the DI tournament year-to-year that is probably the result of multiple reasons to be discussed later. For now, I'd like people to take the time to look at the data and understand the trends rather than jumping into a big unproductive Women in Quizbowl theoryfest. The field at DII tournaments is significantly higher and more stable, although it is still at an unarguably low percentage (average is a little over 17% of the field, as opposed to under 10% at the DI level).

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Performance at DI ICT has been up and down a lot since 1997, but lately there has been a sharp decrease in the percentage of women placing high. Here, I have calculated the top 10 and 25%, middle 50%, and bottom 25 and 10% of the field and divided the number of women present in each range by the total number of individuals in that range.

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I also calculated the percent of women who made it into each range.

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DII has been fairly stable, although still much lower than ideal.

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The Google spreadsheet I have linked has the raw data as well as my calculations for various other parameters, such as return rate, average PPG, player # within team, and a few other things. Also, if you notice any female players not counted in the statistics, or players who aren't women who are counted, please let me know.
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Susan » Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:42 am

I spent some time a while ago amassing some similar data (looking at slightly different ways of calculating player performance, and also measuring stuff like the number of teams with any female players vs. those without plus a sort of abortive attempt to look at engagement in the broader quizbowl community--e.g., participation on this forum) for ICTs and ACF Nats as well as a limited number of regional tournaments (ACF Fall, ACF Regs, NAQT SCT--some only partially complete). (I wish I'd thought of return rate, Joelle!) This data can be seen here. Looking at data from regional tournaments (SCT, Fall, Regionals) suggests that we see more women at lower levels of competition/regional tournaments and that some regions are way off from national averages in terms of number of female competitors (neither of which are surprising observations, of course!).
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:59 pm

So, I'll take the plunge and start off with something I'm curious about.

It seems to me that there are at least three levels at which we could talk about this problem. There's the broader cultural level in which female participation in all forms of knowledge- and trivia-based competitions seems to be lower than male participation (e.g. witness how few top knowledge-based quiz-show champions are female), which suggests a societal problem. There's the level of quizbowl as a whole. And then there's the level of collegiate quizbowl.

I don't want to sweep either of the first two under the rug, or suggest that everything's totally peachy there, and we should disregard them. (Nor am I saying that the existence of a large cultural problem, at a higher level than just quizbowl, necessarily precludes our being able to explore solutions at a lower level.) But, I'm particularly interested in the third of these, and would like to a focus a little on this.

It has been a while since I've moderated a high school tournament, but when I used to do this, I was always struck by how much higher the percentage of female players in the field always seemed to be. Glancing through HSNCT stats seem to confirm this. So, first of all: is my perception of this correct, or this a sample bias? Is female participation in the high school game significantly higher than in the college game? Do we have numbers for that transition on the percentage of male vs. female players who continue to play in college after playing in high school (a HS senior -> college freshman retention rate)?

If this perception is correct, I'd be particularly interested in hearing from women who played high-school quizbowl but chose not to play quizbowl in college, since that seems like a group for whom the obstacles at the two higher levels (cultural attitudes as a whole, quizbowl as a whole) were not fatal. What factors motivated this decision? Were there crucial differences in the nature of the game, the environment of the teams, etc. between high school and college? What changes to collegiate quizbowl might have made you more interested in continuing to play?

(Of course, some of the people I'm addressing may no longer read the boards. So, if you know someone at your college who you think might have a helpful perspective on this, you might want to mention this thread to them, to bring them into this conversation. These conversations often seem hampered by the fact that we don't get to hear from those who encountered the problems we're trying to address.)

(I also don't know if the moderators would prefer this to be posted in a separate thread within this sub-forum, rather than in the ICT stats thread.)
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Cheynem » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:01 pm

I'll offer my two cents on what John is asking.

To some extent, I think the more student dominated nature of the college game plays a role. While it's not true at every institution, many high schools still have a coach/teacher/adviser, who perhaps has greater sensitivity to issues of inclusion or exclusion than college students. In many instances, such a coach is female as well. Whereas at colleges, the programs are usually run by a coterie of active players (there's nothing with this in abstract. let me be clear). If those active players are all male or male dominated, it can be harder for women to wish to join. On the flip side, programs with significant female presences in that coterie may have no trouble in this (I don't want to make Minnesota seem like a paragon of male female relations, but our club has usually had women in key leadership positions and has seemingly had less of an effort in recruiting female players).
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Susan » Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:15 pm

Anecdotally, the percentage of HS players who are female is way higher than the percentage of college players who are, and I'd guess that's true across pretty much any metric you could come up with (% of players in top whatever percent of the field, % of teams with at least one female player, % of top teams with at least one female player, etc.). I don't have either numbers or (any longer) the time to come up with them. The surveys are also a good idea (it would also be interesting to get this info on people who join college teams and don't stick around, but I'd bet you can get more interesting info from people who were active players in high school and drop it in college). Clearly we've got to recruit some budding sociologists to this question!
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:30 pm

I don't have numbers either, but it is important to keep in mind that females make up significantly fewer than 50% of high school quizbowlers. Looking at Joelle's top graph, my guess is that the dropoff in percentage from high school to DII probably is roughly the same as the dropoff from DII to DI.
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Aaron's Rod » Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:53 pm

Cheynem wrote:On the flip side, programs with significant female presences in that coterie may have no trouble in this (I don't want to make Minnesota seem like a paragon of male female relations, but our club has usually had women in key leadership positions and has seemingly had less of an effort in recruiting female players).
This is definitely true at Lawrence. Though we're not that old of a club, my understanding is that we've had a pretty even ratio since our inception. I'll posit, perhaps obviously, that having females in a program is self-propagating. Having women makes it easier for more women to join. I can see how schools would have a hard time "breaking into" the cycle of women welcoming other women--if you don't already have female players, it is much harder for a female newcomer to feel comfortable.
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Amizda Calyx » Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:37 pm

I've spent a little time compiling some stats from NSCs from 2005 on and yes, the percentage of girls playing is a lot higher than DI and a little higher than DII; however they still usually make up under 20% of the field.

I'll come back with more analysis/input at some point.
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by cvdwightw » Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:19 pm

I have an Excel sheet with every HSNCT player from 1999 to now and their prelim PPG/PP20H (This space reserved for when I eventually put it online and link it), which I was using for some other analysis that I might post at some time later.

I filtered out every player with fewer than 5 games played and counted the rest as "full HSNCT participants." This is admittedly an arbitrary cut-off, but I think that "played in half of a team's prelim games" is as sensible a cut-off as any. I also looked at players within this set that had at least 20 PP20H, on the hypothesis that these players are more likely to want to continue with quizbowl in college. I'm sure my numbers on individual HSNCTs are a little off, but here's what I found:

1) At any given HSNCT, girls make up somewhere around 15-20% of the "full HSNCT participants" field. In the past few years it's been at the lower end of that range, but there's no real trend downward.

2) If we look at only players scoring at least 20 PP20H (I chose this cutoff on the idea that these players would be more likely than the average HSNCT player to continue to play in college), about 10% of these players are girls. Since 2005, there has been a significantly increasing trend in the proportion of the field scoring at least 20 PP20H, but the proportion of those players who are girls has remained constant or maybe decreased a little.

3) Looking only at the first half of the sample chronologically, there were around 73 girls who scored at least 20 PP20H at at least one HSNCT between 1999 and 2006. These women combined for 11 ICT appearances total; not one played at more than 3. (I haven't gotten around to looking at the second half of the set yet)

Here are some things that stood out to me anecdotally when looking through the data:

A) There were some programs (for instance, State College) with strong female representation in both games played and points scored.

B) A number of the top high school teams are from private boys' schools, which should artificially depress the percentage of girls in high school quizbowl.

C) There were many girls in the 1999-2006 HSNCTs that I vaguely remember as having been active at some point when I was an undergrad, but who apparently never went to an ICT.

D) I don't have the data to back this up, but my impression was that there was a higher percentage of girls among the data points I threw out for not having played a meaningful number of games than there was in the data points I kept to analyze.

I have a few hypotheses about what this all means:
  • It's a well-known hypothesis that "attrition rate" from high school to college is greater among players whose high school programs treated the competition more like a "sport," where most of the day-to-day decisions were made by the coach, as compared to high school programs run more like a "club," where many of the day-to-day decisions were made by older players (often after consulting a faculty sponsor/adviser). It is possible that, as Mike suggests, the first kind of high school program is more likely to attract girls. In this case, the attrition at the college level would be entirely expected, although there might be some kind of interaction remaining after accounting for type of program.
  • It is comparatively easier to be a "token" female player in high school, where most tournaments are held within a ~2 hour radius, than in college, where many tournaments require overnight trips and staying in a hotel/on someone else's couch/etc. Think about the "I am a woman going to CO and looking for another woman to split a hotel room with" threads we've seen over the years, and condense those issues to the level of the individual club. Some anecdotal evidence is here at the high school level - almost all the teams that travel out of area regularly are all-male; seemingly every other team has either a female coach and a female player or multiple female players.
  • It is comparatively harder to earn an ICT bid than an HSNCT bid. For whatever reason, women may be marginalized from the top SCT teams compared to their actual involvement in college quizbowl. This could mean competing on the top teams for programs that have a hard time getting ICT bids, competing on lower teams for regular ICT programs, or choosing not to compete but staying involved in other club activities.
Continuing to add onto Susan and John's list of questions, here are some things that I think are worth thinking about:

1) Is this a problem unique to quizbowl, or is it a problem with all high school academic competitions with a college equivalent (Mock Trial, MUN, etc.)? If it is unique to quizbowl, what can we learn from these other competitions?
2) Is the proliferation of online "quizbowl tools" that allow quizbowlers to be harmful idiots particularly harmful to female participation in quizbowl? I suspect we'd see this at the high school level first.
3) Quizbowl culture was notoriously female-unfriendly in the late 1990s/early 2000s, and yet this seems to have also been the era when female participation at the highest levels of the game was highest. Given all the changes that have been made since then to "improve" competition, is it possible that one or more of these changes inadvertently discouraged women from playing and/or disproportionately affected their ability or desire to be competitive?
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Amizda Calyx » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:44 pm

I have finished the basic stats for NSC participation since 2005. Cell color coding indicates whether an individual has been to a previous NSC; bold indicates she appears in a subsequent NSC. Font colors indicate the percentage of games played in the tournament.

Percent of field represented by women:
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Average PPG:
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Percent of each percentage bracket represented by women:
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Percent of women who are represented in each percentage bracket (as in, if there are 10 women and 50 total competitors, and one woman is in the top 10% (is in the top 5 scorers), that stat would show that one out of ten (1/10) women is in the top 10%):
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Percent of women who are the best, second-best, third-best, or fourth (or more)-best players on their team:
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Return statistics:
Image
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Nicklausse/Muse » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:07 am

If this perception is correct, I'd be particularly interested in hearing from women who played high-school quizbowl but chose not to play quizbowl in college, since that seems like a group for whom the obstacles at the two higher levels (cultural attitudes as a whole, quizbowl as a whole) were not fatal. What factors motivated this decision? Were there crucial differences in the nature of the game, the environment of the teams, etc. between high school and college? What changes to collegiate quizbowl might have made you more interested in continuing to play?
Hi!

(I was extremely active all throughout high school, played a lot in freshman year and then more or less stopped.)

I left quizbowl for theatre because in college I couldn't do both anymore. (In high school it had been easier to do both, mostly due to scheduling and partly due to the out-of-practice time commitment one was expected to make - it was harder to play off my repertoire of random knowledge without actually studying things. This is why when I did play in college, I had ridiculous deep knowledge of a number of specific subjects, but didn't know a lot of the canonical answer lines and middle clues.)

Relationship to other factors: New Rochelle had been student-run for years before I played, and I ran it in my junior and senior years, whether that's a point against the sport vs. club hypothesis or the exception that proves the rule; there's terrible retention from Chip-dominated regions anyway; anyone who was aware of me in high school knows the "women don't like competition or talking shop or whatever" doesn't apply here (if anywhere!).

It's also true that the Brown team, at least while I was there, was basically all men apart from me (I double-checked with Guy that I wasn't forgetting anyone; there were a few non-regulars). I can't say that having female regulars/senior players would have made me stay given the other demands on my time, but I'm also not ready to categorically deny that that environment was a factor at all or to say that, had circumstances been different, I wouldn't have traded off my time the other way some semesters. (For comparison, New Rochelle had a number of senior female players when I joined.)

I think there's an assumption that women players are casuals and I absolutely think it's self-perpetuating. If your teammates assume you don't know things (wildly negging on a question in your specialty area, or not bothering to consult you on bonuses), you won't score as many points in the tournaments you do play and you won't feel any incentive to study up. But of course, this sort of environment can be hard to demonstrate with specific examples even at the time, much less years later.
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Amizda Calyx » Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:12 pm

Hi Rebecca!

Thank you so much for commenting, you make some great points that I hadn't considered. The perception of "casual women players" is definitely something I encountered in college (and early high school, too). It can be really hard to establish yourself as a good player in particular categories (regardless of gender), and even harder when there's already a strong player in that category; I was lucky early on in that there weren't any other experienced bio players who regularly came to practice. I think it can be even more difficult when you're a woman on a team dominated by men, because even (and unfortunately sometimes especially...) when your teammates make an effort to be "welcoming to women", there's this pernicious pressure of having to "prove" yourself as both a competitor and as a representative of women. It's kind of like a dilute version of the problems minorities face in political and corporate leadership positions: your successes and failures are more visible and more likely to be tied to whichever minority group you're in, so there's this unconscious incentive to minimize visibility by taking fewer risks. I feel this is probably something experienced even more by the women playing as fourths on the team, since there's the additional fear of disappointing your teammates with risky buzzes.

Also, unfortunately, a side effect of concerted efforts to maximize women's participation is an increased impostor effect--female players selected to compete on "A" teams (and *particularly* as thirds or fourths) may feel like they're just being Title IX-ed even if they're entirely qualified. And then there are occasionally awful teammates (male and female) who will reinforce that idea with snide comments. I think most of this can be generalized to other minority competitors, as well.
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:10 pm

Here's a stacked plot version of a couple of the graphs:

Image

Image
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Re: Stats on women's participation at ICTs (open for discuss

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:58 pm

(Resurrecting this thread because it seems to be the most appropriate place to put this; mods feel free to split this if that works better)

I took a look at every tournament listed on the HSQB tournament database since the start of the 2015-2016 academic year. I got the top 500 first names* and their frequencies and ran it through Gender-API to get the likelihood of a name belonging to a male or a female. From that, I was able to estimate that at the average Quizbowl tournament, one should expect about 22% of the players to be women. Note this is weighted by participation, so someone who goes to 10 tournaments will have 10 times the impact as someone who shows up just once.

*Gender-API has a limit of 500 names/month in its free plan. That covered 2/3rds of all names, and I see no reason to believe why less-common names would skew one way or the other.
Attachments
qbplayers.xlsx
Frequencies of all first names between August 1, 2015 and December 31, 2017
(138.71 KiB) Downloaded 103 times
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