Monday, July 14, 2008

Title IX New Frontier: Science

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If pseudo-feminist Christina Hoff Sommers is against something, it must be the right thing to do!

The New York Times reports:

Until recently, the impact of Title IX, the law forbidding sexual discrimination in education, has been limited mostly to sports. But now, under pressure from Congress, some federal agencies have quietly picked a new target: science.

The National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Energy have set up programs to look for sexual discrimination at universities receiving federal grants. Investigators have been taking inventories of lab space and interviewing faculty members and students in physics and engineering departments at schools like Columbia, the University of Wisconsin, M.I.T. and the University of Maryland. [...]

So far, these Title IX compliance reviews haven’t had much visible impact on campuses beyond inspiring a few complaints from faculty members. (The journal Science quoted Amber Miller, a physicist at Columbia, as calling her interview “a complete waste of time.”) But some critics fear that the process could lead to a quota system that could seriously hurt scientific research and do more harm than good for women.

The members of Congress and women’s groups who have pushed for science to be “Title Nined” say there is evidence that women face discrimination in certain sciences, but the quality of that evidence is disputed. Critics say there is far better research showing that on average, women’s interest in some fields isn’t the same as men’s.
Did you hear the buzz words? "More harm than good for women" and "women's interest in some fields isn't the same as men's." Yeah, I thought so.

And if you click through to read the rest of the article you'll hear the ultimate buzz word ... "quota's."

Followed by how this could ultimate hurt both science and women's equality. Yes, and men's football programs on college campuses are profit centers ... right.

And the ultimate threatening language that sends up red flags is:

“Colleges already practice affirmative action for women in science, but now they’ll be so intimidated by the Title IX legal hammer that they may institute quota systems,” Dr. Sommers said. “In sports, they had to eliminate a lot of male teams to achieve Title IX parity. It’ll be devastating to American science if every male-dominated field has to be calibrated to women’s level of interest.”
Followed by:

Whether or not quotas are ever imposed, some of the most productive science and engineering departments in America are busy filling out new federal paperwork. The agencies that have been cutting financing for Fermilab and the Spirit rover on Mars are paying for investigations of a problem that may not even exist. How is this good for scientists of either sex?
Good grief.


Mary Ellen said...

"women's interest in some fields isn't the same as men's."

It’ll be devastating to American science if every male-dominated field has to be calibrated to women’s level of interest.”

So, what are women's interests? Cooking, cleaning, ironing?

Excuse me while I put a pillow over my face and scream until I break a few blood capillaries.

I tell ya, I just don't know why I'm worrying my little head over this when we have those big strong men to do the job for us. (eye roll)

Ugh...this is too much.

Veronica said...

First of all, the right has done a brilliant job at making anything sounding like affirmative action bad for the goose & the gander. That somehow as a woman or a woman of color, that AA brands us as unworthy. There was a time when I bought into that - oddly, when I was in science.

Second - There is a good group of women who DON'T want this because they fear that might open up women-centric programs to men and thus dilute the progress forward.

John J. said...

No, Mary Ellen, women dominate the biological sciences but are underrepresented in mathematics and other related fields.

The problem in applying Title IX in science fields is in isolating where the sexism is being happening. In sciences, the problem is often rooted back in elementary school, if not all the way back to the family itself. Women are told (wrongly) from a very young age that girls aren't as good at math; they are systematically discouraged from those fields of science. That core bias is what needs to be addressed (and from what I have seen it is beginning to change) before we can look at the hiring levels of institutions.

I believe that sexism and bias in the lab does need to be looked into and any improprieties need to be directly addressed. But we need to treat the disease, not just the symptoms at the top.

Infidel753 said...

There's one field of science I follow closely in which it seems that almost all research and field work is done by women: primatology, specifically the study of the great apes. It would be interesting to know why that is.

dguzman said...

*ignoring Slappy completely*

All this bullshite about "more harm than good" etc. is just a bunch of terrified men crying because their little all-men science clubs are being threatened. The men's coaches all whined and gave the same arguments when Titled IX was applied to sports. It was bullshit then, and it's bullshit now.

Imagine how many more scientists and how much more quality research we could produce as a nation if we encouraged women (from an early age) to follow their interests in science. Given the fact that the US is FAR behind the rest of the world in math and science, perhaps Title IX could help close that gap.