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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A new use for Title IX

John Tierney of the New York Times has an article on proposed application of Title IX to university education, psychology, and social work programs, where women far outnumber men.

Of course, I’m kidding. The proposal is actually directed towards science and math programs, which are still predominantly male, despite the large gender imbalance in colleges. (Although encouraging women to choose anything over English is probably a good idea, given how useless English degrees are.)

It’s a terrible idea. Nothing good will come from interfering with university science programs. Unlike sports, where the lack of a particular team will impact a person's ability to meet his or her desire to participate in sports, all majors are open to all students. Men and women are free to choose to major in English, architecture, math, and astrophysics, and I'm not surprised to find that these majors are not all split 50-50 between the sexes.

The next time the National Science Foundation, NASA, or the Department of Energy need to cut their budgets, I know which positions should be eliminated first.

Some of the comments in the discussion are interesting. Plenty of women in the sciences discuss the poor treatment they've received. But plenty of men also comment about the discrimination they've received. The most interesting comment comes from one person who points out that while the successful graduate students are both male and female, the struggling graduate students, the perpetual students hanging on, are invariably male.

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