NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

INNATE DIFFERENCES PROPEL MEN AND WOMEN TOWARD DIFFERENT INTERESTS

June 8, 2005

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, the number of women participating in intercollegiate sports has increased fourfold. But the push for equalization in men's and women's sports has created the dismantling of many men's sports teams, according to Steven E. Rhoads.

In his book, "Taking Sex Differences Seriously," Rhoads describes innate differences between men and women that -- even when given the same opportunities -- propel them toward different interests and participation rates:

  • In fact, a study of fourth and sixth graders found that during "free play" boys play competitive games with other boys about 50 percent of the time, while girls play competitive games only one percent of the time.
  • College surveys indicate that the majority of enrolled students who are interested in intercollegiate athletics are men (two polls reported 61 percent and 57 percent).
  • Women make up the majority of participants in sports that emphasize grace and beauty -- in one survey, 80 percent of gymnasts and figure skaters were women; but men, opt for more competitive sports, such as basketball, hockey and soccer.

Competitive male intercollegiate sports generate more ticket sales than female sports; at the University of Virginia, for example, 97 percent of sports tickets revenues come from sales for men's games.

As a result of the misguided intentions of Title IX, says Rhoads, several universities have cut some of their men's teams in order to achieve gender parity. Christine Stolba of the Independent Women's Forum notes, "between 1993 and 1999 alone, 53 men's golf teams, 39 men's track teams, 43 men's wrestling teams and 16 baseball teams have been eliminated."

Source: Steven E. Rhoads, "Taking Sex Differences Seriously," Encounter Books, June 1, 2004.

 

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