NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 24, 2006

The Department of Education and National Science Foundation are conducting a review of math, physics and engineering programs at selected universities to root out supposed bias against women and girls using Title IX as their weapon. But what about male underachievement, asks Christina Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute?

For decades, feminist pressure groups have been asserting that campuses provide a "chilly climate" for women; however, that is not the case anymore, says Sommers:

  • Most professional schools were once unwelcoming to women, but that did not stop women from breaking down their doors.
  • Women are approaching parity at schools of law and medicine; they have surpassed men in biology and now 80 percent of applicants to veterinary medicine are female.
  • Government officials are fretting over something they cannot change; women's relative lack of interest in electrical engineering and metallurgy.

In fact, Title IX -- which removed barriers to women's participate in sports -- has caused great damage by leading to the adoption of a destructive quota system, says Sommers:

  • Many coaches have been unable to attract equal numbers of men and women to participate, and to avoid government censure, funding loss and lawsuits, they often eliminate men's teams.
  • To achieve the illusion of equity, men's participation in sports is being calibrated to the level of female interest.
  • Moreover, the average 11th-grade boy has the writing skills of an 8th-grade girl. Boys receive a majority of the failing grades, while girls garner most of the honors.
  • Women earn 57 percent of bachelor's degrees, a gender gap that experts predict will widen.

Therefore, the Education Department should put aside its dockets and get serious about improving prospects for male and female students alike, says Sommers.

Source: Christina Hoff Sommers, "Title IX shouldn't be used as an academic weapon," USA Today, May 18, 2006.


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