Title IX Gender Equity Applied to Science & Math?
Math 55 is advertised in the Harvard catalog as “probably the most difficult undergraduate math class in the country.” Math 55 does not look like America. Each year as many as 50 students sign up, but at least half drop out within a few weeks. As a former student told The Crimson newspaper in 2006, “We had 51 students the first day, 31 students the second day, 24 for the next four days, 23 for two more weeks, and then 21 for the rest of the first semester.” Said another student, “It’s like an episode of ‘Survivor’ with people voting themselves off.” The final class roster: 45% Jewish, 18% Asian, 100% male.
Women now earn 57% of bachelors degrees and 59% of masters degrees. According to the Survey of Earned Doctorates, 2006 was the fifth year in a row in which the majority of research Ph.D.s awarded to U.S. citizens went to women. Women earn more Ph.D.s than men in the humanities, social sciences, education, and life sciences. Women now serve as presidents of Harvard, MIT, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and other leading research universities.
But elsewhere, the figures are different. Women comprise just 19% of tenure-track professors in math, 11% in physics, 10% in computer science, and 10% in electrical engineering. And the pipeline does not promise statistical parity any time soon: women are now earning 24% of the Ph.D.s in the physical sciences—way up from the 4% of the 1960s, but still far behind the rate they are winning doctorates in other fields.
Departments of physics, math, chemistry, engineering, and computer science have remained traditional, rigorous, competitive, relatively meritocratic, and under the control of no-nonsense professors dedicated to objective standards. All that may be about to change. Following years of meticulous planning by activists, the era of academic détente is coming to an end.
Reason? There is a movement by some to apply the gender equity provision Title IX to science education, just like it has been applied to college sports.
Read more of the article "Why Can't A Woman Be More Like a Man?" here.