So over in the Weekly Standard is an article about the expansion of Title IX into math and science departments. Can you say over reaching? How about useless? Here is the premise
Assistant Secretary of Education Stephanie Monroe announced that the Department of Education would be teaming up with the National Science Foundation to investigate the sex disparities in hard sciences–particularly engineering, physics, and computer science–that got former Harvard University president Larry Summers into so much trouble when he broached the subject in an academic meeting last year.
This is the part that really urked me:
She told Inside Higher Education, for example, that because the discrimination faced by women in math and science is often “subtle,” the government would investigate policies that result in women “feeling unwelcome” in their pursuit of advanced degrees or tenured positions in the hard sciences. Although Monroe promised to “not simply look at the numbers,” the unwelcoming environments for women she intended to investigate were in fact schools where a relatively small number of women pursue postgraduate work or where relatively few women are hired as faculty in math and science.
Now remember that I am a female math and science nerd (and found my loving husband that way;). I think that Sara, over at Reckless Abandon, will agree that we never felt as if we were outsiders. Frankly, nerdy math and science guys are very happy to see girls at all, much less ones that will talk to them. I do know that most math and science departments want women (and not just as eye candy;). Frankly, the more girls they have as students the more $$$ and having female faculty means you can qualify for more grants. Now I do believe that there is a disparity between the male and female enrollment in math and science programs. I do believe that a little part of it does have to do with natural interests but I think more of it may be society based. I think that aiming at younger girls (less than 8th grade) may be a more apropriate effort. Unfortunately, I do think this non math and science bias is past from woman to girl and not male society, but more thoughts on that later.