Here are two columnists who have written perceptively, I believe,
about feminism:

Articles and Reports on Feminism


MIT Tarnishes Its Reputation with Gender Junk Science
by Judith Kleinfeld

[Summary excerpt (emphasis is added):]

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
failed to uphold scientific standards
in its highly publicized study
confessing to gender discrimination against female faculty.
  • The MIT Study on the Status of Women Faculty
  • Media coverage of the MIT study has
    embraced the findings of the women who wrote the report,

    and has spawned copycat political projects
    at other prestigious universities.
  • Reliable scientific studies show striking differences
    in the interests and career preferences
    of mathematically gifted young men and women.
    Difference in career choice, not gender discrimination,
    is the most reasonable explanation
    for the greater number of male faculty in the School of Science at MIT.

The MIT Study Falls Below
Elementary Standards for Scientific Evidence

  1. The senior women at MIT
    were judge and jury
    of their own complaints.

    The chair
    of the MIT committee evaluating the charge of gender discrimination
    was Nancy Hopkins herself, the chief complainant. [!!!]
    Two-thirds of the committee members
    were other senior women in the School of Science,
    interested parties who would personally profit
    from a finding of gender discrimination,
    and in fact did profit, gaining
    increased salaries, increased research budgets,
    more laboratory space and other perks.
  2. The MIT report presents no objective evidence whatsoever
    to support claims of gender discrimination
    in laboratory space, salary, research funds, and other resources.
  3. MIT is keeping the facts secret,
    claiming that “confidentiality” is required on such matters as
    sex differences in square feet of laboratory space.
    Science depends on the disclosure of data on which claims are based.
  4. The “universal problem” of gender discrimination
    trumpeted in the MIT Study
    boils down to
    the subjective perceptions of senior women (not the junior women)
    in only three of the six departments at MIT’s School of Science.
    Even these perceptions–evidence of nothing but personal feelings–
    were not counted and measured
    according to accepted scientific standards in the social sciences.
  5. The claims by the senior women in the School of Science that,
    as “pioneers” in science,
    they are “exceptional” and “above the average MIT faculty”
    are unproved.
    An independent study by Professor James Guyot of Baruch College
    reveals that
    about the same percentage of senior MIT women (32%)
    and senior MIT men (34%)
    have been elected to membership in prestigious scientific academies.
    But in the MIT Biology Department,
    where the discrimination uproar started,
    the difference in scientific stature in favor of the senior men
    is quite large.


Broad National Effort Urgently Needed
To Maximize Potential of Women Scientists and Engineers in Academia

By National Academy of Sciences, et al.

If that doesn’t work, try: “Beyond Bias and Barriers”.

Academy of P.C. Sciences
Feminist politics trumps the data
by John Tierney
New York Times, 2006-09-26

[Paragraph numbers, emphasis and comments are added.]

I’ve slogged through enough reports from the National Academy of Sciences
to know they’re often not shining examples of the scientific method.
But — call me naïve —
I never thought the academy was cynical enough to publish a political tract like
“Beyond Bias and Barriers,”
the new report on [more accurately, allegation of]
discrimination against female scientists and engineers.

This is the kind of science you expect to find in The Onion:
“Academy Forms Committee to Study Gender Discrimination,
Bars Men from Participating.”

Actually, it did allow a total of one man, Robert Birgeneau of Berkeley,
on the 18-member committee,
but that was presumably because
he was already on record agreeing with the report’s pre-ordained conclusion:
academia must stop favoring male scientists and engineers.

How this favoritism occurs is difficult to discern,
particularly if you make it through all 291 pages.
Donna Shalala, the Clinton administration veteran who led the committee,
begins the report with a story of male chauvinists
refusing to give tenure to a promising young scholar (herself)
just because she was a woman,
but that happened three decades ago.
Buried deep in the report is a more recent datum:
when a woman is up for tenure today in science or engineering,
her odds of being approved are the same as a man’s.

The report says that
women are discouraged from going into science
because of social pressure and “unintentional” and “unconscious” biases —
which may well exist.
But Shalala’s committee is so determined to blame everything on discrimination
that it dismisses other factors without giving them a fair hearing.

You can get a sense of its spirit of inquiry from “findings” like this one:
“The academic success of girls
now equals or exceeds that of boys at the high school and college levels,
rendering moot all discussions of the biological and social factors
that once produced sex differences in achievement at these levels.”

[What a disgusting but typical feminist non sequitor.
What evidence is that there that
“The [current celebrated] academic success of girls”
is not due to a current bias of teachers in favor of girls?
If working scientists can be biased against women, as feminists claim,
how can it be ruled out that elementary and secondary teachers
are not biased in favor of girls?

Note also a related issue, how feminists explain discrepancies:
When women beat men at grades but lose in standardized test scores,
this is used as evidence that the tests are biased against women.
When women beat men in standardized test scores but lose in grades,
this is used as evidence that the teachers are biased against women.
Note the “consistency”.
What a bunch of crap!]

It may seem moot to the Shalala committee,
composed mainly of university administrators and scientists
who don’t study sex differences
(or are hostile to the idea that they exist).
But it’s not moot to the scientists who’ve documented persistent differences.

I consulted half a dozen of these experts about the report, and
they all dismissed it as a triumph of politics over science.
It’s classic rent-seeking by a special-interest group
that stands to get more money and jobs if the recommendations are adopted.

“I am embarrassed,” said Linda Gottfredson of the University of Delaware,
“that this female-dominated panel of scientists
would ignore decades of scientific evidence
to justify an already disproved conclusion,
that the sexes do not differ in career-relevant interests and abilities.”

One well-documented difference is
the disproportionately large number of boys
scoring in the top percentile of the SAT math test.
And when you compare boy math whizzes with girl math whizzes,
more differences appear.
The boys score much higher on the math portion of the SAT than on the verbal,
whereas the girls are more balanced —
high on the verbal as well as the math.

The girls have more career options,
and they have different priorities than the boys,
as the psychologists David Lubinski and Camilla Persson Benbow
have demonstrated by tracking students
with the exceptional mathematical ability
to become top-flight researchers in science and engineering.

As adolescents,
the boys are especially interested in
abstract theoretical pursuits and “inorganic” disciplines involving things,
the girls are more interested in
“social values,” “people contact” and “organic” disciplines.
Plenty of these girls end up going to graduate school,
and some become superb physicists and engineers,
but many choose law, medicine, education
and so-called soft sciences like biology or psychology.

After decades of
schools pushing girls into science
universities desperately looking for gender diversity on their faculties,
it’s insulting to pretend that most female students
are too intimidated to know their best interests.
As Science magazine reported in 2000,
the social scientist Patti Hausman offered a simple explanation
for why women don’t go into engineering:
they don’t want to.

“Wherever you go,
you will find females far less likely than males to see
what is so fascinating about ohms, carburetors or quarks,”
Hausman said.
“Reinventing the curriculum
will not make me more interested in learning how my dishwasher works.”

[It is good to see this break from the NYT ’s
usual cheerleading for feminism.]

H.P. Before a Skeptical Congress
New York Times, 2006-09-29

The most informative part of the article is this:
Ms. Dunn provoked the most disbelief with her insistence
that she did not supervise the investigation and
that she believed that private telephone records could be obtained legally.
At one point,
she said she believed until six months ago that
one could simply call the telephone company
and obtain another person’s phone records.

“You really believe that?
You honestly believed that it was that simple?”
asked Representative Greg Walden, Republican of Oregon.
How on earth did this woman
ever become chair(wo)man of a corporation like H-P?
It sure wasn’t because of her technical ability.
Is there any more definitive proof possible that
feminism and political correctness have completely destroyed
any notion of merit as a requirement for advancement?

Give this woman the Golden Condi,
the disastrous affirmative action award.

Women, science, and the gender gap
By Cathy Young
Boston Globe, 2006-10-02

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The makeup of the panel that produced the report is revealing.
Chaired by University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala,
known for her commitment to feminist causes,
the panel included a number of strong proponents of
the belief that women in science are held back primarily by sexism and that
aggressive remedies to these biases are needed.

Noticeably absent were proponents of other viewpoints
[this is typical of feminist tactics: always stack the deck] --
including such female scientists as
Vanderbilt University psychologist Camilla Persson Benbow or
Canadian neuroscientist Doreen Kimura,
who argue that
biological sex differences influence cognitive skills in some areas.


[T]he report points to the narrowing gap
between boys' and girls' mathematics test scores
as evidence that there are no innate differences to inhibit female success.
But average test scores are not a good indicator
of what it takes to be successful in the scientific field.
[Again, I hate to say, a typical feminist tactic:
look at the wrong statistic.]

As the report briefly acknowledges,
male scores have far greater variability,
with more boys clustered at the bottom,
among children with severe learning disabilities,
and at the top, among the highly gifted.


Ultimately, the report is a missed opportunity.
It could have
addressed the personal and family choices women could make
to maximize their career potential, or
looked at the factors in the high achievement of Asian-American women in science.
(Asian-Americans are virtually ignored
in all the talk of minority women in science.)

Instead, it upholds an orthodoxy of female victimization.

Rape Is Rape: No matter when it begins
Washington Post Editorial, 2006-11-27

IS IT RAPE if a woman agrees to have sex,
then changes her mind after the act has begun
and tells the man to stop?

[Only a lunatic or a feminist (is there a difference?)
would think to ask that question.
But the editorial board of the WP,
whose specialist on “women’s issues”
is the Jewess (sample columns: 1, 2) Ruth Marcus,
not only asks the question but answers it, amazingly, in the affirmative!]


Equal Cheers for Boys and Girls Draw Some Boos
New York Times, 2007-01-14

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Thirty girls signed up for the cheerleading squad this winter
at Whitney Point High School in upstate New York.
But upon learning
they would be waving their pompoms for the girls’ basketball team
as well as the boys’,
more than half of the aspiring cheerleaders dropped out.

The eight remaining cheerleaders now awkwardly adjust their routines
for whichever team is playing here on the home court —
“Hands Up You Guys” becomes “Hands Up You Girls”—
to comply with a new ruling
from federal education officials interpreting Title IX,
the law intended to guarantee gender equality in student sports....

Whitney Point is one of 14 high schools in the Binghamton area
that began sending cheerleaders to girls’ games in late November,
after the mother of a female basketball player in Johnson City, N.Y.,
filed a discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Education.
She said the lack of official sideline support
made the girls seem like second-string,
and violated Title IX’s promise of equal playing fields for both sexes.

But the ruling has left many people here and across the New York region booing,
as dozens of schools have chosen to stop sending cheerleaders to away games,
as part of an effort to squeeze all the home girls’ games
into the cheerleading schedule.

Boys’ basketball boosters say something is missing in the stands at away games,
cheerleaders resent not being able to meet their rivals on the road,
and even female basketball players being hurrahed are unhappy....

But, as the New York State Public High School Athletic Association
warned in a letter to its 768 members in November,
the education department determined that cheerleaders should be provided
“regardless of whether the girls’ basketball teams wanted and/or asked for” them.

The ruling followed a similar one in September in the Philadelphia suburbs,
and comes as high schools nationwide are redefining the role of cheerleaders
in response to parental and legal pressures
as well as growing sensitivity to sexism among athletic directors,
especially as more women step into those roles.

Sure, there are some parents and organizations that requested this action.
But I wonder how many.
I would bet that the vast majority of parents would oppose this action.
It would be interesting to see a poll of parents of high-schoolers
on this point.]

Federal education officials would not specify
how many Title IX complaints concerning cheerleading
the Office for Civil Rights is investigating.
But a spokesman said
the department received 64 complaints nationwide last year
concerning unequal levels of publicity given to girls’ and boys’ teams —
which includes the issue of cheerleading —
most from New York state.
That compares with a total of 28 such complaints over the previous four years.
[Evidently, some organization launched a campaign over this subject.
It’s unlikely that going from seven complaints a year to 64
happened randomly.]

In September, the Prince George’s County, Md., public schools
agreed to provide publicity equally for its male and female athletes,
including cheerleaders at competitive events,
as part of a lengthy list of changes
after the National Women’s Law Center raised Title IX complaints
against the 134,000-student district.


Rosie Pudish, the parent who filed the original complaint,
said she did so even though her own daughter, Keri,
a varsity basketball player at Johnson City High School,
did not particularly want cheerleaders at her games.

Ms. Pudish said that as many as 60 cheerleaders,
along with their friends and parents, would attend the boys’ games,
injecting a level of excitement and spirit that was missing from the girls’ contests.

“It sends the wrong message that girls are second-class athletes
and don’t deserve the school spirit,
that they’re just little girls playing silly games
and the real athletes are the boys,”

said Ms. Pudish, an accountant who works for the federal government.

[Ms. Pudish, like most feminist activists, is nuts.
It sends such a message only
to those radical extremists who go way out of their way
to destroy traditional society.]


At a small school like Whitney Point, with 525 students,
the ruling has devastated a cheerleading program
that had just begun to rebound after being eliminated in budget cuts in 2002.
Some of the girls who dropped out just did not want to cheer for other girls,
while others said the team was not as fun without traveling to away games
and being able to check out routines by rival cheerleading teams.
(Since most schools in the league are complying with the ruling
by keeping cheerleaders on their home courts,
the squads are now left to rah-rah without response.)

The girls’ basketball players complained about the change, too;
the coach asked cheerleaders to stay on the bench
at crucial moments during the first few games
so as not to distract his players.
But after an awkward start, the girls have settled into a routine of sorts,
and have posed together for post-game pictures.

Katelin Maxson, 17, a senior who is the cheerleading captain,
said that while she does not mind cheering for the girls,
it has doubled her workload:
She has continued the tradition here of decorating the lockers of the basketball players on game days and bringing them treats.

“We joined sports to have fun,
but they’re basically taking the fun away and giving us more work,”
she said.
“The interest is down so much, and it’s going to keep dropping,
until there’s no cheerleading anymore.”

[This is really social engineering run amok
Stalinist commissars ordering local institutions how to run their programs
to satisfy the most radical ideologues of government planning and control.
It is even more discouraging that such radical feminist decrees
are coming from what is purportedly a Republican, conservative administration.
From my point of view,
the feminists (and Zionists) effectively control all of organized politics,
while the radical feminists have burrowed deeply into the government bureaucracy, independent of party.
What a shame.

A missing factor from this story is information about
what part of the Department of Education, and which government officials,
made this decision,
and the methods they used to make it.
So the complaints went from seven a year to 64.
Did they really believe that reflected increased awareness of a real problem,
or just the results of a letter-writing campaign by a feminist group?

I am surprised that Congress does not make an attempt
to reign in such runaway bureaucracy.
Is this what it intended? ]

Poor Behavior Is Linked to Time in Day Care
New York Times, 2007-03-26


A puzzling question is the survival of Condoleezza Rice
as a leading figure in American national security
after the twin disasters of 9/11 and the Iraq War.
There can be no doubt that,
if the national security adviser had been a white male,
he would long ago have been removed
from a position of power in Washington.

In the case of 9/11, that might have been a little unfair:
A disaster of the magnitude of 9/11 really was hard, then, to imagine.
Further, if Bush had, on her advice,
taken the steps that might have prevented it,
he would have been derided by the Democrats
as a typical Republican paranoid/cowboy.
Without 9/11 actually happening,
there would have been no defense against such Democratic charges
that he was over-reacting to a hypothetical and unproven threat,
a “phantom menace.”

But with regard to Iraq there can be no such defense.
Any reasonably knowledgeable person should have known that
the predictions of the neocons were nothing but fantasy,
almost certainly motivated by
their loyalty to Israel rather than to the United States.
That Rice did not see that is her failure,
for which there is no excuse that I can see.

So why is she not gone from the national security scene?
I have spoken to several Washington area women about that.
Their response?
She was just doing what Bush told her.
Bush is a controlling individual.
She had no choice.

Well, let me say again:
If Condoleezza Rice had been Carl Rice,
there would have been no such excuses made
by anyone, either male or female.
(S)he would have been gone to signal, as the saying goes, accountability.
That she is not indicates that a double standard still reigns in America,
but one that feminists are unwilling to admit:
Women are not held to the same accountability standards as men.
They are given breaks and special privileges in our society,
both unofficial such as the Rice exception to accountability
and official, legal ones,
such as discriminatory and unequal laws such as
the Violence Against Women Act
(a law whose discriminatory character is shown by its very title)
and the notorious Liars Shield Law.

I hope the senators who supported such laws,
such as Senators Biden and Specter,
have gotten some good times from women
in return for their selling of lesser men out to their bigoted laws.
But actually that overpersonalizes:
the real reason such discriminatory laws get passed
is the combined political clout of women, blacks, Jews, labor, and homosexuals,
who comprise the vast bulk of the Democratic Party,
which in turn provided the majority of the votes for these discriminatory laws.
Sadly enough, Bush-43 signed into law the extension of VAWA;
evidently the clout of political correctness reaches even into the Republican Party.
There’s almost no way to get away from PC.

A Woman Scorned Turns Rejection Into an Art Form
By Blake Gopnik
Washington Post, 2007-06-13

Some comments on this article:
  1. After reading the article, ask yourself:
    Who is really the one
    who is “self-absorbed” and “self-pitying”?
  2. What a colossal double standard!
    Women dump men all the time.
    Men who are dumped, so far as I know,
    do not make a federal case out of it.
    Can you imagine the reaction
    to a man who reacted to being dumped
    as the “heroine” of this article did?
    He would no doubt be regarded as a total nut job,
    by men and women both.
    But for feminists, it’s always the right time to play victim.
    Feminism: Women as victim, all the time.
  3. Again, suppose that,
    rather than a “Dear Jane” letter being received by a woman,
    exactly the same content had been in a “Dear John” letter sent to a man.
    Would that “forensic psychiatrist” have diagnosed a female writer as
    “a true, twisted manipulator,
    psychologically dangerous and/or a great writer.
    To be avoided. Categorically.”?
    Not a chance.

    And suppose a jilted man (or his friend)
    had used a rifle to shoot holes in a letter from his ex-lover.
    The same women
    who are supporting this “artist” by their words and deeds
    would be the very first people to condemn
    the act of a man shooting at this symbol of his ex-lover
    as being
    a sign of very deep mental illness,
    clearly symbolizing a threat to the woman, if not to women in general,
    and showing deep hatred toward women.
    They would instantly diagnose him as deeply misogynist
    and doubtless report him to
    the local office dedicated to psychoanalyzing the politically incorrect
    and protecting womyn from such psychopaths.

    Are the actions of these women not indisputable, irrefutable proof of
    the total, shameless, unarguable hypocrisy and double standards
    on the part of feminists?

Do-It-Yourself Delivery
Some Women Are Choosing to Give Birth Without Medical Assistance
By Sandra G. Boodman
Washington Post, 2007-07-31

[Very impressive.
Congratulations to all those women!
Sounds like real liberation and empowerment to me.
But it would be interesting to see some accurate, reliable statistics
on the probability of problem childbirths,
those which do require professional intervention.
In other words, what are the risks these women are incurring?]

A Bundle of Joy Isn’t Enough?
New York Times, 2007-12-05

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

In a more innocent age,
new mothers generally considered their babies
to be the greatest gift imaginable.
Today, they are likely to want some sort of tangible bonus as well.

[Two questions immediately arise:
  1. To what demographic group of women does that statement apply?
    All statistics and anecdotal information of which I am aware
    suggest that it primarily applies to
    upper and upper-middle class white American women.
    Demographic data show
    that group is reproducing below its replacement rate,
    while Hispanic and African-American women reproduce well above it.
  2. What has caused this change in women’s attitudes?
    I suggest that the change is, at least in part,
    due to just such articles as this,
    in the opinion-leading and trend-setting NYT,
    which inevitably make it seem like what the trendy set is doing.
    While not proof, it is suggestive that
    it is precisely the group of women with the lowest fertility rate
    who are the prime target of, and consumer of, the NYT.

This bonus goes by various names.
Some call it the “baby mama gift.”
Others refer to it as the “baby bauble.”
But it’s most popularly known as the “push present.”

That’s “push” as in,
“I the mother,
having been through the wringer and pushed out this blessed event,
hereby claim my reward.”
[The traditional view, of course, is that the baby is the reward.
Evidently not for these snots.]

Or “push” as in,
“I’ve delivered something special
and now I’m pushing you, my husband/boyfriend,
to follow suit.”

“It’s more and more an expectation of moms these days that
they deserve something for
bearing the burden for nine months,
getting sick,
ruining their body,”
[Please. Many consider the pregnant women a thing of beauty,
especially in these low birth-rate times.]

said Linda Murray, executive editor of BabyCenter.com.
[Is that a plug?]
“The guilt really gets piled on.”

A recent survey of more than 30,000 respondents by BabyCenter.com
found that
38 percent of new mothers received a gift from their mate
in connection with their child.
Among pregnant mothers, 55 percent wanted one.
About 40 percent of both groups said the baby was ample reward.


Push presents seem to have taken off within the last decade,
particularly in the last couple of years.
No one is quite sure how the trend began ...
[Can’t some sociology thesis be written on this?]


“They’ve arisen from the time cavemen brought trinkets to their wives,”
said Jim Brusilovsky ...
[I didn’t know cavemen were so sensitive.]
“I haven’t seen it coming from the [jewelry] industry.”

Michael Toback, a jewelry supplier in Manhattan’s diamond district,
traces the practice to
a new posture of assertiveness by women.
[Just what we need.
More assertive women.
It seems to me I’ve written some comments about that.]

“You know, ‘Honey, you wanted this child as much as I did. So I want this,’”
he said.

A more likely explanation is that
men are now simply more aware of and sympathetic to
the plight of their pregnant partners,
given their increasing tendency to attend childbirth classes
and help in the actual delivery.
“I think husbands are more involved with the prenatal process,”
said Dr. Philippe Girerd, an obstetrician in Richmond, Va.
“Women go through back pain, morning sickness, stress and so on.
We just sit around and take the credit.
I think a lot of 21st century husbands are a little more in touch with that.”

Remarks at the Women's Foreign Policy Group Annual Luncheon
by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Women's Foreign Policy Group, 2007-12-10


Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?
By Christina Hoff Sommers
The American, 2008-03/04

Women earn most of America’s advanced degrees
but lag in the physical sciences.
Beware of plans to fix the “problem.”

[The full text, all 75 paragraphs.
Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.
Text segments in double-line-bordered boxes
(they also should have a different, sans-serif, font)
were sidebars in the original;
(the few) boxes with solid borders represent
ordinary original text that is emphasized in this document.]

Math 55 is advertised in the Harvard catalog as
“probably the most difficult undergraduate math class in the country.”
It is legendary among high school math prodigies,
who hear terrifying stories about it
in their computer camps and at the Math Olympiads.
Some go to Harvard just to have the opportunity to enroll in it.
Its formal title is “Honors Advanced Calculus and Linear Algebra,”
but it is also known as “math boot camp” and “a cult.”
The two-semester fresh¬man course meets for three hours a week,
but, as the catalog says,
homework for the class takes between 24 and 60 hours a week.

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 one 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,
“I guess you can say it’s an episode of ‘Survivor’
with people voting themselves off.”
The final class roster, according to The Crimson:
“45 percent Jewish,
18 percent Asian,
100 percent male.”

Why do women avoid classes like Math 55?
Why, in fact, are there so few women
in the high echelons of academic math and in the physical sciences?

Women now earn
57 percent of bachelors degrees and
59 percent 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 percent of tenure-track professors in math,
11 percent in physics,
10 percent in computer science, and
10 percent in electrical engineering.
And the pipeline does not promise statistical parity any time soon:
women are now earning 24 percent of the Ph.D.’s in the physical sciences—
way up from the 4 percent of the 1960s,
but still far behind the rate they are winning doctorates in other fields.
“The change is glacial,” says Debra Rolison,
a physical chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Rolison, who describes herself as an “uppity woman,” has a solution.
A popular anti–gender bias lecturer, she gives talks with titles like
“Isn’t a Millennium of Affirmative Action for White Men Sufficient?”
She wants to apply Title IX to science education.
Title IX, the celebrated gender equity provision
of the Education Amendments Act of 1972,
has so far mainly been applied to college sports.
But the measure is not limited to sports.
It provides,
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex...
be denied the benefits of...
any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Harvard’s legendary Math 55 class does not look like America.
The class roster at semester’s end?
‘45 percent Jewish, 18 percent Asian, 100 percent male.’

While Title IX has been effective in promoting women’s participation in sports,
it has also caused serious damage,
in part because it has led to the adoption of a quota system.
Over the years,
judges, Department of Education officials, and college administrators
have interpreted Title IX to mean that
women are entitled to “statistical proportionality.”
That is to say,
if a college’s student body is 60 percent female,
then 60 percent of the athletes should be female—
even if far fewer women than men are interested in playing sports at that college.
But many athletic directors
have been unable to attract the same proportion of women as men.
To avoid government harassment, loss of funding, and lawsuits,
they have simply eliminated men’s teams.
Although there are many factors affecting
the evolution of men’s and women’s college sports,
there is no question that Title IX has led to
men’s participation
being calibrated to
the level of women’s interest.

That kind of calibration could devastate academic science.

But unfortunately, in her enthusiasm for Title IX, Rolison is not alone.

On October 17, 2007 [i.e., after switching to Democratic control],
a subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology convened
to learn why women are “underrepresented”
in academic professorships of science and engineering
and to consider what the federal government should do about it.

As a rule, women tend to gravitate to fields such as
education, English, psychology, biology, and art history,
while men are much more numerous in
physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering.
Why this is so is an interesting question—
and the subject of a substantial empirical literature.
The research on gender and vocation
is complex, vibrant, and full of reasonable disagreements;
there is no single, simple answer.

There were, however, no disagreements at the congressional hearing.
All five expert witnesses,
and all five congressmen, Democrat and Republican,
were in complete accord.
They attributed the dearth of women in university science to a single cause:

And there was no dispute about the solution.
All agreed on the need for
a revolutionary transformation of American science itself.
“Ultimately,” said Kathie Olsen,
deputy director of the National Science Foundation,
“our goal is to transform, institution by institution,
the entire culture of science and engineering in America,
and to be inclusive of all—for the good of all.”

Women comprise
19 percent of tenure-track professors in math,
11 percent in physics, and
10 percent in electrical engineering.
The pipeline does not promise statistical parity.

Representative Brian Baird, the Washington-state Democrat
who chairs the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education,
looked at the witnesses
and the crowd of more than 100 highly appreciative activists from groups like
the American Association of University Women and
the National Women’s Law Center
and asked,
“What kind of hammer should we use?”

For the five male, gray-haired congressmen, the hearing was a happy occasion—
an opportunity to be chivalrous and witty
before an audience of concerned women,
and to demonstrate their goodwill and eagerness to set things right.
It was also a historic occasion—more than the congressmen realized.
During the past 30 years,
the humanities have been politicized and transformed beyond recognition.
The sciences, however, have been spared.
There seems to have been a tacit agreement,
especially at the large research universities;
radical activists and deconstructionists
were left relatively free to experiment with fields like
comparative literature, cultural anthropology, communications,
and, of course, women’s studies,
while the hard sciences—
vital to our economy, health, and security,
and to university funding from the federal government, corporations,
and the wealthy entrepreneurs among their alumni—
were to be left alone.

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 the activists gathered for the hearing,
the era of academic détente is coming to an end.

The first witness was Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami
and secretary of health and human services in the Clinton administration.
She had chaired the
“Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women
in Academic Science and Engineering,”
organized by several leading scientific organizations including
the National Academy of Sciences (NAS),
Academy of Engineering, and
Institute of Medicine.
In 2006 the committee released a report,
“Beyond Bias and Barriers:
Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering,”
that claimed to find “pervasive unexamined gender bias.”
It received lavish media attention
and has become the standard reference work
for the STEM gender-equity movement
(the acronym stands for science, technology, engineering, and math).

At the hearing, Shalala warned that strong measures would be needed
to improve the “hostile climate” women face in the academy.
This “crisis,” as she called it,
“clearly calls for a transformation of academic institutions....
Our nation’s future depends on it.”

Shalala and other speakers called for rigorous application
of Title IX and other punitive measures.
Witness Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County,
stressed the need to threaten obstinate faculties with loss of funding:
“People listen to money....
Make the people listen to the money talk!”

The idea of “title-nining” academic science
was proposed by Debra Rolison in 2000.
She has promoted Title IX as an “implacable hammer”
guaranteed to get the attention of recalcitrant faculty.
Prompted by Rolison and a growing chorus of activists,
the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space
held a 2002 hearing on “Title IX and Science.”
Later, in 2005, former subcommittee chairmen
Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator George Allen (R-VA)
held a joint press conference with feminist leaders.
Wyden declared,
“Title IX in math and science is the right way to start.”
Allen seconded,
“We cannot afford to cut out half our population—the female population.”
The Title IX reviews have already begun.

‘Our goal,’
says the deputy director of the National Science Foundation,
‘is to transform...
the entire culture of science and engineering in America,
and to be inclusive of all.’

At the October 2007 subcommittee meeting,
Representative Vernon Ehlers,
a Michigan Republican and self-described “recovering sexist,”
cheerfully suggested we declare science a sport
and then regulate it the way we do college athletics.
He was joking, but it is important to recognize that science is not a sport.
The purpose of college sports is
to develop the skills and confidence of young athletes and
to promote school spirit,
while the goal of science is to advance knowledge.
Success in fields like math, physics, computer science, and engineering
is critical to our national security and well-being.

There is another essential difference between sports and science:
in science, men and women play on the same teams.
Very few women can compete on equal terms with men
in lacrosse, wrestling, or basketball;
by contrast, there are many brilliant women
in the top ranks of every field of science and technology,
and no one doubts their ability to compete on equal terms.
Yet a centerpiece of STEM activism is the idea that science,
as currently organized and practiced,
is intrinsically hostile to women and
a barrier to the realization of their unique [?!] intellectual potential.
MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins, an effective leader of the science equity campaign
(and a prominent accuser of Harvard president Lawrence Summers
when he committed the solecism of suggesting that
men and women might have different propensities and aptitudes),
points to the hidden sexism of
the obsessive and competitive work ethic of institutions like MIT.

“It is a system,” Hopkins says,
“where winning is everything, and women find it repulsive.”
[So all women think alike.
When feminists want them to.]

This viewpoint explains the constant emphasis,
by equity activists such as Shalala, Rolison, and Olsen,
the need to transform
the “entire culture” of academic science and engineering.

Indeed, the charter for the October 17 congressional hearing
placed primary emphasis on academic culture:
“The list of cultural norms that appear to disadvantage women...
includes the favoring of disciplinary over interdisciplinary
research and publications,
and the only token attention given to teaching and other service
during the tenure review process.
Thus it seems that it is not necessarily conscious bias against women
but an ingrained idea of how the academic enterprise ‘should be’
that presents the greatest challenge
to women seeking academic S&E [science and engineering] careers.”

When the women-in-sports movement was getting underway in the early 1990s,
no one suggested that its success
would require transforming the “culture of soccer”
or putting an end to the obsession with competing and winning.
The notion that women’s success in science
depends on changing the rules of the game
seems demeaning to women—
but it gives the STEM-equity movement extraordinary scope,
commensurate with the extraordinary power
that federal science funding would put at its disposal.

Already, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is administering
a multimillion-dollar gender-equity program called ADVANCE,
which, as Olsen told the subcommittee,
aims to transform the culture of American science to make it gender-fair.
Through ADVANCE,
the NSF is attempting to make academic science departments
more cooperative, democratic, and interdisciplinary
as well as less obsessive and stressful.
And the “Gender Bias Elimination Act,”
introduced by one of the subcommittee members,
Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Democrat of Texas
[“a psychiatric nurse and psychotherapist”],
a few weeks before the hearing,
would mandate not only stringent Title IX reviews
but also bias-awareness workshops
for academics seeking government funding.

Baron-Cohen believes that men are, on average,
wired to be better systematizers and women better empathizers.
It’s a daring claim, but he has the data to back it up.

These proposed solutions assume a problem that might not exist.
During her presidential campaign,
Hillary Clinton has noted that
“women comprise 43 percent of the workforce
but only 23 percent of scientists and engineers”
and insists that government
take “diversity into account when awarding education and research grants.”
But what is the basis for this and other attempts to balance the statistics?
If numerical inferiority were sufficient grounds
for charges of discrimination or cultural insensitivity,
Congress would be holding hearings
on the crisis of underrepresentation of men in higher education.
After all, women earn most of the degrees—practically across the board.
What about male proportionality in the humanities, social sciences, and biology?
The physical sciences are the exception, not the rule.

So why are there so few women in the high echelons of academic math
and in the physical sciences?
In a recent survey of faculty attitudes on social issues, sociologists
Neil Gross of Harvard and Solon Simmons of George Mason University
asked 1,417 professors
what accounts for
the relative scarcity of female professors in math, science, and engineering.
Just 1 percent of respondents attributed the scarcity to women’s lack of ability,
24 percent to sexist discrimination, and
74 percent to differences in what characteristically interests men and women.

Many experts who study male/female differences
provide strong support for that 74 percent majority.
Readers can go to books like
David Geary’s Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences (1998);
Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (2002), and
Simon Baron-Cohen’s
The Essential Difference: The Truth about the Male and Female Brain (2003),
for arguments suggesting that biology
plays a distinctive—but not exclusive—role in career choices.

Baron-Cohen is one of the world’s leading experts on autism,
a disorder that affects far more males than females.
Autistic persons tend to be socially disconnected
and unaware of the emotional states of others.
But they often exhibit obsessive fixation on objects and machines.
Baron-Cohen suggests that autism may be the far end of the male norm—
the “extreme male brain,” all systematizing and no empathizing.
He believes that men are, “on average,”
wired to be better systematizers and women to be better empathizers.
It’s a daring claim—but he has data to back it up,
presenting a wide range of correlations between
the level of fetal testosterone and behaviors in both girls and boys
from infancy into grade school.

[“daring claim”? I thought that was a standard observation.]

Harvard psychologist Marc Hauser has what seems to be the appropriate attitude
about the research on sex difference:
respectful, intrigued, but also cautious.
When asked about Baron-Cohen’s work, Hauser said,
“I am sympathetic…and
find it odd that anyone would consider the work controversial.”
Hauser referred to research that shows, for example, that
if asked to make a drawing,
little girls almost always create scenes with at least one person,
while males nearly always draw things—cars, rockets, or trucks.
And he mentioned that among primates,
including our closest relations the chimpanzees,
males are more technologically innovative,
while females are more involved in details of family life.
Hauser warns that
a lot of seemingly exciting and promising research on sex differences
has not panned out,
and urges us to treat the biological theories with caution.

it is hard not to be attracted to theories like Simon Baron-Cohen’s
when one looks at the way men and women are distributed in the workplace.
After two major waves of feminism,
women still predominate—sometimes overwhelmingly—
in empathy-centered fields such as
early-childhood education, social work, veterinary medicine, and psychology,
while men are overrepresented in the “systematizing” vocations
such as car repair, oil drilling, and electrical engineering.

Rachel Maines,
a visiting scholar in science and technology studies at Cornell University,
recently wrote an essay expressing amazement with
women’s progress [?] in veterinary medicine compared with engineering.
women now comprise fully 77 percent of students in veterinary schools,
compared with 8 percent in the 1960s.
Maines writes, “To be sure, puppies are cuter than microchips,
but most of what veterinarians do isn’t about cute.
Veterinary medicine…remains irreducibly bloody, messy, and often hazardous....
It certainly requires a rigorous scientific education
that is at least as difficult and daunting
as what engineering demands.”

If numerical inferiority
were sufficient grounds for charges of discrimination,
Congress would be holding hearings on
the underrepresentation of men in higher education.

Maines is surprised that women have managed so rapidly
to take over this male-centered, science-based field
without the benefit of bias workshops or federal equity initiatives.
Cornell, she notes, just received a $3.3 million grant from the NSF
to build a “critical mass” of women in all the STEM disciplines—ASAP.
It is a first principle of the equity movement
that role models and mentors
are essential for helping women to move ahead in a field.
But where, asks Maines,
were the mentors and role models in veterinary medicine?
She urges her colleagues to study the mystery of what happened.

Theorists like Baron-Cohen may have solved the mystery.
If he is right, veterinary medicine would be a dream job
for the scientifically gifted but empathy-driven female.
This challenging and exciting field
appeals to the feminine propensity to protect and nurture—
and the desire to work with living things.
There is an immense literature documenting
male and female differences in choice of vocation.
It also goes without saying that there are a lot of women
who will defy the stereotype of their sex
and gladly enter systematizing fields, free of people, children, or animals—
professions like mechanical engineering, metallurgy, or agronomy.
But the number of men eager to enter these fields is markedly greater.

Back to Math 55 for a moment.
along with many other scholars who write about cognitive sex differences,
would not be surprised to learn that
students who show up in 55 are overwhelmingly male.
The Harvard registrar’s office reports that
a total of 17 women have completed the course since 1990.
Still, the equity activists could be right that
the few women who defy the stereotype and take such a course
have to overcome a “chilly environment.” [???]

I located two female survivors—
Sherry Gong, currently enrolled, and
Kelley Harris, who completed Math 55 with an A last year.
“Did you encounter a hostile environment in that class?” I asked Miss Harris.
She laughed. “I loved my classmates!”
When she once thought of dropping out,
it was her male friends in the course who persuaded her to stay.
Sherry Gong was taken aback
when inquired whether she felt that
women in math were unwelcome or marginalized.
It was as if I had asked whether women had the vote.
“It is 2007!” she reminded me.
Sergei Bernstein, a young man now enrolled, told me,
“We would like to have more girls.”

Professor Emanuel said that
although the discrimination report was ‘widely praised in public,
it was privately deplored and disparaged in the hallways of MIT.’

The research emphasizing the importance of biological differences
in determining women’s and men’s career choices
is not decisive, but it is serious and credible.
So the question arises:

How have so many officials at the NSF and NAS and so many legislators
been persuaded that
we are facing a science crisis
that Title IX enforcement and gender-bias workshops can resolve?

The answer involves a body of feminist research
that purports to prove that
women suffer from “hidden bias.”
This research,
artfully presented with no critics or skeptics present,
can be persuasive.
A brief look at it helps explain the mind-set of the critics and their supporters.
But it is a highly ironic story.
For the three recognized canons of the literature
are, in key respects, travesties of scientific method,
and they have been publicized and promoted in ways that
have ignored elementary standards of transparency and objectivity.
If they are auguries of how the STEM-equity activists
intend to transform the culture of science,
the implications are deeply disquieting.
We begin with the famous, and mysterious, MIT study.

In 1994, 16 senior faculty women, led by biologist Nancy Hopkins,
complained to the administration about
sex discrimination in their various departments.
MIT’s president, Charles Vest,
and the dean of the School of Science, Robert Birgeneau,
dutifully set up a committee to review the complaints.
But rather than bring in outsiders,
they put the protesters (joined by three male administrators)
in charge of investigating their own grievances.

Under Hopkins’s leadership,
the committee produced a 150-page study that found MIT guilty on all counts.
Women, according to the document,
had lower salaries, less laboratory space, and fewer resources.
They felt “invisible” and “marginalized.”
Vest and Birgeneau quickly responded with
generous salary raises, improved lab space, and more equity committees.
The women professed to be satisfied and the case was closed.
The report was deemed “confidential” and “sensitive,”
and to this day it has never been made public.

It is odd that
a single study of postgraduate fellowships at a Swedish university
should play such a prominent role
in a campaign to eliminate ‘hidden bias’ in American universities.

What was released to the press, in March of 1999,
was a brief summary of the report’s findings
along with letters from Vest and Birgeneau admitting guilt.
As The Chronicle of Higher Education reported,
“MIT released a cursory report of the study it conducted,
so it is difficult for outsiders to judge what the gap was between men and women.”

The summary of the report, nevertheless,
created a sensation in the media and in universities for two reasons:
(1) it appeared to be based on hard data, and
(2) it had the full endorsement of MIT’s top administrators.
The New York Times carried the story on the front page under the headline,
“MIT Admits Discrimination Against Female Professors.”
Professor Hopkins was soon everywhere in the press and on April 8, 1999,
was invited to attend an Equal Pay Day event at the White House.
Referring to Hopkins and her team, President Clinton said,
“Together they looked at cold, hard facts
about disparity in everything from lab space to annual salary.”

But cold, hard facts had little to do with it.
After reviewing the available evidence and interviewing some insiders,
University of Alaska psychologist Judith Kleinfeld concluded,
“The MIT report presents no objective evidence whatsoever
to support claims of gender discrimination
in laboratory space, salary, research funds, and other resources.”
Readers are told in the summary report that
women faculty “proved to be underpaid.”
But we also learn that the
“salary data are confidential and were not provided to the committee.”
So on what basis did they conclude there were salary disparities?
Hopkins and the other authors explain,
“Possible inequities in salary are flagged by the committee
from the limited data available to it.”
But “possible” soon became “actual,”
and by the time it reached President Clinton
it had morphed into “cold, hard facts.”

There were other oddities.
The report claimed that the problems confronting women faculty were universal,
but the summary concedes,
“Junior women felt included and supported by their departments.”
Instead of acknowledging that the problem might be generational
and confined to a small group of senior women from three departments,
Hopkins and the other authors of the report claimed that
the junior women were naïve
and simply did not know what was in store for them:
“Each generation of young women began...
by believing that gender discrimination was solved in the previous generation
and would not touch them.”

Mathematics professor Daniel Kleitman,
one of the three males on the Hopkins committee, told the Chronicle that
he “never saw any evidence” of discrimination against women.
He concedes the senior women were unhappy,
and he does not fault the administrators for trying to remedy the situation.
But, as he explained, you can find unhappy professors in all universities.
“I am not sure what the women were experiencing was unique to women,”
he said.

I recently asked Kerry Emanuel,
an MIT professor in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science,
about the report.
He told me that although it was “widely praised in public,
it was privately deplored and disparaged in the hallways of MIT.”
His department was accused of bias, so he expected to see the evidence.
“But it was never made available.”

When a reporter from The Chronicle of Higher Education
asked Mary-Lou Pardue, an MIT biology professor
who was among those who originally complained to the dean,
about all the irregularities and the absence of data, she replied,
“This wasn’t meant to be a study for the rest of the world.
It was meant to be a study for us....
We weren’t trying to prove anything to the world.”

‘We don’t accept biology as destiny,’ says Valian.
‘We vaccinate, we inoculate, we medicate...
I propose we adopt the same attitude
toward biological sex differences.’

But the world thought otherwise.
Vest and Birgeneau gave the impression that
the report presented solid factual evidence of pervasive gender bias.
When a Wall Street Journal editorial faulted the study,
the two sent a letter claiming that the work of their committee had
“successfully identified the root causes of
a fundamental failure in American academia.”
Feminist groups like the National Women’s Law Center
and the American Association of University Women
were electrified and got ready for action.
And action they got.
As a direct result of the MIT report,
the Ford Foundation, along with an anonymous donor,
came forward with grants in excess of $1 million
to fund more equity studies and
to promote more initiatives to fight gender bias in academic science—
and then the NSF followed suit
with its ADVANCE institutional transformation campaign.

In May 1997, the distinguished British journal Nature
published a provocative article titled,
Nepotism and Sexism in Peer-Review.”
The authors, Christine Wenneras and Agnes Wold,
two Swedish scientists from the University of Goteborg,
claimed to have found blatant gender bias
in the peer-review system of the Swedish Medical Research Council.
After reviewing the relevant data,
they concluded that to win a postgraduate science fellowship,
a female applicant had to be at least twice as good as a male applicant.

The Wenneras-Wold article caused a sensation
both in Europe and the United States
and is now a staple in the gender-equity literature.
A recent article in Scientific American referred to it as
the one and only “thorough study of the real-world peer-review process”
and judged its findings “shocking.”
When the NSF polled
19 institutions that had received gender-equity ADVANCE grants,
it asked which materials
“had proved the most effective in their institutional transformation projects?”
The Wenneras-Wold study made it to the NSF short list
of four must-read “top research articles.”
The Shalala/NAS “Beyond Bias” report describes the piece as a “powerful” tool
for educating provosts, department chairs, and search committees about bias.
The charter for the October 17 House subcommittee hearing
gave particular prominence to the Swedish study.

‘At bias-awareness workshops,
physicists and engineers watch skits where
overbearing male faculty ride roughshod
over hapless but intellectually superior female colleagues.

But what does the article actually show?
Wenneras and Wold investigated
the peer-reviewing practices of the Medical Research Council in 1994
after they had both been denied postgraduate fellowships.
When they sought to review the data on which the council’s decisions were based,
the Council refused to grant them access,
insisting the information was confidential.
But the two researchers went to court and won the right to see the data.

The Swedish study, unlike the MIT report, was actually published,
and it presents data and describes its methodology.
But there are serious grounds for skepticism:
once again,
it was a case of women investigating their own complaints;
furthermore, what they concluded seemed a little improbable.
According to their calculations,
to score as well as a man,
a woman had to have the equivalent of
three extra papers in world-class science journals such as Science or Nature
or 20 extra papers in leading specialty journals
such as Radiology or Neuroscience.

I sent the Swedish study to two research psychologists,
Jerre Levy (professor emerita, of Chicago) and
James Steiger (professor and director, Quantitative Methods and Evaluation, Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt)
for their review.
They both immediately zeroed in on a troubling methodological anomaly:
Wenneras and Wold had run separate regressions
for only one productivity variable at a time.
Since it is unlikely that any single variable
adequately characterizes academic productivity,
the obvious approach would have been
to enter several of the productivity variables
into a single regression equation.
In any event,
the dramatic results of
the factor-by-factor approach that Wenneras and Wold used
should have been tested against the more inclusive, realistic approach.

Steiger wrote to Wenneras and Wold requesting copies of the data
so he could review them himself.
Wold wrote back that she would gladly send the data,
except that they had gone missing:
“They were in a computer of a guy at the Statistics department
and I got them on a diskette many years ago
and I am afraid I will not be able to find it anymore.”
Wenneras did not reply at all.

Certainly, researchers lose data.
But these were pretty special data:
The researchers had invested
the substantial time and expense of a lawsuit
to obtain them,
and they were the basis of a highly celebrated study with singular findings.

But even assuming that the research held up,
it is odd that
a single study of postgraduate fellowships at a Swedish university
should play such a prominent role
in a campaign to eliminate “hidden bias” in American universities.
Is it twice as hard for women to receive postgraduate fellowships
in the science departments of Berkeley or the University of Miami?
If it is, would it not be straightforward to demonstrate the problem
through at least one good study—
one that followed customary statistical procedures
and could stand up to peer review?

In fact, the NSF did do a review of its own grant-review process in 1997,
and found no evidence of bias against women.
In 1996, for example,
it approved grants from approximately 30 percent of female applicants
and 29 percent of male applicants.
A formal outside study, done in 2005 by the RAND Corporation—titled
Is there Gender Bias in Federal Grants Programs?” [PDF]—
reached the same conclusion:
we did not find gender differences in federal grant funding outcomes
in this study.”

But unlike the Swedish study,
the RAND study did not make it
to the NSF/NAS list of essential literature on gender bias.
Two other items in the “top four”
are weak statistical studies of marginal issues
that have never been rigorously evaluated.

A final item in the STEM-equity canon is a book by feminist Virginia Valian
that purports to be scientific, but is not.

Most scientists have no idea
of the power and scope of the equity crusade.
The business community and citizens at large
are completely in the dark.
This is a quiet revolution.

Virginia Valian, a psychologist at Hunter College,
is one of the most cited authorities
in the crusade to achieve equity for women in the sciences.
Her book Why So Slow? (MIT Press, 1998)
is indispensable to the movement
because it offers a solution to a vexing problem:
women’s seemingly free but actually self-defeating choices.
Not only do fewer women than men choose to enter the physical sciences,
but even those who do
often give child care and family a higher priority than their male colleagues.
How, in the face of women’s clear tendencies
to choose other careers and more balanced lifestyles,
can one reasonably attribute the scarcity of women in science and engineering
to unconscious bias and sexist discrimination?
Valian showed the way.

Her central claim is that
our male-dominated society constructs and enforces “gender schemas.”
A gender schema is
an accepted system of beliefs about the ways men and women differ
a system that determines what suits each gender.
Writes Valian:
“In white, Western middle-class society,
the gender schema for men includes
being capable of independent, autonomous action…
[and being] assertive, instrumental, and task-oriented.
Men act.
The gender schema for women is different;
it includes
being nurturant, expressive, communal, and concerned about others.”

Valian does not deny that gender schemas have a foundation in biology,
but she insists that culture can intensify or diminish their power and effect.
Our society, she says,
pressures women to indulge their nurturing propensities
while it encourages men to develop
“a strong commitment to earning and prestige,
great dedication to the job, and
an intense desire for achievement.”
All this inevitably results in a permanently unfair advantage for men.

To achieve a gender-fair society,
Valian advocates a concerted attack on conventional gender schemas.
This includes altering the way we raise our children. [!!]
Consider the custom of encouraging girls to play with dolls.
Such early socialization, she says, creates an association between
being female and being nurturing.
Valian concludes,
“Egalitarian parents can bring up their children so that
both boys and girls play with dolls and trucks....
From the standpoint of equality, nothing is more important.”

But what if our daughters are not especially interested in trucks,
as almost any parent can attest
(including me:
when my son recently gave his daughter a toy train to play with,
she placed it in a baby carriage and covered it with a blanket
so it could get some sleep)?
Not a problem, says Valian.


“We don’t accept biology as destiny.... [This is crazy.]
We vaccinate, we inoculate, we medicate....
I propose we adopt the same attitude toward biological sex differences.”

[Feminists are wont to make statements like that.
But when did you ever see a cost analysis on
what the cost to society is
of “not accept[ing] biology as destiny”?

When I was growing up, you frequently heard the aphorism
You can’t fool Mother Nature.”
But that is exactly what the feminists are trying to do,
and get society to pay for it, whatever the cost
(not all of which is financial),
ideally without society even bothering to think about
the cost being due to the feminist’s demands.
The feminists are such megalomaniacs and egomaniacs
that they want what they want,
and expect society to give it to them,
whatever the cost.

And when was the last time you heard that aphorism?]

In other words,

the ubiquitous female propensity to nurture
should be treated as a kind of disorder or disease.

Valian is intent on radically transforming society
to achieve her egalitarian ideals.
She also wants to alter the behavior of successful scientists.
Their obsessive work habits, single-minded dedication,
and “intense desire for achievement,”
not only marginalize women, but also may compromise good science.
She writes,
“If we continue to emphasize and reward always being on the job,
we will never find out whether leading a balanced life
leads to equally good or better scientific work.”

Valian may be a leader in the equity-in-science movement,
but she is not an empirical thinker.
A world where women (and resocialized men) earn Nobel Prizes on flextime
has no relation to reality.
Unfortunately, her outré worldview is not confined to women’s studies.
It is a guiding light for some of the nation’s leading scientific institutions.

Valian’s book is trumpeted on the NSF/NAS “Top Research” list,
and Valian herself has inspired the NSF’s ADVANCE gender-equity program.
In 2001, the NSF awarded Valian and her Hunter colleagues $3.9 million
to develop equity programs and workshops
for the “scientific community at large.”
Should Congress pass the Gender Bias Elimination Act,
which mandates workshops for
university department chairs, members of review panels, and
agency program officers seeking federal funding,
Valian will become
one of the most prominent women in American scientific education.

The NSF has an annual budget of $5.9 billion devoted to
“promoting the progress of science” and “securing the national defense.”
It is not easy to understand how its ADVANCE program
or its deep association with Virginia Valian
is serving those goals.
Alice Hogan, former director of ADVANCE,
explained in a 2005 interview that
the MIT study had been a wake-up call for the NSF.
In the past, she said, the NSF had funded programs
to support the careers of individual women scientists,
but the MIT report persuaded its staff that
“systemic” change was imperative.

Since 2001,
the NSF has given approximately $107 million to 28 institutions of higher learning
to develop transformation projects.
Hunter College, the site of Valian’s $3.9 million program, is one of them.
The University of Michigan has received $3.9 million;
the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, $3.1 million;
the University of Rhode Island, $3.5 million; and
Cornell, $3.3 million.
What are these schools doing with the money?

Some of the funds are being used for relatively innocuous,
possibly even beneficial, projects such as
mentoring programs and conferences.
But there are worrisome programs as well.

Michigan is experimenting with “interactive” theater as a means of
raising faculty consciousness about gender bias.
At special workshops, physicists and engineers watch skits
where overbearing men ride roughshod
over hapless but obviously intellectually superior female colleagues.
The director/writer,
Jeffrey Steiger of the University of Michigan theater program,
explains that the project is inspired by
Brazilian director Augusto Boal’s book Theatre of the Oppressed (1974).
Boal writes,
“I believe that
all the truly revolutionary theatrical groups
should transfer to the people
the means of production in the theater.”
To this end, the Michigan faculty members don’t just watch the plays,
but are encouraged to interact with the cast and even join them on stage.
Some audience members will find the experience
“threatening and overwhelming,”
and Steiger aims to provide them a “safe” context for expressing themselves.

The NSF showcases this program as a “tried and true” success story.
Michigan is not alone in using theater to advance the progress of science.
The University of Puerto Rico at Humacao
devoted some of its NSF-ADVANCE grant to cosponsor performances
of Eve Ensler’s raunchy play “The Vagina Monologues,”
a celebration of women’s intimate anatomy.
The University of Rhode Island lists among its ADVANCE “events”
a production of “The Vagina Monologues,”
along with a visit by Virginia Valian.
Rhode Island change agents, led by psychologist Barb Silver,
are also trying to affect institutional transformation
with a program called TTM—“Transtheoretical Model for Change.”
The program, adapted from one used by clinicians
to help patients overcome bad habits and addictions
such as smoking, overeating, and taking drugs,
aims to break the Rhode Island faculty of its addiction to
“traditional gender assumptions” and sexist behavior.

More mainstream schools are using their ADVANCE funds more conventionally—
to initiate quota programs.
At Cornell, as of 2006,
27 of 51 science and engineering departments had fewer than 20 percent women,
and some had no women at all.
It is using its NSF grant for a program called ACCEL
(Advancing Cornell’s Commitment to Excellence and Leadership),
dedicated to filling science faculty with “more than” 30 percent women
in time for the university’s sesquicentennial in 2015.

Sensible people—
emphatically including the no-nonsense types who become scientists and engineers—
will be inclined to dismiss the ADVANCE programs,
the enthusiastic promotion of weak and tendentious bias studies, and
the blustering senators and congressmen,
as an inconsequential sideshow in
the onward march of mighty American science and technology.
The NSF, like any government agency with a budget of $6 billion,
can be expected to spill a few million here and there
on silly projects and on appeasing noisy constituent groups.
Unfortunately, the STEM-equity campaign is not going to rest
with a few scientific bridges-to-nowhere.

For one thing, the Title IX compliance reviews are already underway.
In the spring of 2007,
the Department of Education evaluated the Columbia University physics department.
Cosmology professor Amber Miller, talking to Science magazine,
described the process as a “waste of time.”
She was required to make an inventory of all the equipment in the lab
and indicate whether women were allowed to use various items.
“I wanted to say, leave me alone, and let me get my work done.”
But Miller and her fellow scientists are not going to be left alone.
Most academic institutions are dependent on federal funding,
and scientists like Miller and her colleagues can be easily hammered.

Equally ominous is the fact that the NSF and NAS—
America’s most prestigious and influential institutions of science—
have already made significant concessions to the STEM-equity ideology.
So have MIT and Harvard. Can Cal-Tech be far behind?

The power and glory of science and engineering is that
they are, adamantly, evidence-based.
But the evidence of gender bias in math and science is flimsy at best,
and the evidence that
women are relatively disinclined to pursue these fields at the highest levels
is serious.
When the bastions of science
pay obsequious attention to the flimsy and
turn a blind eye to the serious,
it is hard to maintain the view that
the science enterprise is somehow immune to
the enthusiasms that have corrupted other, supposedly “softer” academic fields.

Few academic scientists know anything about the equity crusade.
Most have no idea of its power, its scope, and the threats
that they may soon be facing.
The business community and citizens at large are completely in the dark.
This is a quiet revolution.
Its weapons are government reports that are rarely seen;
amendments to federal bills that almost no one reads;
small, unnoticed, but dramatically consequential changes
in the regulations regarding government grants; and
congressional hearings attended mostly by true believers.

American scientific excellence is a precious national resource.
It is the foundation of our economy and of the nation’s health and safety.
Norman Augustine, retired CEO of Lockheed Martin, and
Burton Richter, Nobel laureate in physics,
once pointed out that MIT alone—its faculty, alumni, and staff—
started more than 5,000 companies in the past 50 years.
Will an academic science that is
quota-driven, gender-balanced,
cooperative rather than competitive,
and less time-consuming
produce anything like these results?
So far, no one in Congress has even thought to ask.

Postfeminism and Other Fairy Tales
by Kate Zernike
New York Times Week in Review, 2008-03-16

Many Potential Leaders of Tomorrow Reject the Role
By Laura Sessions Stepp
Washington Post, 2008-03-27

[What a curiously worded headline.]

Ruthlessness and Grit Seen in Clinton’s Style
New York Times, 2008-05-05

[Its beginning:]

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is waving her fists across Indiana,
signing autographs on boxing gloves.

“We need a president who’s a fighter again,”
Mrs. Clinton said at a rally on Thursday,
adding that the next president must understand what it is like
to “get knocked down and get back up: that’s the story of America, right?”

In recent days,
Mrs. Clinton has chided the experts for “counting me out”
and Senator Barack Obama for his inability to “close the deal”
and declared that no one was going to make her quit.
“She makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy,”
North Carolina’s governor, Michael F. Easley, said in endorsing her,
and a union leader in Portage, Ind.,
praised her “testicular fortitude.”

This kind of language and pugilistic imagery, however,
also evokes the baggage
that makes Mrs. Clinton such a provocative political figure.
For as much as a willingness to “do what it takes” and “die hard”
are marketable commodities in politics,
they can also yield to less flattering qualities,
plenty of which have been ascribed to her over the years.
Just as supporters praise her “toughness” and “tenacity,”
critics also describe her as “divisive,” “a dirty fighter” or
“willing to do anything to win.”

[Is this the way a lady behaves?
It surely isn’t the pre-feminism “portrait of a lady.”

“A woman with balls.”
Sounds like the very model of all too many of today’s women,
as the feminist-dominated government, culture, and some parents
try to shape them that way.
And they wonder why men aren’t jumping at the chance to marry them.]

The Uneven Playing Field
New York Times Magazine, 2008-05-11

[The teaser for this article on the NYT index web page; emphasis is added.]

We want girls to have as many opportunities in sports as boys.
But can we live with the greater rate of injuries they suffer?
Janelle Pierson has had two A.C.L. operations.

A personal reminisce:

Back in the 1950s, we were told that
a principal reason for fighting Communism and the USSR was that
“If the Communists win
they will put all of our women to work
and put our children in government-run nurseries.”
In the 1950s that seemed to be a pretty scary scenario,
scary enough to motivate opposing Communism and the USSR.
(Not that that was the only reason,
nor necessarily even one of the reasons
that the elite favored fighting Communism then,
but it was certainly one of the rationales advanced to the public.)

But while most American men
were busy fighting Communism in the Cold War,
in part to prevent that from happening,
some American women were busy working behind our backs
to make precisely that scenario a reality.
And who were the leaders of this cultural and social revolution?
Well, I’m certainly not a historian of feminism,
but five that had great visibility
as leading theoreticians, exponents, and advocates of feminism were

Betty Friedan (who had an explicitly Marxist background)
Andrea Dworkin
Gloria Steinem
Bella Abzug
Erica Jong

(by the way, all of whom are Jewish).

Some others who were either slightly less visible or came later on the scene
(but also all of whom are Jewish) are

Susan Brownmiller
Eve Ensler
Phyllis Chesler
Linda Hirshman

(See also the this list,
which includes (gasp) Judy Blume and perhaps some inaccuracies.)

So, Russian men may not be ruling America today,
but the radical cultural ideas that were advanced by Communists
in many cases are.
One wonders why George Bush inveighs against “extremists” in Islam
while he ignores those in America, and in his own government
(like the continued support for a vastly expanded role for Title IX).

Germany Abuzz at Racy Novel of Sex and Hygiene
New York Times, 2008-06-06

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The subject [female empowerment] has struck a nerve here,
catching a wave of popular interest in
renewing the debate over women’s roles and image in society.

With its female chancellor, Angela Merkel, and progressive reputation,
Germany would hardly seem to be thirsting for such a discussion.
Germany has an old-fashioned tendency
to expect women to choose between careers and motherhood
rather than trying to accommodate both.

Last year, another German television personality
provoked a storm of controversy about the role of women
by suggesting that
they should stay home to raise their children,
and then referring approvingly to
the Nazi policy of encouraging German women to have large families.

A New Frontier for Title IX: Science
New York Times, 2008-07-15

As Barriers Disappear, Some Gender Gaps Widen
New York Times, 2008-09-09

When men and women take personality tests,
some of the old Mars-Venus stereotypes keep reappearing.
On average,
women are
more cooperative, nurturing, cautious and emotionally responsive.

Men tend to be
more competitive, assertive, reckless and emotionally flat.

Clear differences appear in early childhood and never disappear.

Palin is showing our girls a new feminist model
By Meghan Cox Gurdon
DC Examiner, 2008-09-11

[An excerpt; paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

When I was a girl in the late sixties and early seventies,
there were no women like Palin.
For sure they existed – more on that later –
but for us the avatars were supposed to be women like
Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan.

Wrathful feminist views of men and marriage and, ugh, offspring,
were the prevailing narrative of our girlhoods.

If teenagers of an earlier generation enjoyed speculating about
what they’d wear on their “special day” and
what they’d name their future sons and daughters,
girls in the 1970s talked big about getting their tubes tied
so they would be “free.”


The girls of my era were taught disdain for traditional family life
and the compromises of nuptial normalcy.

[“Were taught”?
One wonders just who was doing that teaching, and what their motivations were.]


Marriage was slavery,
divorce was liberation,
children were a type of anvil around the necks of women
who might otherwise be wearing cool sunglasses and self-actualizing.

[Is it any wonder that subsequent social life has been so dysfunctional?]


Gender Differences at Critical Transitions
in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty

Committee on Gender Differences
in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty;
Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine;
National Research Council
June 2009

Google it

Baseless Bias and the New Second Sex
By Christina Hoff Sommers
The American, the Journal of the AEI, 2009-06-10

Claims of bias against women in academic science
have been greatly exaggerated.
men are becoming the second sex in American higher education.

In 2006 the National Academy of Sciences released
Beyond Bias And Barriers:
Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering
which found
“pervasive unexamined gender bias” against women in academic science.
Donna Shalala, a former Clinton administration cabinet secretary,
chaired the committee that wrote the report.
When she spoke at a congressional hearing in October 2007,
she warned that strong measures would be needed to improve
the “hostile climate” women face in university science.
This “crisis,” as she called it,
“clearly calls for a transformation of academic institutions . . .
Our nation’s future depends on it.”

The study was controversial from the beginning.
John Tierney of the New York Times interviewed several researchers
who dismissed it as politically driven propaganda—
the “triumph of politics over science.”
Linda Gottfredson of the University of Delaware said,
“I am embarrassed that this female-dominated panel of scientists
would ignore decades of scientific evidence
to justify an already disproved conclusion, namely, that
the sexes do not differ in career-relevant interests and abilities.”

This past Tuesday the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released
a non-political, objective study of women in academic science entitled
Gender Difference at Critical Transitions
in the Careers of Science, Engineering and Mathematics Faculty
The study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF)
and mandated by Congress.
It contradicts key findings of Beyond Bias and Barriers.
According to its executive summary:
Our survey findings do indicate that,
at many critical transition points in their academic careers
(e.g., hiring for tenure-track and tenure positions and promotions)
women appear to have fared as well as or better than men...
These findings are in contrast to
the COSEPUP [Shalala] committee’s general conclusions,
that “women who are interested in science and engineering careers
are lost at every educational transition”
the “evaluation criterion contain
arbitrary and subjective components that disadvantage women.”

To give one typical finding, in the years studied, 2004 and 2005,
women accounted for
approximately 20 percent of applicants for positions in mathematics,
but were 28 percent of those interviewed
and 32 percent of those who received job offers.
Furthermore, once women attained jobs in math or science programs,
their teaching loads and research resources were comparable to men’s.
Female full professors were paid, on average, 8 percent less than males.
But the committee attributed this to the fact that
the senior male professors had more years of experience.
There were no differences in salaries for
male and female assistant and associate professors.
“I don’t think we would have anticipated that
in so many areas that
there would have been such a balance in opportunities for men and women,”
said Dr. Sally Shaywitz, Yale University research scientist
and co-chair of the committee that wrote the report.

The new study does not claim that women have achieved parity with men.
It found, for example, that
women with Ph.D.s in math and science are far less likely than men
to pursue a career at a research-intensive university.
Why should that be?
The report does not say,
but suggests it would be an important question to pursue.
In fact, there is now a lively and growing literature on gender and vocation.
While some scholars contend that
“unconscious bias” and persistent stereotypes are primary reasons for
the paucity of women in the high echelons of math and science,
others, perhaps a majority, suggest that
men and women, on average,
have different career interests and propensities.
(AEI Press will soon be publishing The Science on Women and Science,
a collection of articles by scholars who argue different sides of this issue.)

The unfortunate news is that
this temperate, well-reasoned, and objective new NAS study
has come after the Shalala/Bias and Barriers report
has already accomplished its purpose.
Many members of Congress from both parties
(especially Republican Congressman Vernon Ehlers
and Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Barbara Boxer)
were electrified by the Bias and Barriers report—
as well as by the volumes of highly tendentious advocacy research
that preceded it (see my “Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like a Man?”).
Congress has already authorized NSF
to spend millions of dollars on anti-bias programs,
and instructed federal agencies such as NASA and the Department of Education
to begin stringent Title IX gender equity reviews
of science programs in the nation’s universities.
[She might also have noted
the $50 million program Harvard put in place to advantage women in science,
as penance for Larry Summers’s almost surely true but politically incorrect statement.]

These expensive and aggressive policies and programs were put in place
without any genuine evidence that
sexist bias against women in academic science is actually a problem.

Members of Congress who are concerned about gender equity
should take a look at what is happening in the academy as a whole.
University of Michigan economist Mark Perry,
using Department of Education data,
has prepared this useful chart:

Perry shows that
men are now on the wrong side of the degree gap
at every stage of education.

Here are his figures for the class of 2009:

Associate’s degrees: 167 for women for every 100 for men.

Bachelor’s degrees: 142 for women for every 100 for men.

Master’s degrees: 159 for women for every 100 for men.

Professional degrees: 104 for women for every 100 for men.

Doctoral degrees: 107 for women for every 100 for men.

Degrees at all levels: 148 for women for every 100 for men.

Education Department projections though 2017 show
a worsening picture for men with every passing year.
If there is a crisis in the academy that merits a congressional investigation,
it is not that women Ph.D.s are being shortchanged
in math and science hiring and tenure committees,
for that is not true.
It is that
men are quickly becoming the second sex in American education.

Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship
By Christina Hoff Sommers
The Chronicle [of Higher Education] Review, 2009-06-29

Harder to kill than a vampire.”
That is what the sociologist Joel Best calls a bad statistic.
[in this; in book context]
But, as I have discovered over the years,
among false statistics the hardest of all to slay
are those promoted by feminist professors.
Consider what happened recently
when I sent an e-mail message to the Berkeley law professor Nancy K.D. Lemon pointing out that
the highly praised textbook that she edited,
Domestic Violence Law (second edition, Thomson/West, 2005) [2009 edition],
contained errors.

[The Sommers-Lemon debate is covered here.]

Her reply began:
“I appreciate and share
your concern for veracity in all of our scholarship.
However, I would expect a colleague
who is genuinely concerned about such matters
to contact me directly
and give me a chance to respond
before launching a public attack on me and my work,
and then contacting me after the fact.”

I confess: I had indeed publicly criticized Lemon’s book,
in campus lectures and in a post on FeministLawProfessors.com.
I had always thought that that was the usual practice of intellectual argument.
Disagreement is aired, error corrected, truth affirmed.
Indeed, I was moved to write to her because of
the deep consternation of law students who had attended my lectures:
If authoritative textbooks contain errors,
how are students to know whether they are being educated or indoctrinated?
Lemon’s book has been in law-school classrooms for years.

One reason that feminist scholarship contains hard-to-kill falsehoods is that
reasonable, evidence-backed criticism is regarded as a personal attack.
Lemon’s Domestic Violence Law
is organized as a conventional law-school casebook —
a collection of judicial opinions, statutes, and articles
selected, edited, and commented upon by the author.
The first selection, written by Cheryl Ward Smith
(no institutional affiliation is given),
offers students a historical perspective on domestic-violence law.
According to Ward:
“The history of women’s abuse
began over 2,700 years ago in the year 753 BC.
It was during the reign of Romulus of Rome
that wife abuse was accepted and condoned
under the Laws of Chastisement. …
The laws permitted a man to beat his wife with a rod or switch
so long as its circumference was no greater than
the girth of the base of the man’s right thumb.
The law became commonly know as ‘The Rule of Thumb.’
These laws established a tradition
which was perpetuated in English Common Law in most of Europe.”

Where to begin?
How about with the fact that Romulus of Rome never existed.
He is a figure in Roman mythology —the son of Mars, nursed by a wolf.
Problem 2: The phrase “rule of thumb” did not originate with
any law about wife beating,
nor has anyone ever been able to locate any such law.
It is now widely regarded as a myth, even among feminist professors.

A few pages later, in a selection by Joan Zorza, a domestic-violence expert, students read,
“The March of Dimes found that
women battered during pregnancy
have more than twice the rate of miscarriages
and give birth to more babies with more defects
than women who may suffer from any immunizable illness or disease.”
Not true.
When I recently read Zorza’s assertion to Richard P. Leavitt,
director of science information at the March of Dimes, he replied,
“That is a total error on the part of the author.
There was no such study.”
The myth started in the early 1990s, he explained,
and resurfaces every few years.

Zorza also informs readers that
“between 20 and 35 percent
of women seeking medical care in emergency rooms in America
are there
because of domestic violence.”
Studies by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
and the Bureau of Justice Statistics,
an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice,
indicate that the figure is closer to 1 percent.

Few students would guess that the Lemon book is anything less than reliable.
The University of California at Berkeley’s online faculty profile of Lemon
hails it as the “premiere” text of the genre.
It is part of a leading casebook series, published by Thomson/West,
whose board of academic advisers,
prominently listed next to the title page,
includes many eminent law professors.

I mentioned these problems in my message to Lemon. She replied:
“I have looked into your assertions and
requested documentation from Joan Zorza
regarding the March of Dimes study
and the statistics on battered women in emergency rooms.
She provided both of these promptly.”

If that’s the case, Zorza and Lemon
might share their documentation with Leavitt, of the March of Dimes,
who is emphatic that it does not exist.
They might also contact
the Centers for Disease Control statistician Janey Hsiao,
who wrote to me that
“among ED [Emergency Department] visits made by females,
the percent of having physical abuse by spouse or partner is
0.02 percent in 2003 and 0.01 percent in 2005.”

Here is what Lemon says about
Cheryl Ward Smith’s essay on Romulus and the rule of thumb:
“I made a few minor editorial changes in the Smith piece
so that it is more accurate.
However, overall it appeared to be correct.”
A few minor editorial changes?
Students deserve better. So do women victimized by violence.

Feminist misinformation is pervasive.
In their eye-opening book,
Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies
(Lexington Books, 2003),
two once-committed professors of women’s studies,
Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, describe
the “sea of propaganda” that overwhelms the contemporary feminist classroom.
The formidable Christine Rosen (formerly Stolba),
in her 2002 report on the five leading women’s-studies textbooks,
found them rife with falsehoods, half-truths, and
“deliberately misleading sisterly sophistries.”

Are there serious scholars in women’s studies? Yes, of course.
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, an anthropologist at the University of California at Davis;
Janet Zollinger Giele, a sociologist at Brandeis; and
Anne Mellor, a literary scholar at UCLA, to name just three,
are models of academic excellence and integrity.
But they are the exception.
Lemon’s book typifies the departmental mind-set.

Consider The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World (2008),
by the feminist scholar Joni Seager,
chair of the Hunter College geography department.
Now in its fourth edition, Seager’s atlas
was named “reference book of the year” by the American Library Association
when it was published.
“Nobody should be without this book,”
says the feminist icon Gloria Steinem.
“A wealth of fascinating information,” enthuses The Washington Post.
Fascinating, maybe.
But the information is misleading
and, at least in one instance, flat-out false.

One color-coded map illustrates how women are kept “in their place”
by restrictions on their mobility, dress, and behavior.
Somehow the United States comes out looking as bad in this respect
as Somalia, Uganda, Yemen, Niger, and Libya. [!!]
All are coded with the same shade of green
to indicate places where “patriarchal assumptions” operate
in “potent combination with fundamentalist religious interpretations.”
Seager’s logic?
She notes that in parts of Uganda,
a man can claim an unmarried woman as his wife by raping her.
The United States gets the same low rating on Seager’s charts
because, she notes,
“State legislators enacted 301 anti-abortion measures between 1995 and 2001.”
Never mind that the Ugandan practice is barbaric,
that U.S. abortion law is exceptionally liberal among the nations of the world,
and that the activism and controversy
surrounding the issue of abortion in the United States
is a sign of a vigorous free democracy working out its disagreements.

On another map,
the United States gets the same rating for domestic violence
as Uganda and Haiti.
Seager backs up that verdict
with that erroneous and ubiquitous emergency-room factoid:
“22 percent-35 percent of women who visit a hospital emergency room do so
because of domestic violence.”

The critical work of 21st-century feminism will be
to help women in the developing world, especially in Muslim societies,
in their struggle for basic rights.
False depictions of the United States as an oppressive “patriarchy”
are a ludicrous distraction.
If American women are as oppressed as Ugandan women,
then American feminists would be right to focus on their domestic travails
and let the Ugandan women fend for themselves.

All books have mistakes, so why pick on the feminists?
My complaint with feminist research is not so much
that the authors make mistakes;
it is that the mistakes are impervious to reasoned criticism.
They do not get corrected.

[I hate to break this to you, Christina, but some math books have the same problem.
Reference many of the numerous books of Serge Lang.]

The authors are passionately committed to the proposition that
American women are oppressed and under siege.

The scholars seize and hold on for dear life to
any piece of data that appears to corroborate their dire worldview.
At the same time,
any critic who attempts to correct the false assumptions is dismissed as
a backlasher and an anti-feminist crank.

Why should it matter if a large number of professors
think and say a lot of foolish and intemperate things?
Here are three reasons to be concerned:
  1. False assertions, hyperbole, and crying wolf
    undermine the credibility and effectiveness of feminism.
    The United States, and the world, would greatly benefit from
    an intellectually responsible, reality-based women’s movement.
  2. Over the years,
    the feminist fictions have made their way into public policy.
    They travel from the women’s-studies textbooks
    to women’s advocacy groups
    and then into news stories.
    Soon after, they are cited by concerned political leaders.
    President Obama recently issued an executive order establishing
    a White House Council on Women and Girls.
    As he explained,
    “The purpose of this council is to ensure that
    American women and girls
    are treated fairly in all matters of public policy.”
    He and Congress are also poised to use
    the celebrated Title IX gender-equity law
    to counter discrimination not only in college athletics
    but also in college math and science programs, where, it is alleged,
    women face a “chilly climate.”
    The president and members of Congress can cite
    decades of women’s-studies scholarship
    that presents women as the have-nots of our society.
    Never mind that this is largely no longer true.
    Nearly every fact that could be marshaled to justify
    the formation of the White House Council on Women and Girls
    or the new focus of Title IX application
    was shaped by scholarly merchants of hype
    like Professors Lemon and Seager.
  3. Finally, as a philosophy professor of almost 20 years,
    and as someone who respects
    rationality, objective scholarship, and intellectual integrity,
    I find it altogether unacceptable
    for distinguished university professors and prestigious publishers
    to disseminate falsehoods.
    It is offensive in itself, even without considering the harmful consequences. Obduracy in the face of reasonable criticism
    may be inevitable in some realms, such as partisan politics,
    but in academe it is an abuse of the privileges of professorship.

“Thug,” “parasite,” “dangerous,” a “female impersonator” —
those are some of the labels applied to me
when I exposed specious feminist statistics
in my 1994 book Who Stole Feminism?
(Come to think of it,
none of my critics contacted me directly with their concerns
before launching their public attacks.)
According to Susan Friedman, of the University of Wisconsin at Madison,
“Sommers’ diachronic discourse is easily unveiled as
synchronic discourse in drag. …
She practices … metonymic historiography.”
That one hurt!
But my views, as well as my metonymic historiography,
are always open to correction.
So I’ll continue to follow the work of the academic feminists —
to criticize it when it is wrong, and to learn from it when it is right.

A domestic violence victim
by Ned Holstein and Glenn Sacks
Washington Times Op-Ed, 2009-07-14

Police recently concluded that former NFL star Steve McNair was fatally shot in his sleep by girlfriend Sahel Kazemi in a murder-suicide. Yet while there are more than 10,000 media entries on Google News for Steve McNair, only a few of them even mention the phrase domestic violence.

Violence by women against their male partners is often ignored or not recognized as domestic violence. Law enforcement, the judicial system, the media and the domestic-violence establishment are still stuck in the outdated “man as perpetrator/woman as victim” conception of domestic violence.

Yet more than 200 studies have found that women initiate at least as much violence against their male partners as vice versa. Men account for about a third of domestic-violence injuries and deaths. Research shows women often compensate for their lack of physical strength by employing weapons and the element of surprise -- just as Miss Kazemi is thought to have done.

The most recent large-scale study of domestic violence was conducted by Harvard researchers and published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study, which surveyed 11,000 men and women, found that, according to both men’s and women’s accounts, 50 percent of the violence in their relationships was reciprocal (involving both parties). In those cases, the women were more likely to have been the first to strike. Moreover, when the violence was one-sided, both women and men said women were the perpetrators about 70 percent of the time.

New research from Deborah Capaldi shows the most dangerous domestic-violence scenario for both women and men is that of reciprocal violence, particularly if that violence is initiated by women. Moreover, children who witness their mothers assaulting their fathers are just as likely to assault their intimate partners when they are adults as those who saw their fathers assault their mothers.

There are solutions to protect all parties affected by domestic violence:
  • Just as we’ve properly stigmatized men who hit women, we need to encourage women not to attack their men. Ms. Capaldi says she thinks the best way for women to be safe is not to initiate violence against their male partners. “The question of initiation of violence is a crucial one .... much DV is mutual, and initiations -- even that seem minor -- may lead to escalation,” she says. Ms. Capaldi’s research found that a young woman’s domestic violence was just as predictive of her male partner’s future domestic violence as the man’s own past domestic violence.
  • When safe, the domestic-violence system needs to treat violent couples as violent couples, instead of shoehorning them into the “man as perp/woman as victim” model. Counseling services for violent couples are rare. Domestic-violence author and authority Lonnie R. Hazelwood says the misguided domestic-violence establishment “has been very effective in passing laws to prohibit couples counseling and eliminate programs which use gender-inclusive strategies.”
  • Establish services and help for male domestic-violence victims. Denise Hines of Clark University found that when an abused man called the police, the police were more likely to arrest him than to arrest his abusive female partner. This is partly the result of primary aggressor laws, which encourage police to discount who initiated and committed the violence but instead look at other factors that make them likelier to arrest men. When the men in Ms. Hines’ study tried calling domestic-violence hot lines, 64 percent were told the hot lines helped only women, and more than half were referred to programs for male domestic-violence perpetrators.
  • Work to ensure that male domestic-violence victims will not lose their children in custody proceedings. Ms. Hines found that the biggest reason male domestic-violence victims hesitate to leave their wives/girlfriends is concern for their children. If they leave, their children are left unprotected in the hands of a violent mother. If they take their children, when they’re found, the children will be taken away and given to the mother. Moreover, the men probably would lose custody of their children in the divorce/custody proceeding anyway, again leaving their children in harm’s way.

Perhaps none of these policies would have saved Mr. McNair. However, domestic violence by women isn’t rare, it isn’t trivial, and ignoring it harms couples and their children.

Dr. Ned Holstein is a public health specialist with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the founder of Fathers & Families. Glenn Sacks is the organization’s executive director. Their Web site is www.FathersandFamiles.org.


Women Making Gains on Faculty at Harvard
New York Times, 2010-03-13


Since Dr. Summers’s resignation in 2006,
Harvard has also poured millions of dollars into
child care centers and family-friendly programs for the faculty —
including research-enabling grants
that let junior faculty members take their babies and nannies [!!] on field trips.

[Good grief!
Just how cost-effective is that?]


In his now-infamous remarks, at a conference in January 2005,
Dr. Summers said
“there are issues of intrinsic aptitude,
and particularly of the variability of aptitude,”
which he said are reinforced by
“lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination.”


“Different departments are at different points,”
said Elena M. Kramer, a biology professor.
“In biology, where women earn half the Ph.D.’s,
it’s not so hard to hire women.
You don’t need any hand-wringing;
if you’re doing a good search, you’ll get women.
In physics, we need to work on
getting more young women into the field as undergraduates.”

[Precisely why is it that
“In physics, we need to work on
getting more young women into the field as undergraduates.”?
Why the quota system?
If women prefer biology to physics, as they vote with their feet,
why not let their preferences go unaffected?]

Daring to Discuss Women in Science
New York Times, 2010-06-08

The House of Representatives has passed what I like to think of as Larry’s Law.
The official title of this legislation is
Fulfilling the potential of women in academic science and engineering,”
but nothing did more to empower its advocates than
the controversy over a speech by Lawrence H. Summers
when he was president of Harvard.

This proposed law, if passed by the Senate,
would require the White House science adviser
to oversee regular “workshops to enhance gender equity.”
At the workshops,
to be attended by researchers who receive federal money
and by the heads of science and engineering departments at universities,
participants would be given before-and-after “attitudinal surveys”
and would take part in
“interactive discussions or other activities that increase the awareness of
the existence of gender bias.”

I’m all in favor of women fulfilling their potential in science,
but I feel compelled, at the risk of being shipped off to one of these workshops,
to ask a couple of questions:

1) Would it be safe during the “interactive discussions” for someone to mention
the new evidence supporting Dr. Summers’s controversial hypothesis
about differences in the sexes’ aptitude for math and science?

2) How could these workshops reconcile the “existence of gender bias”
with careful studies that show that
female scientists fare as well as, if not better than,
their male counterparts in receiving academic promotions and research grants?

Each of these questions is complicated enough to warrant a column,
so I’ll take them one at a time,
starting this week with the issue of sex differences.

When Dr. Summers raised the issue
to fellow economists and other researchers at a conference in 2005,
his hypothesis was caricatured in the press as
a revival of the old notion that “girls can’t do math.”
But Dr. Summers said no such thing.
He acknowledged that there were many talented female scientists
and discussed ways to eliminate the social barriers they faced.

Yet even if all these social factors were eliminated, he hypothesized,
the science faculty composition at an elite school like Harvard
might still be skewed by a biological factor:
the greater variability observed among men in intelligence test scores and various traits.
Men and women might, on average, have equal mathematical ability,
but there could still be disproportionately more men
with very low or very high scores.
[I.e., a larger standard deviation for men.
In fact, boys do have both a higher mean and larger standard deviation on the 2011 Math SAT:
Boys: Mean=531, SD=119
Girls: Mean=500, SD=113]

These extremes often don’t matter much because relatively few people are involved,
leaving the bulk of men and women clustered around the middle.
But a tenured physicist at a leading university, Dr. Summers suggested,
might well need skills and traits found in only one person in 10,000:
the top 0.01 percent of the population,
a tiny group that would presumably include more men
because it’s at the extreme right tail of the distribution curve.

“I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong,”
Dr. Summers told the economists,
expressing the hope that gender imbalances could be rectified
simply by eliminating social barriers.
But he added,
“My guess is that there are some very deep forces here
that are going to be with us for a long time.”

Dr. Summers was pilloried for even suggesting the idea,
and the critics took up his challenge to refute the hypothesis.
Some have claimed he was proved wrong by recent reports of girls closing the gender gap on math scores in the United States and other countries.
[Not by much, according to the 2011 SAT:
1972: Boys:527 Girls:489 Diff:38
2011: Boys:531 Girls:500 Diff:30]

But even if those reports (which have been disputed) are accurate,
they involve closing the gap only for average math scores —
not for the extreme scores that Dr. Summers was discussing.

Some scientists and advocates for gender equity have argued that
the remaining gender gap in extreme scores is rapidly shrinking and will disappear.
It was called “largely an artifact of changeable sociocultural factors”
last year by two researchers at the University of Wisconsin,
Janet S. Hyde and Janet E. Mertz.
They noted evidence of the gap narrowing and concluded,
“Thus, there is every reason to believe that
it will continue to narrow in the future.”

But some of the evidence for the disappearing gender gap
involved standardized tests that aren’t sufficiently difficult
to make fine distinctions among the brighter students.
These tests, like the annual ones required in American public schools,
are limited by what’s called the ceiling effect:
If you’re measuring people in a room with a six-foot ceiling,
you can’t distinguish among the ones taller than six feet.

Now a team of psychologists at Duke University has looked at
the results of tests with more headroom.
In an article in a forthcoming issue of the journal Intelligence,
they analyze the test scores of students in the United States
who took college admissions tests while they were still in the seventh grade.
As part of an annual talent search since 1981,
the SAT and ACT tests have been given to more than 1.6 million gifted seventh graders,
with roughly equal numbers of boys and girls participating.

The Duke researchers —
Jonathan Wai, Megan Cacchio, Martha Putallaz and Matthew C. Makel —
focused on the extreme right tail of the distribution curve:
people ranking in the top 0.01 percent of the general population,
which for a seventh grader means scoring above 700 on the SAT math test.
In the early 1980s, there were 13 boys for every girl in that group,
but by 1991 the gender gap had narrowed to four to one,
presumably because of sociocultural factors
like encouragement and instruction in math offered to girls.

Since then, however, the math gender gap hasn’t narrowed,
despite the continuing programs to encourage girls.
The Duke researchers report that
there are still four boys for every girl
at the extreme right tail of the scores for the SAT math test.
The boy-girl ratio has also remained fairly constant,
at about three to one,
at the right tail of the ACT tests of both math and science reasoning.
Among the 19 students who got a perfect score on the ACT science test in the past two decades,
18 were boys.

Meanwhile, the seventh-grade girls outnumbered the boys at the right tail
of tests measuring verbal reasoning and writing ability.
The Duke researchers report in Intelligence,
“Our data clearly show that there are sex differences in cognitive abilities
in the extreme right tail,
with some favoring males and some favoring females.”

The researchers say it’s impossible to predict
how long these math and science gender gaps will last.
But given the gaps’ stability for two decades, the researchers conclude,
“Thus, sex differences in abilities in the extreme right tail
should not be dismissed as no longer part of the explanation for
the dearth of women in math-intensive fields of science.”

Other studies have shown that these differences in extreme test scores correlate with later achievements in science and academia. Even when you consider only members of an elite group like the top percentile of the seventh graders on the SAT math test, someone at the 99.9 level is more likely than someone at the 99.1 level to get a doctorate in science or to win tenure at a top university.

Of course, a high score on a test is hardly the only factor important for a successful career in science, and no one claims that the right-tail disparity is the sole reason for the relatively low number of female professors in math-oriented sciences. There are other potentially more important explanations, both biological and cultural, including possible social bias against women.

But before we accept Congress’s proclamation of bias, before we start re-educating scientists at workshops, it’s worth taking a hard look at the evidence of bias against female scientists. That will be the subject of another column.

Legislation Won’t Close Gender Gap in Sciences
New York Times, 2010-06-15


Elite Women Put a New Spin on an Old Debate
New York Times, 2012-06-22, page A1


Dr Matt Taylor’s shirt made me cry, too – with rage at his abusers
An astrophysicist who deserves our applause has been pilloried in his moment of triumph
by Boris Johnson
Telegraph (U.K.), 2014-11-16


Why was he [Matt Taylor] forced into this humiliation? Because he was subjected to an unrelenting tweetstorm of abuse. He was bombarded across the internet with a hurtling dustcloud of hate, orchestrated by lobby groups and politically correct media organisations.

And so I want, naturally, to defend this blameless man. And as for all those who have monstered him and convicted him in the kangaroo court of the web – they should all be ashamed of themselves.

Yes, I suppose some might say that his Hawaii shirt was a bit garish, a bit of an eyeful. But the man is not a priest, for heaven’s sake. He is a space scientist with a fine collection of tattoos, and if you are an extrovert space scientist, that is the kind of shirt that you are allowed to wear.

As for the design of the garment, I have studied it as closely as the photos will allow, and I can’t see what all the fuss is about. I suppose there are women with long flowing hair and a certain amount of décolletage. But let’s not mince our words: there are no nipples; there are no buttocks; there is not even an exposed midriff, as far as I can see.

It’s the hypocrisy of it all that irritates me. Here is Kim Kardashian – a heroine and idol to some members of my family – deciding to bust out all over the place, and good for her. No one seeks to engulf her in a tweetstorm of rage. But why is she held to be noble and pure, while Dr Taylor is attacked for being vulgar and tasteless?

I think his critics should go to the National Gallery and look at the Rokeby Venus by Velázquez. Or look at the stuff by Rubens. Are we saying that these glorious images should be torn from the walls?

What are we all – a bunch of Islamist maniacs who think any representation of the human form is an offence against God? This is the 21st century, for goodness’ sake. And if you ask yourself why so few have come to the defence of the scientist, the answer is that no one dares.

No one wants to take on the rage of the web – by which people use social media to externalise their own resentments and anxieties, often anonymously and with far more vehemence than they really intend. No one wants to dissent – and no wonder our politics sometimes feels so sterilised and homogenised.

There must be room in our world for eccentricity, even if it offends the prudes, and room for the vague other-worldliness that often goes with genius. Dr Taylor deserves the applause of our country, and those who bash him should hang their own heads and apologise.