Sometimes, when someone “just isn’t that into them,” men are slow to take the hint. Memo to American men: black, white, Republican, Democrat: Barack Obama isn’t into you at all.
But Obama does love the ladies! Let us count a few of the many ways.
In March 2010 he instituted the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Seven offices and coordinating committees identifying women’s health projects that deserve full funding will have unlimited budgets, i.e. “such sums as may be necessary” (ka-ching!) to identify and promote women’s health projects needing federal funding. The Act mentions “breast” 42 times, but “prostate” not once. You’d almost think men lived longer than women!
Men can’t say they were blindsided. One of Obama’s first presidential actions was to set up a powerful White House Council on Women and Girls, on which all cabinet secretaries sit as members. A year later a proposal was mooted to apply Title IX, hitherto restricted to college sports, to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) by 2013.
Title IX is a pre-Obama-era act forcing all collegiate beneficiaries of government funding to gender-equalize athletic programs. Where women’s sports participation doesn’t match men’s, men’s are cut back, even though, in a Supreme Court ruling, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said that it is “completely unrealistic” to expect “lockstep proportion to [women’s] representation in the local population.”
Realism is inadmissible. In April 2010 the Department of Education ruled that colleges could not use surveys showing women self-select out of sports. Consequently, many thousands of collegiate male sports programs have been cut.
Bad for men, but so pleasing to Obama, he’s extending Title IX to a “much broader range of fields, including engineering and technology. I’ve said that women will shape the destiny of this country, and I mean it.”
Even where they are not interested in or as qualified to shape it? For while women are under-represented in STEM, there is no evidence that any STEM program in America discriminates against qualified women. Nor is there evidence that women need STEM affirmative action to succeed in life.
But the administration apparently presumes women shun STEM because they experience discrimination. Accordingly, they have brought NASA into the act to crack the whip. Even though they have not received any Title IX complaints, NASA has put out a manual recommending that a Title IX coordinator be hired to sit on all universities’ decision-making bodies (ka-ching!), to meet weekly with the president and other university honchos. The manual also recommends a fulltime gender equity specialist to receive complaints for this coordinator (ka-ching!), and other staff (ka-ching!) to observe “environments for morale and climate issues with both employees and students.”
Implied is that women experience a hostile climate in STEM programs. But such an assumption is easily dismissed by statistics from women-only universities. At Bryn Mawr, 4% of the 2010 graduating class majored in chemistry, 2% in computer science, 2% in physics. At Smith, 0.5% chose physics, and 1.4% computer science. At Barnard (2009), 0.33% chose physics and astronomy, 2% chemistry.
Hmm. Seems to be a pattern here. Seems like women, even when there are no men to scare them off, are not particularly attracted to certain sciences. But they are to others. In biology and biomedical sciences, women represent 59% of BAs, 58% of MAs and 51% of Phds (70% of psychology Phds). They represent about half of medical students and 60% of biology majors. As gender analyst Susan Pinker notes: “A mountain of published research stretching back a hundred years shows that women are far more likely than men to be deeply interested in organic subjects – people, plants and animals – than [in] things and inanimate systems, such as electrical engineering, or computer systems.”
If gender disparity in all academic fields were a concern to Obama, there might be some logical rationale to his initiatives. Nope, it is just plain old ideology-fuelled gender bias. For even though Nursing is a health science and overwhelmingly populated by women, there will be no action on that file. And certainly not in the humanities, where women rule 60-40%.
Think it will end there? Under Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 30 Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion (ka-ching!) will do for any financial institution that deals with the government what it has done for college sports and what it intends to do for STEM. Be afraid, scientifically and business-oriented American men, be very afraid.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of The Prince Arthur Herald.
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